I missed last week’s Weekly Writing Wish due to several factors which essentially come down to sheer exhaustion and a serious case of brain-fuzz. Working with children can be exhausting, and working with children when you’re not feeling the best can be brutal on an already tired mind and body.
My job gets repetitive – I teach small children and need to be chirpy and enthusiastic regardless of how fuzzy my thoughts are and how much I wish I was on a beach in Spain sipping mojitos. I often sound like a bit of a nut as I read aloud: “B-B-B. E-E-E-. D-D-D. B-E-D. B-ED. BE-D. B-E-D. BED.” Holding a pencil has never more tiresome when you’re constantly rearranging the grip of tiny fingers only to have the fingers rearrange themselves back into a vice-like grip the second you turn away.
Holding a pen comes naturally to me. Constructing a grammatically correct sentence is second nature – though the odd spelling error slips in, and I occasionally abuse a comma. I’m human, after all. Reading is a habit, and when I come across a word I don’t know I look it up in the dictionary, or use phonics to sound out the pronunciation. These are literacy skills that, quite frankly, I don’t think much about.
In the past week, however, I’ve done a lot of thinking about my job and the opportunities it affords me. Not only has it brought me to live in another country, but I get a pretty unique privilege.
I get to watch children learn.
I can read and write. How is never really a question I’ve asked myself.
When I think about “teaching writing”, I think about teaching similes and metaphors, plot development, or reverence for the semicolon. It’s great to watch someone’s writing develop, but it’s only now that I’ve witnessed someone learn to write.
The little girl who stared blankly at me when I asked her to sound out the word “AM” just read a whole sentence.
The little boy who couldn’t hold his pencil just wrote his name on his own.
Long, long ago, I, too, was taught to hold a pencil and sound out a word – and so this past week and a bit, fatigued and uninspired, I’ve been reminded of something pretty wonderful.
I can write.
Sure, some days it flows and some days it stops. Some days my characters need a kick in the butt and some days my plot gets so twisted it could be the mind of a psychopath, but ultimately: I can write.
And so can you.
My writing wish for you this week is for you to celebrate your learning and all the things you do know. It’s easy to beat yourself up if you haven’t written the perfect chapter or if your character is just not interesting enough, but once upon a time you couldn’t hold a pencil and you couldn’t spell your own name. Celebrate the fact that you can write – you have the beauty of words at your fingertips.