Teachers Write starts in less than a week, and Cynthia Lord has some brilliant words of advice for us all. Cindy is one of our Teachers Write guest authors; she’s the Newbery Honor writer of RULES, TOUCH BLUE, the HOT ROD HAMSTER series, and her latest, HALF A CHANCE.
Cindy shared something on Facebook this week that was so wise & wonderful, I asked her for permission to share it here as well:
Next Monday, Teachers Write begins. It’s a free online daily workshop with short writing prompts and lessons for teachers (or really, anyone!) to work on their own writing. Not how to write with kids. Your *own* writing.
All you have to do is sign up and you can do the program all five days a week or as life permits. But let me say something about “as life permits,” just so you’re prepared.
Life *doesn’t* permit.
The thing about writing (or other things you do for yourself to fill your own well), it’s always easy to put it last. And then it hardly ever happens. Or maybe it never happens.
So if writing is something you truly want in your life, you can’t always put it last. My first book, Rules was written between 4 and 6 in the morning every morning. I have a son with autism and our days have always been full of his schedule and his needs.
One day when he was about 5, I saw my writing books from college on my bedroom shelf and felt the pang of missing. I had given all that up for my children and to run his home program. I had no regrets about that, but I also knew that our life might never be less full of his needs, and I either had to make time for writing or I had to let it go without regret and find a different way to be creative in the world. Something that didn’t require the alone time that writing does for me.
I am not good at the end of the day. I’m a morning person. In those days, my son got up around 6 am. So I set the alarm for 4 am and thought, “I’ll do this for two weeks.” At the end of that two weeks, I will either give this up and find something else. Or I will make it work.
As of next month, I will have eight published books. At the end of 2016, I will have fourteen. I made it work.
Life doesn’t permit. First you have to make writing matter. Then you make the time for it. Then you make that time a habit. Writing is that still small voice that is easily drowned out by the hundreds of other voices of things you care about or should do.
But when you listen to that little voice and honor it and make regular time for it, it gives something back that’s precious and healing and true. . . it gives you back yourself.
I hope these gentle words from Cynthia Lord inspire you as much as they do me. And I hope that if you want to write, you’ll make time – and join us starting on Monday!