Monday, March 31, 2014

Day 31 SoL Story Challenge: A Look Back

It's been a very busy month around here. A new baby. A four year old. Going back to work.

Blogging every single night for a month was a pretty big goal for me. Honestly, I didn't think I could do it. I figured I'd give it a try, and probably after a week or so of posting every night, I'd use the "just had a baby" excuse (it's legit!) to justify writing less often.

But then week one flew by. Little L was thrilled to be helping me out with a project, and she was handing me stories left and right.

Then came week two. By then we were on a roll, and though it was tricky to find time to write, I didn't want to break the streak.

Now, week three was probably the most challenging. The initial excitement had worn off. Little L was starting to think of storytelling as a chore rather than a fun project, and we both were running out of steam.

Then without even realizing it, week four was here and we were nearly finished. Then, we were.

Here are some highlights from my month of storytelling with the best coauthor I've ever had, my daughter:

1. Near the beginning of the challenge, I learned an important lesson about storytelling with little kids, when I asked Little L to tell me about her school day, in this post titled "How Was School Today?" I learned to let L tell the stories she wanted to tell, instead of trying to push her to tell the stories I wanted to hear.

2. Not long after that, L surprised me when she created "The Hello Box Poem." I knew that she loved to sing and loved poems, but I had never actually asked her to make a poem. Turns out, she could make a poem up just as easily as making a story up. Reflecting on it now, I realize that I supposed that poems would be harder than stories somehow. But now I see that for a little kid, both are playful and creative. There's no reason to think a poem would be any harder to make than a story, (especially if you've been immersed in both since birth like Little L). Lesson learned: just because it's hard for some grown-ups, doesn't mean it's hard for little kids.

3. In the middle of the month, just when we were starting to run out of ideas, the Lego Movie sparked L to make her own Lego movie, captured in this post, "Little L Makes Her Own Lego Movie." Using drama to tell stories was so much fun, that a few days later, we attempted a puppet show. "A Failed Attempt at A Puppet Show." Telling stories with puppets and Legos as props brought me back to my own childhood and reminded me how much I used to love to make up scripts and plays. I realized that Little L had never actually played with her puppets until that post, and that we could be having so much fun making our own movies and shows more often.

4. And the most popular post this month, was "Why We Don't Write On Kids Work," in which I explain, well, why I don't write on children's work. What I learned from writing this post was that I could be sharing more about my convictions as a teacher. 

I also want to say thank you to my coauthors on Two Writing Teachers. Stacey, Tara, Betsy, Dana, and Anna.  You are all amazing to work with and I feel so lucky to be a part of such a smart team of writers and teachers and moms.  The behind-the-scenes work that went into this month's challenge was incredible (and I'm not bragging, because I didn't do any of it -- I was on maternity leave). This was my first year participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge and I am blown away by what a moving experience it's been. I've grown as a writer. Writing every day has been a gift to myself, and to my daughter.


  1. It seems that this was a powerful month of writing for you. Thank you for sharing your reflection, and for reminding me that sometimes we have to be completely in it in order to truly get it.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing Little L's stories with us, Beth - so much fun to listen to, and powerful reminders of the natural gifts our children have for imaginative storytelling. She was enchanting - and you were brave to take the challenge on! Bravo!

  3. So true about poetry! Why is it that we grow up thinking it's hard? Kids are natural poets. Glad you are fostering that in your little one! :)