SOL 2016 Day 2: Daily Writing Practice

Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge 2016

The alarm rings at 5:40 a.m. dragging me from deep sleep. It is always a shock, an unwelcome call to get up. I hate it and yet every morning I make myself leap out of bed into the dark of predawn. 

I have my rituals: light a candle, wrap myself into a blanket before sitting in my chair, drink from the thermos of tea I made the night before. Even the brand of tea is ritual, the same kind every day. Its name is Ready, Set, Go, symbolic of what I need each morning.

Today I can hear a train roll by sending people who are also early risers off to work. A bird trills somewhere in my backyard. I have not heard many birds all winter, so this is one is welcome. Perhaps it means the spring migration is beginning.  With the blinds closed, I rely on sound to tell
my how the morning is progressing outside my window. It helps keep me centered on the task at hand: writing.

I began this writing practice on August 19, 2013. 926 days ago, 926 days of rising to meet my notebook, putting pen to paper. It is the only way I know to do this, the only way I know to keep going. For years I wrote sporadically, trying to harness writer-energy after hard days of working the teacher life. Sometimes I could make myself write, but mostly I couldn't refocus inward after a day of giving to my students. I felt so drained I had no words to give myself.

The teacher-writer tug of war. What I hear from so many teacher-writers. How do we keep the writer alive when we give so much for our teaching? Of course, there are always weekends and vacations when there is ample time to write. But I always found it difficult to get going again after times of not-writing, my mind refusing to cooperate. Always feeling like I was starting over again. 

So in August of 2013, in the airport on my way back from a summer writing retreat where I had regenerated my writer self, I resolved to make this change.  I had thought about it for years but fought the idea. I am not naturally a morning person. I hate going to bed early. But I want to write. And I want to teach. How to reconcile those conflicting desires? Something had to give.  

I made this promise to myself, fearing I wouldn't be able to go through with it. I've tried so many other regimens before but always stopped. Somehow this time I was ready. And so each morning I write.

My alarm has sounded once again, telling me I must put down my pen and get in the shower. It's time to put on my teacher self and go out into the world.  My writer self has been fed for the day. I can let her rest until tomorrow.