Tired of Crazy Writing Time? Take Time to Pause.


Last weekend I went rollerskating. I love rollerskating, and I never worry about being on wheels. No matter how long it’s been since I’ve laced up skates, muscle memory kicks in and I’m flying around the rink. My kids are always impressed.

This time it was different. My wheels didn’t spin. My skates didn’t glide. The rink was pitted and sticky in places. Whenever I pushed off on my left skate, it stuck.

I stumbled. I ran into a wall to avoid a little girl. I pulled a muscle.

No matter what I did, I couldn’t make rollerskating work for me.

It reminded me of writing workshop in December.

Things shift in December. There are jingle bells and Santa cookies. There are music concerts and canned food drives. There are sing alongs and elves watching. All of these things are good things, but they can wreak havoc on a schedule.


What I should have done when I realized things weren’t working when I was rollerskating was paused. I should have exchanged my skates for a better pair. I should have considered the rink conditions and made mental notes of where it was not ideal.

I didn’t do these things.
I was too busy pressing through.

In writing workshop, when things become not ideal, it is best to pause. Take some time and remember the conditions matter to writers. Think through the purpose and the routines that are missing because of the shifts from the season.

Sometimes it seems like we don’t have time to pause.

I wish I would have paused and changed the conditions while roller skating.
Then I wouldn’t have slipped and flew and landed hard.

My daughters laughed. I did too. “You looked like a cartoon!” Martha giggled. They helped me up. The world was spinning. I couldn’t see straight. My head thumped. So did my shoulder and my hip and my knee.

We have time to pause and set the conditions necessary for writing workshop.

No matter how busy December becomes, we can pause and return to the basics.

  1. Time to write.
  2. Access to materials to write.
  3. Choice in what to write.

    Pause now and consider how to wrap strong arms around writing workshop and protect it from the busyness of the season! (Click to tweet.) I’d love to hear what you realized when you paused. Leave a comment and let us know!


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    6 Comments »

    1. You are so right! When the workshop gets crazy I have to step back and reflect…what am I doing to add to the craziness? If I my focus is making sure we have quality time to write then I remember students can write cards, letters, lists, variations of favorite holiday songs and poems and stories. It's all writing!

    2. Oh! I'm so glad I was hopping around on blogs this morning with my coffee! I received this email earlier this week, and I was telling some colleagues about this concept and your writings. And now I've found a link to share! Thank you!