Decidedly Functional: Status of the Writer

Not so long ago I was immersed in Lena’s fictional world, fascinated by Cookie Joe and his long, eventful life. Mesmerized by the intricate connections between Lena and her neighbors, though she doesn’t know them yet. I populated an imaginary cork board with images of Lena’s house, Joe’s circular driveway, the layout of the neighborhood, and the symbolically empty house under renovation next door. I dreamed the rhythm of life there in the afternoons, and the soundscape.

But since then I’ve been stuck in far more prosaic, functional writing.

This week I revised one kindergarten writing unit and sketched out the shape of a 5th grade reading unit. I crafted Like-Try-Why displays as models for our New Book Crew about one way to promote books to the reading community. I’m working on another letter of recommendation. And I wrote two versions of a proposal to lead an inquiry project with some of our Reading Ambassadors starting with @thelivbits and exploring how to amplify our voices as readers and ambassadors of reading. If I added up the pages, it would be an impressive quantity of text.

But when you’re a writer, what counts as writing?

Does it only count when I’m working on the narrative project I set for myself? And then, does it only count when I’m writing actual pages for the book, or do birdwalks into the lives of minor characters (who may become more significant) count?

Can it count when I try out an element of craft in a blog post that I hope to carry over into my narrative work?

Does my own voice as a reader and writer, more broadly, count as writing? Twitter? A blog? My communications with other teachers or literacy colleagues?

I carefully lined up a focus for each day to keep me writing and blogging across the week. Status of the Writer sounded simple when I added it as a recurring event on my calendar. But as I sat down to write the first Status of the Writer post, I found I didn’t know how to quantify or even qualify it.

This time I’ll ponder. Next time, maybe I’ll set goals–that’ll give me something to look back and reflect on down the road.

Fellow writers, how do you take stock of your writerly lives? What counts? What’s worth reflecting on? What milestones or gateways do you celebrate along the way?

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