I had a productive phone conversation yesterday with a colleague in the district. She’s on one of our DLC teams and is a fine and thoughtful preschool teacher, the kind of teacher I want for my children, and she wanted to talk through some of her ideas for the teacher research project that she’s working on. It’s “due” in the Spring, and she’s having trouble coming up with a good idea for her research.
Actually, that’s not true.
Her “problem” is that she has several really good and interesting areas where she might turn her attention and skills as a teacher researcher, but all of them are appealing to her. She talked through three ideas that sounded fairly fleshed out and interesting, and two or three more that might workout, but are less developed. I wanted her to tackle all of them. And I think she did, too. But she was stuck because, really, she could ultimately only spend the time and energy on one of them.
I think she mostly needed to say that out loud, and to have me reinforce it. I look forward to the one she picks.
It came up in the conversation that she’d noticed that I was stuck lately in my own writing and exploration, as you might have noticed, too, Dear Reader. It’s been rather quiet here on the blog, and all the other spaces where I’m writing in public lately. It’s been rather quiet in the spaces where I write for just me, too.
This fall’s been a busy one, and I’ve had a pretty full plate. But that’s not really why I’ve been quiet. See, I’ve been stuck, too.
Maybe I’ve been distracted by all stuff I’ve been doing to see what it is that was worth doing, or maybe it’s that I’m just tired. Or maybe it’s just that time of year for me, a time of quiet.
Or maybe, on my worst days perhaps certainly, I’m losing my way. Maybe I’m losing hope. But I try to work through that. Being without hope, in the long term, isn’t a productive place to be.
I gave that teacher a little suggestion as we ended our conversation yesterday, and I’m thinking I might take my own advice. She was having trouble getting started because she didn’t know what project to choose. I’m stuck because I don’t know where I want to go next, either. What I suggested to her was that perhaps she might start writing her way through her topics and questions, and that, along the way, she might discover what it was that was worth her doing and seeing through. I know that’s helped me in the past, and, in fact, is pretty much why I write in spaces like this.
She responded that she might not know who’d want to read about that, or if what she’d be writing about would be obvious to everyone else1.
That pushed me to one more suggestion. I’m certainly interested in what she’s up to, and I’d like to hear from her when she thinks she’s something to say. So, I told her, write to me. Just do it in public. She’s going to try.
And that helped. Both her and me. I think.
I forgot for a while. One of the ways that I’ve always gotten myself unstuck is to try to write with one person in mind. Writing for one person is better than writing for a universe of people. Writing for one person might make sense.2
So I’m writing today for just one or two people that might be interested in this update. And I’m going to try to come to the blog for a while with one or two people in mind and see where that gets me.
Because, for so many reasons, I can’t stay stuck for long. Just can’t. So maybe this will help.
It’s certainly worth a try.
- In her case, as in most cases, that’s certainly not true. She has things to say that no one else can. I bet you do, too. [↩]
- When I wrote music, something I wish I were doing more of, and have been thinking about starting again lately, I found that the best songs I had within me were written in the second person. Maybe there’s something to that here, or at least right now. Or maybe this is a self-indulgent post. For the moment, to get unstuck, I’m quite content whichever it happens to be. [↩]