The National Day on Writing happened earlier this week. This year the theme was #write2connect. For me, writing has been all about connecting with other people over the past few years. My blogs and those of others, twitter, Facebook, e-mails, texting, participating in write-ins for NaNoWriMo and other avenues I have surely forgotten involved writing and connecting. Sharing, expressing myself, learning, questioning, getting to know people and reaching out to others have all happened through writing.
I have grown as a writer through connections I made on Twitter. Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts shares her writing and more importantly her writing journey with us through her blog and Twitter. She is also a part of the fabulous experience that is Teachers Write. Spending part of the summer interacting with other educators around writing is fun and a great stretching experience. I have appreciated the prompts, hints, teaching, and sharing involved there.
Being a part of a blogging team has also been a way of connecting with others too. This spring I became part of Rich in Color and have been able to work with four others who have diversity in literature as a high priority. I feel like I learn from them as I read their posts and deadlines help keep me writing.
The writing on twitter may be brief, but the many connections I make through "mini-blogging" are priceless. My professional learning network has expanded through Twitter and has influenced my teaching for the better.
NaNoWriMo has also been an eye-opening experience. It stretches me even more than blogging because I typically don't write fiction. I don't think I had written fiction since a creative writing class in college. That was over 20 years ago. As a child I didn't sit around writing stories except for assignments - and then I wasn't happy about it. I tended to do fanfic and nothing original. Writing fiction is HARD. What I loved about NaNo though were the write-ins. Getting together with other people and sharing a tough experience is crazy fun - especially when you get to drink hot chai, eat fabulous crepes and have live jazz in the background.
Beyond that, the second year, I wrote a book that delved into some tough times in my own past. I shed about a bucket full of tears that month looking back into some of the events that shaped me. Digging into the past was difficult, but writing it down helped me come to peace with some things. I connected with the child I used to be and found some healing in the words filling my pages. I am not sure if that story will be shared with anyone, but writing it got me talking to people about things that we hadn't dealt with in the past and connecting with them in new ways.
Writing is one more way to communicate with people, but it is also a way we learn about ourselves. Writing is an expression, but also a path to understanding how we see the world around us. How are you connected through writing?