Oops!

My writing practice has been sporadic and lacking commitment my whole life. One possible culprit, which I look at as an  “Oops!” is when I destroyed a few years worth of my journals early in my twenties.

Why?

I was embarrassed someone would read them. I’m not sure anyone would have been patient enough to read through the drivel, but I was scared they would.

Now, I look back and think I would like to read them again, especially after so many more life experiences.

Back when they were written, I was a new Christian and dating and breaking up with my future husband. I would have never believed a few years later he was going to turn out to be my husband of 38 years and counting.

Now, I would like to see what I wrote about him.

That probably started my semi-unexamined life’s journey. Of course, my life has been well worth living. It’s been a delightful journey. I believe I have grown and developed through many of my mistakes, but I do wish I had kept more journal entries.

I have continued to toss out occasional journals over the years since, but a few writing successes along the way include:

  • I journaled during my pregnancies and the first year of both my daughter’s lives. As the children grew, though, I wrote less in their journals. When I was a mother of young children, and then later when I became a full-time teacher and mother to school-age children, I did not take much time to write. The stresses of life and exhaustion kept me from the page.
  • For the past eleven years, I have used, very sporadically the website 750Words.com. I have written nearly a quarter of a million words–237,845, to be exact. That is not that many over eleven years, but there is some truth there.  I just went to the page after being away for a year and half, and I downloaded the entries I made. Much drivel, to be sure. However, I stumbled upon one gut-punch entry about a nightmare I had, but how it turned out to shed light on how I had hurt one of my students. Now, I had not remembered the dream or the pain I had caused that child, but reading it took me back and makes me want to be better. That’s some examination I need more of.
  • The third success is that since Covid came, I kept a book of journal entries and daily jots in my weekly planner. I felt like it would be good to capture this pandemic as it was happening day-by-day. I also created a Covid-19 time capsule with my students last spring. I interviewed my children and had my husband write a letter to me.
  • Finally, I have been a fairly consistent blogger, which has helped me to write, record, examine, and develop my writing over the past twelve years. In addition, it has helped me to develop friendships with people all over the world who are also writing about learning, life, and education. Blogging led me to meet Gallit Zvi, and we wrote The Genius Hour Guidebook together, so that was fun. Lately I’ve been writing poetry with the Ethical ELA and Poetry Friday communities, the Slice of Life on Tuesdays, and now here is the Sharing Our Stories Magic group I just discovered too.

I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us. #sosmagic

This post is inspired by Connor Toomey’s prompt on The Isolation Journals: “What interrupts your writing practice? What keeps you from the page?”

8 thoughts on “Oops!

  1. Once again I find a way to connect to you. I’ve been married 38 years, almost 39 in August. I wrote sporadically while my kids were growing up. I rarely go back but when I do, I find something I didn’t remember. I now want to write more about my grandchildren, but once again, while you are deep into it, it’s hard to find time to write about it. Thanks for the reminder to just. do. it.

    1. Thanks, Margaret! We have some nice connections. Glad you got a nudge from this post. I have enjoyed reading some of your writings about your grandchildren. Your blog posts and poems are treasures that will be great memories for them and you.

  2. I too have wondered if I should keep my journals, dating back to summer 1997 and stored in a storage unit in town. Yes, for now I’m letting them stay there. Also, I filled 9 journals during the pandemic. I’m thinking that my grandchildren’s grandchildren might find them interesting in 75-100 years.

    1. Oh, that made me laugh aloud thinking of your grandchildren’s grandchildren in all those years. You are right though! Wow, I have never been such a prolific writer. That would be hard to have room to keep all those journals. When you write a memoir someday, you’ll have all the material for the first draft!

  3. Denise, I can totally relate to being worried others will read something I have written in my notebooks. I worry about it now! You have a plethora of writing experiences. I am very impressed.

  4. I felt the same way about my journals! I once thought I would just have them all burned, but now I think no one would wade through all those pages anyway. I do enjoy going back through some of them from time to time.

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