This blog post was first published September 10, 2019 and later updated September 2021.
A lot has changed in our world since the original post, but one thing hasn’t -> writing to figure things out still works!
In 2019, I shared this story…
As an Instructional Coach, I listen to people thinking through things at work every day. In fact, it’s a large part of my role… to listen.
Just this week, I listened as a fellow teacher who’s in a new teaching role this year shared how much she dislikes what she’s doing.
To be clear, she likes her students. What she doesn’t like are the systemic challenges found in public education. I’ve said for 10+ years that the U.S. educational system is outdated and falls short of serving
all most students effectively.
As I listened, I could hear myself saying to her in my head, “Write it down. Work through it. I promise it will help.” And yet, I didn’t say it because I knew it would fall on deaf ears. She needed to vent. She trusted that she could be honest with me.
She could. I listened.
But still, I kept thinking… if only she’d write it down…. let the frustrations, the questions, the a-ha thoughts, even the celebrations (there was one that day – that’s why she called) all have a place to “Just Be.”
Fast-forward to 2021. And my message hasn’t changed. Just. Write.
I hear you…
Are you kidding, Robin? It’s not that simple.
Actually, yes it is.
Let me say it louder for the back row… Just. Write. Don’t make it complicated.
Often, we get stuck in the idea that we have to write fancy words in grammar-correct, essay-ready sentences. With paragraphs. Proper indents and transition words. A theme.
Allow me to clarify, please.
No. You do not need “fancy” unless you’re writing professionally, friend. We’re talking about personal writing. Be real. Show up for you.
But we have to fill the whole piece of paper! Front and back. Right?
This is NOT English class.
Write what you’re feeling. One word. One hundred words. Write with abandon, not with rules.
Just. Write. It. Down.
Pick up a pen. Or pencil. Or lipstick. Or crayon. Or marker. And write that shit down.
Apologies for the folks who prefer G-rated material, but I cannot overstate the simplicity of what I’m suggesting.
Then, put it away. For now or forever. That’s up to you. But here’s the REALLY important part…
You’ve given your feelings and your thoughts space to rest. There, they can simmer. Marinate. Yell. Scream. Cry. Wonder. Explore. Discover. Quietly. Privately.
I promise. You’ll be glad you did. Maybe not right away, but at some point, you may decide to look back and see those words with a fresh set of eyes. And thoughts. And feelings. Or… not.
So now you might be thinking…
I don’t have a fancy notebook or pen.
Not needed. Optional. A writing utensil and a scrap piece of paper will do. How about a grocery receipt?
I don’t have time to write!
Do you ever stand in a grocery line? Sit in a drive-thru? Wait in a doctor’s or dentist’s office? Stare blankly at the TV screen?
I don’t want to write things down that might hurt someone else.
What if you chose to write them down anyway? What if you considered your own feelings? I blogged about that here.
But I’m going to lose all those scraps of paper!
Drop them in a plastic baggie for safekeeping. Or a box, jar, even a book on a shelf… an altered book journal, maybe? Creative journals make great writing space.
Back in 2014, my high school students told me the same reasons they couldn’t write. We wrote anyway. And guess what? Writing became a favorite activity for many students in my literacy/critical thinking classes! In fact, some kiddos told me they came to school some days just to attend my class.
small. wins. 💙
You’ve got this. I’m cheering you on.
If you’re an Instagram user, check out the hashtag #quickwriteclub and add your writing (we don’t share WHAT we write, just THAT we write!). I’d love to see you showing up for you. 🙂 Ready to commit to your writing habit in a community? Write with us every Wednesday. Learn more about it here.
Prefer Pinterest? Watch for new pins happening there with the hashtag, #quickwriteclub