This blog post was first published September 10, 2019 and 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! My advice? Just write.
In 2019, I shared this….
As an Instructional Coach, I listen to people thinking through things at work. 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 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 I’ve said for 10+ years that the U.S. educational system is outdated and falls short of serving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 and trusts that she can be honest with me. She can.
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.
So here’s my tip…. Just. Write.
Write it down.
I know. I hear you.
Are you kidding, Robin? It’s not that simple.
Actually, yes it is.
Overcoming writing obstacles that make us feel stuck
Let me say it louder for the back row:
Just. Write. Don’t make it complicated.
People make writing complicated. Why?
I think because we get caught up in the notion that we need to write comprehensible sentences. Not even comprehensible words… but full-on, grammar-correct, essay-ready sentences.
With proper indents.
And we better fill the whole piece of paper! Front and back.
Oh my goodness! We break out in a cold sweat as we remember those English class assignments.
Write what you’re feeling. One word. One hundred words. Just Write It Down.
Write. It. Down.
Pick up a pen. Or pencil. Or lipstick. Or crayon. 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.
You’ve given your feelings, your thoughts a place to rest. Simmer. Marinate. Yell. Scream. Cry. Wonder. Explore. Discover.
I promise. You’ll be glad you did. Maybe not right away, but at some point, you will look back and see those words with a fresh set of eyes. And thoughts. And feelings.
But I don’t have a fancy notebook and/or pen.
Not needed. Optional. A writing utensil and a scrap piece of paper will do. How about a grocery receipt?
But 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 class!
You’ve got this. I’m cheering you on.
If you’re an Instagram user, join the Quick Write Club and use the hashtag #quickwriteclub so we can say hello. I’d love to see what you create!