Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Custom Jobs and Doing it Right #SOL

It's hard to believe that March is finally over. It feels like it has been at least 129 days long. Today will be the day that many will wrap up how this month of writing has changed them, has created new friends and new habits, and has awakened a new writing spirit in them. This challenge does this for me as well, and I am always better for having participated.

Today, I linger on some words of one of my students from an email today. We began e-Learning this week, and students have questions. But this is one that I can't seem to let go.

"I'm worried about doing it right."

I reassured her that there is no right way to this. We are navigating new waters, and we are doing it together. For that matter, is there ever just one way to do anything?

When it comes to writing and becoming teacher-writers, many get so caught up in doing it right. When I first began blogging and slicing, I had this same fear - am I doing it right? Am I writing something people will want to read? I have always been hesitant at keeping a notebook for the same reason - fear of not doing it right.

Today, as I was listening to John Warner, the author of Why they Can't Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities, on Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher's daily "talk show," John said, "Each piece of writing is a custom job." 

If it is a custom job, then it has to be right because it is what we, as writers, have made it.

These words are freeing. I will always struggle with doing it right, but participating in challenges like the March Slice of Life Challenge and the #100DaysofNotebooking and BEYOND help me to feel safe. Safe in creating my own custom job. Safe in knowing that whatever I write, it is right.

Thank Two Writing Teachers for creating this space for custom jobs!


  1. I love John Warner and I am definitely going to have to go watch/listen to him speak with Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher because those three have changed so much about how I view writing and especially writing with students! Thanks for sharing those words -- I needed to hear them as well.


  2. I feel like I'm in a time right now when there's no way to do it right, and I find myself repeating that to teachers who are looking for the "right" way. Sometimes, we have to just push forward, and have faith that it will be good enough, because it will be.

    See you on Tuesdays.

  3. This is so wise! I love reading your writing; I always learn something from you. Thank you! :-) ~JudyK

  4. Leigh Anne, custom writing is authentic writing from the heart. When I look at writing in that way, I agree with you. We need to be in safe spaces to reveal out inner thoughts.

  5. Thank you for this reflection. Custom job - I like the idea of it. FYI: I have been keeping up with the notebook challenge.
    See you on Tuesday at TWT?