Monday’s Portrait: Portrait of Time Well Spent
This afternoon I headed up to Sandy for my fourth consecutive summer as an attendee of the Writing and Illustrating for Young Reader’s Conference. It is an excellent conference, with so many interesting, inspiring, and engaging writers who share their knowledge and experience with ‘pre-published’ writers like myself. (‘Pre-published’ is a term I picked up this afternoon – as opposed to ‘unpublished’. Doesn’t it sound nicer?) However, in spite of all the writing love that goes around, a smallish-largish part of me was dreading attending the conference yet again as one of the ‘pre-published’. What is my problem that I am STILL working on my revisions? Why is it taking me so long?
Of course I know the answer to that. I have four kids, and when it comes down to it my time will always go to them first. At the beginning of this last school year, my youngest headed off to preschool two mornings a week. I was so excited to finally have some time alone to write. But I ended up volunteering at the elementary school both those mornings. When school ended, and my book was still unfinished, I wondered if I’d made a mistake. Maybe I should have kept those mornings to myself.
What saved me from the burden of regret was a packet of bright blue cards that my son, Hunter, brought home from his fourth grade class on the last day of school. Thank you notes from his classmates for all the time I put into teaching them creative writing this year.
Here are some of my favorites (with original writing and punctuation):
You are my Wrighting Hero! Thank you very much!
I get to be a hero! Writing to the rescue!
Your the best in the world. You helped us a lot with our story’s. Thank you so much.
I’m a huge fan of hyperbole when it applies to me.
You are so greate. I love riteing and this really helped me. Thank you!
I’m not sure if I should be concerned about the various spellings for the word ‘writing’, but I was thrilled to know that this little girl loves to write, and that my time spent with the class helped her with the process.
You have been great and I think you made my book turn out good!
I loved this note because the boy who wrote it really did an excellent job with revisions. I was really proud of the effort he put into his book, and was glad that he saw the difference it made.
You are very pretty and thank you for the advice.
Pure gratification. I’m pretty and smart? Yay!
Thank you for taking the time to teach us to write!
I appreciated that this boy acknowledged the time that went into working with the class. There were so many nights when I stayed up late reading their stories. But when I read this last note, it was clear to me that all the time I gave them was worth it.
Thank you for giving me great ideas for my story. I hope that you liked coming to our class to incourage us to become a life long writer.
These notes were just what I needed to soothe my frustration at not finishing my novel. They reassured me that my time away from my own writing was time well spent. Maybe I’ll carry them with me to the conference tomorrow, to remind me that it is okay to still be sitting among the ‘pre-published’.