Teachers Write 8.3.18 One Last Friday Mini-Lesson…and Looking Ahead

Good morning! It’s hard to believe that our four weeks together have flown by already, and today is our last day of Teachers Write for 2018, and I want to use this last day of camp to talk about setting goals. That’s probably something you talk about with your students, right?  But sometimes it’s easier to set those goals when we have specific assignments and set deadlines – an essay due on Friday, or final grades posted by the 20th. Goals for your personal writing can be more of a challenge, but they’re just as important.

I use something called a bullet journal to set my writing goals on a day-t0-day schedule, and I set up lists of monthly goals, too. Here’s what that looks like.

You’re probably noticing that this isn’t just about writing. My exercise and hydration goals are here, too, and so are reminders to schedule my kid’s physical and make plans for an upcoming trip to NYC. That’s what works best for me – including all of my responsibilities on one big list – because really, that’s how my world operates. You can read more about bullet journaling here – and there’s a whole post about how I use it in my writing life here. 

I also use other kinds of charts to keep track of ongoing projects. This Gantt chart is a project-scheduling tool that TW guest author Tracey Baptiste taught me about, where you set up a chart with major steps to completing a project and shade in the boxes as things progress. (Please note that this chart only includes the first two major revisions – there are typically 8-15 more after that!)

However you keep track of your day to day and ongoing writing goals, it’s also important to make time to reflect, and that’s what I’m going to ask you to do today.

Your Assignment: How has your summer of writing gone? Take some time to reflect on what you’ll take away from these past four weeks of Teachers Write and what you hope the coming weeks and months will look like for you as a writer. What’s your plan for keeping regular writing a part of your life? Feel free to share thoughts in the comments. And don’t forget to check in with Jen at Teach Mentor Texts on Sunday for one more conversation about the summer’s progress.

Finally, I want to say thank you so, so much for making this a part of your summer. You’re teaching and sharing stories with kids and helping them to find their own voices in a time when this work is so desperately needed. So thank you for choosing this work and for making it a priority even during your summer break. Thanks for opening up and sharing, for encouraging one another to be brave, and for stepping outside of your comfort zones as writers. It’s been such a gift working with you this summer, learning from you, and reading your powerful words. And it’s an even greater gift to call you friends.

Keep writing. Keep sharing stories. And please know how grateful your author friends are for all of the work that you do.




19 Replies on “Teachers Write 8.3.18 One Last Friday Mini-Lesson…and Looking Ahead

  1. Dear Kate,

    Thank you so much for all the work you did organizing Teachers Write. I came away with so many valuable thoughts and materials this year to use with my students and to challenge myself with. It has been a good summer in getting the plot down for my next novel. It’s been a frustrating summer too because I’m busy querying agents and you know what a roller coaster ride that is.

    For me I found staying on target means getting up earlier in the morning and writing before I go to work. It’s a quiet time and I can get a lot done with little if any interruptions. I like both of the charts you mentioned and may look into doing them to help keep me motivated and organized.

    Thanks again for all you did and have a great rest of the year writing.

    1. I love that Teachers Write helped keep you on track this summer – and thank you for always being game to share, too! I know that your courage inspired others. Good luck with your querying!

  2. Thank you for all of your time, organization and leadership! This has become such a special part of my summer each year.

  3. Thank you Kate, Gae and Jo!

    I enjoyed Teachers Write immensely this year….probably more than ever even though I participated less frequently in responses than in years past but I did get so much from the advice and the Q&A and the community. Your generosity and ability to bring all of us together in this way is inspirational and I so appreciate it…and continue to let teachers know about TW everywhere I go. Thank you! And, KEEP GOING!

  4. Thank you, Kate! I didn’t keep up with the daily posts and exercises, so I’m pretty frustrated with myself. 🙁 I have all of the emails and my goal is to get going with them! What I DID accomplish this summer, was a renovation of my daughters’ playroom (they’re 11 and 15 now ) into an office/inspirational work space just for me. And I hope it makes all the difference in my writing life! That leaves me with one more goal for August…. get my arse in that cute new chair!

    1. Oh, that’s great to hear – having a place to write is important. And no worries about not keeping up. Our TW posts from this summer aren’t going anywhere, so you can check back and work on the writing prompts any time! (See how I didn’t let you off the hook here?) 🙂

  5. Kate,

    Teachers Write has inspired me to start writing more! I look forward to sharing many of the ideas I got from this writing community with my fourth grade class. I did manage to keep up with most of the writing this summer and put everything into a google doc for easy reference. It was definitely worth the time commitment. Writing is such a gift so I thank you for organizing this and for all the authors who took the time to join this summer, read our writing/comments and answer our questions. I had the chance to read some of their books and look forward to reading many more and sharing them with my students. I will be back next year!

