#SOL15: Day 7, Four Scary Words

I am a writer.  I am uncomfortable with those words. I have a history with those words.

When I was seven, I would sit next to the sliding glass door in our living room, writing in a tiny spiral notebook.  No one knew what I was doing. It was my secret.

My mom had published poetry when she was a young girl, and  I wanted to impress her. I wanted to be a writer, like her.

One evening, I tried to think “deep” thoughts and write something meaningful.

It was something about roses are red. I gave it to my mom.

She showered me with praise. She was pleased. But I knew, she was being my mom and loving anything I did.

I remember thinking,  you’re not a writer. That’s something that only talented people do.  And I stopped writing.

I wrote for school assignments, but nothing else. I wasn’t a writer.

I had my share of teachers who wrote corrections on my papers. Things I didn’t understand. Which further convinced me of the fact that I wasn’t a writer.

I read a lot and connected deeply to words. Words mattered to me. But only to read. That was what I could do. Writing was only for the gifted. I had no hesitation saying, I am a reader. But, I wasn’t a writer.

It has taken many years and a career in teaching to get me to consider writing.  My desire to teach pushed me to try writing again. To do what I ask my students to do, just write.

I don’t believe my mother or teachers stopped me from writing. I believe my self-deprecating nature and the lack of active support stopped me.

Teachers need be facilitators of and cheerleaders for writing. We need to let students know that there is a place for them, and they are expected to be there. We need to convince our students that writing is as necessary as breathing. That we write because we are here. We need to write to make our thoughts, and ourselves known.

Writing needs to become an equal opportunity activity, just like reading. That like reading, it’s should be an expectation that all students will say, without hesitation: I am a writer.

“Just write,” did not just happen. Blogging and the community of Two Writing Teachers has helped me be brave by welcoming my words. This community has made me feel worthy as a writer. It helped me change my opinion of myself and be able to write those four words.  I am a writer.





21 thoughts on “#SOL15: Day 7, Four Scary Words

  1. I feel your fear. Poetry is the genre that eludes me, as though a poem, such a little thing, can hurt. Essays, I can do. Letters, no problem. But I know that even the best, the most accomplished writers endure pain from writing, even thought they “have to write.”

  2. You are a writer. You are a storyteller. You weave thoughts and actions into a cloth of possibilities for yourself and your students. You push. You dream. You are a reader and a writer, BELIEVE!

  3. I love this piece. I am sure that there are a great many of us who feel much the same. Thank you for saying it and putting it out there.

  4. I’m honored to be part of this community where you have found your voice. Let me tell you…you have a worthy voice!! You have a story worth telling!! I always, always, always learn something new and see things in a new way after I read your writing. You are a writer. Yes. You are one of my FAVORITE writers!! And someone I feel lucky to call a friend. Thank you for sharing this powerful and moving post, Julieanne!!!

  5. Thank you for sharing your words and experience! I would say that I’ve had a similar story, but I still struggle with the thought that I am a writer (particularly this month). You’re so right that our students need support and encouragement, just as we do.

  6. Thanks for your vulnerability here, Julianne. Your sharing your fear, opens each of us to understand our own. Your words resonated with me. And this community gives us a place to express and overcome them.

  7. I know that journey the words, “I am a writer” has taken, it’s been my journey too. Writing is so hard and personal, reading is so easy, you don’t have to share your thinking when you read. I love the way you write, you have a way to spin a story and take it to a deeper level. Let me echo all the previous commenters: You ARE a writer. 🙂

  8. “Just write” never works for me. I write in my head and then rush off to grab my iPad to quickly get those words down before they disappear. It’s really sad when I’m in the shower or wake up at 2:00 in the morning! Writing is difficult for me and I am not a quick writer either. And like you Slice of Life has “helped me be brave by welcoming my words.” Happy Slicing!

  9. So true, and having a writing community to support all efforts (big, small, inconsistent even). And, for our kids, this means every year – not just with one or two teachers they may be lucky to have.

  10. You most definitely are a writer and so many times I am moved by your words! A poignant post and one I can relate to. In my 60’s now (early 60’s mind you) I am returning to writing and am daring to call myself a writer.

  11. I’m sorry that you’ve kept your wonderful words to yourself for so long, but am happy that you finally started sharing. It’s been a journey for you, an inspiration to me to hear your thoughts, about teaching, about life. Thanks for sharing this, Julieanne!

  12. I really believe that we are capable of being so many things when we are young– writers, artists, inventors, creators…. Somewhere along the way we lose that capability–and it’s usually because– as you alluded to– we aren’t encouraged. I’m a better writer now than I used to be, but I still don’t feel confident about certain types of writing tasks. Specifically, I don’t feel comfortable writing fiction. I just can’t figure out where those stories come from! I just completed “All the Answers” by Kate Messner. I was thinking about the book after I finished and I thought, “She used to be an everyday classroom teacher, just like me. But now she’s writing books with these elaborate storylines. I guess we take it in baby steps….

    I’m proud of you and your writing journey. With time, we will continue to grow and get better!

  13. Yes, you are a writer. I so wish I had saved some of my writing as a child. I have saved many different things but somewhere those got lost in all the moving I have done. I am glad you continue to share your words with us and let us peek into your corner of the world.

  14. You are certainly a writer. It’s so easy to for many of us to feel we aren’t good enough, or don’t fit a definition. Who gets to decide? Ultimately, we do. You want to be a writer, be one. Keep doing what you’re doing – you’re doing it well.

  15. You are a fearless writer, Julieanne! I love reading your honest, insightful posts about your life and work with children. When you’re not pushing my thinking, you’re affirming it. I’m so grateful to have met you through this supportive community!

  16. Thank you for sharing this! Even though I have had a blog that I post regularly on, I still feel shy about sharing my writing. With the SOL challenge, I am hoping to develop more confidence with my writing too. We are writers. We can share our experiences with others by writing too. Keep writing!

  17. This is a great piece Julieanne. If teachers don’t write, how can they expect children to write. Just as we have silent sustained and uninterrupted reading sessions where we read along with students, so too should we have silent sustained and uninterrupted writing sessions; and afterwards we should be brave enough to share our writing too!

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