I’ve been blogging for most of my career. It started in 2006 as an experiment, a happenstance. I decided if I was an instructional writing coach, then I should be writing and sharing things about teaching writers. Here’s my very first blog post.
Then I stumbled into an unlikely partnership and founded Two Writing Teachers. It was serendipity. (I love serendipity.)
Sometime along the way, I realized I needed to carve a space that was just for me. There were topics beyond teaching writers that were demanding a space to stack words. Adoption, faith and writing were all knocking on my guts, insisting that I be brave enough to tug some words in a public blog and see what I discovered.
I needed a name that didn’t stifle.
Discover. Play. Build. was developed.
A place to discover my writing habits and process.
A place to play with words.
A place to build bits of this and that into something bigger over time.
I was still muffled, so I developed a website about teaching writers called Discover. Play. Build.
and created Ruth Ayres Writes
as a place to blog. This was just what I needed — permission to write about anything. There were no limitations — I could stack words without boundaries. I expected my blog to grow wings and fly.
Instead it dwindled. Currently there is a small community of bloggers who keep me afloat. I’ve thought a lot about them in the last six months because I’ve started to wonder if it’s time to say goodbye to Ruth Ayres Writes. I wonder if they see something I do not. Sometimes when you’re fizzling it’s hard to know if something is worthwhile.
I’m not sure it’s fair to say I’m fizzling as a writer. During the 2016-2017 school year I kept a secret blog and wrote over 100 posts in 6 months. It was more of a writing notebook, collecting bits of life that were raw and real. I was walking a gnarled portion of our journey as parents to kids from hard places. I turned to blogging as a way to make sense of the nonsensical. I was a regular blogger with regular readers. Ruth Ayres Writes held on by threads.
I also wrote two books in the time Ruth Ayres Writes has been in existence. There’s a reason many writers do not keep regular blogs. It is difficult to maintain quantity.
I started a new job this year. I’m a director of a professional development consortium of 30 schools called The Lead Learners. (It was formerly called All Write, but we are shifting the name to help clarify our message.) The current director is retiring in June 2018, so this is a transition year. One of my main goals is to establish an online presence. In January we will begin creating content for The Lead Learners’ Blog.
Maybe it is time to pull the shades on Ruth Ayres Writes.
I know the time commitment of getting a community blog up and running. I’m still writing articles for Choice Literacy and trying my hand in new territories of educational leadership for Lead Literacy. The next book is percolating, and I have the stubbornness to draft daily until it is tangible. I know the time commitment of drafting 1000 words each day.
I’m learning the time commitment of parenting teenagers. I’m both charmed and conflicted by the fact that we have a house full of teenagers or almost teens. Jay and I are training for a 5K in the spring. I know the time commitment of getting in shape. I’ve committed to telling more family stories in pictures and words. Jay’s album doesn’t have a single memory documented and the others have grown stagnant. I will not let life slip away to the curse of being too busy.
Against all logic, I just can’t make Ruth Ayres Writes go dark. It seems that instead of growing wings, it grew deep roots.
There are still all kinds of stories knocking on my bones. Territories of adoption and faith are taking root and wanting to fly onto the page. I have a renewed passion for my favorite audience — teachers — and helping us overcome the way childhood trauma, unreasonable expectations and ugly politics are making it harder for teachers to change the world.
I know I have the rest of my life to write. I turned 40 this year. There’s a good chance that I’m in the later half of life. Now is not the time to give up on big pipe dreams. Now is the time to press on. I can think of no better decade, than my 40’s to be a writer.
Instead of drawing the shades, I’ve decided to fling them wide open on Ruth Ayres Writes. I made the leap to WordPress, cleaned things up and made a plan for more blogging.
It’s a audacious act of resistance.
I do hope you’ll stick around. I want to give you the gumption to shine.
I dusted off my mantra on why I write. It still holds true today.
I printed it and put it in a 8×10 frame. I think you should do the same. You can grab a copy of it here
and we’ll be Email Pals (if we aren’t already).