    Jane 🙂

  6. Wow, Kate, are you always in the middle of that many projects/books?!

    I am surprised at how much I learned from Teachers Write. It has me thinking about my writing (and my reading) in so many different ways. Since I’m a public librarian, I’m finally now on my “break” (summer reading is over, and things will slow down considerably), so I plan to go back to the prompts this month and on my vacation when I have some down time to write.

    I now really do see that writing practice is important. I am nowhere near as organized as you, but I liked Jo’s post about writing just 5-10 minutes a day. For me it may not be on the novel I want to write now but just other small things to improve my writing bit by bit.

    I really thank you all so much for your contributions and help this summer to help those of us who want to be authors someday.

    1. This is actually pretty typical – but it’s important to note that I’m not working on all of those projects every day. A couple are in the very early stages, and some have gone away to editors, so they’re not even on my desk at the moment. But typically, on any given day, I have three or so projects that could use my attention and I have to choose which one to focus on that day.

      I’m so glad you found the lessons useful & happy to hear that you’re planning to go back for the ones you missed. Happy writing!

  7. Kate,
    I appreciate the opportunity to connect with you and many other teachers and writers. This summer I was really hoping to develop my own writing habit to then use to encourage my students to read and write. I have learned a lot about myself through the activities and feedback I received in the seminar. Writing is now something for me that I look forward to rather than a chore or a task on my to-do list. I am so grateful for this space. I look forward to reading Breakout to close out my summer. Thank you so much!

  8. THANK YOU, Kate, Gae, Jen, and Jo!

    I can’t believe another summer of reading and writing with Teachers Write has come to an end. As you know, it is one of the highlights of my summer. The strange thing is that my final day of summer track camps was today, which is also a highlight of my summer. We still have five weeks until school starts, but on Monday, I have a feeling that I am going to be ready to go back to school. I’ll use the time wisely – reading, writing, and getting ready for the upcoming school year.:)

    Thank you again for inspiring me, giving me a kick in the pants to start writing (this happened about five or six times this summer), and for all of the words that you write. Enjoy the rest of the summer weather!

    Happy writing!

  9. Kate and All,
    Such a treat to share these days with you talking about writing. I was so glad to see how Kate intertwined more of her life into her planner. I was feeling potentially over hopeful about how I shared in an earlier assignment daily writing prompts that also included physical exercise for me. It was intentionally 2-pronged for a couple of reasons, but now that I’ve reached a certain degree age, I’ve also noticed how much the mind/body/spirit are connected, so undertaking enough physical exertion provides renewed energy thatvI can channel for writing.

  10. Thank you so much for this community, the encouragement and time. I look forward to this every summer and am impressed that we all spend most of our year as teachers then are also awesome writers. It is amazing to have someone else read what you have written and affirm that part of you that dreams of another life. I am so sad this is over. I will again pledge to myself to finish something and send it somewhere. I am getting old!

  11. Thank you so much for another wonderful Teachers Write experience! I always look forward to this opportunity and appreciate all of the work that you and the guest authors put into TW. TW is truly a gift for teacher-writers!

    This summer has probably been my best as a teacher-writer. While my time at ILA did get me a little off track, I have gotten back into my routine. However, I start back to school on Monday, so I’ve spent time thinking about how I can make sure to keep up the writing rhythm that I established this summer. A lot of my best writing happened late at night and I know that’s not a realistic schedule to maintain now. I’m going to have to be very intentional about my writing time and I think that I’m going to use my blog for accountability. I think that I need to draft a weekly post that describes my work as a teacher-writer, which will not only allow me to share my experiences, but also to keep track of my writing life.

    I have nearly 7,000 words in an MG WIP, which blows my mind. Thanks to the great writing prompts, I’ve learned a lot about the characters in my story. I’ve learned a great deal about a secondary character and that information is going to play an important role in the plot.

    My academic writing has picked up significantly, too. I had a couple of ideas for pieces and finally sat down and started working on them. I think that I’ve often fallen victim to “imposter syndrome” and I’ve had to block that out, sit down, and get words onto the page. I’m pleased with what I’ve accomplished with that writing this summer, but I know the battle with “imposter syndrome” will be ongoing.

  12. Thank you for another great summer of TW! Although I didn’t share as much this year, I enjoyed and benefited from reading others’ work and especially that of the generous authors who joined you each day. What a beautiful community spirit. I’ll be back next summer– Happy writing!