Summer break has set in, I’ve had a week to rest, and now it’s time for next school year’s preparations to begin! Instead of being a part-time sixth grade teacher, I’m moving up to seventh and eighth grade writing and literature. I’m ecstatic! Writing was the best part of teaching sixth grade (second only to the relationships with my students), and now it is my sole focus.
In choosing books, I immediately suggested Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins. It has always had a special place in my heart, partly because I enjoyed it and partly because it was one of my mom’s favorites as a kid. The director found more books by O’Dell and began researching him, and in the past week, we have both become thoroughly enamoured.
As a writer, though, I learned something invaluable from him that I have to share. He advised that, when you’re writing, end your stint before you run out of ideas. If you already know what will happen next before you leave the computer/paper/journal/napkin, you will have somewhere to begin next time you write.
Of course it sounds obvious now, but I had never thought of it. I’m a binge writer. When I’m on a good streak, I tend to write until the ideas stop flowing or I’m pried away from the keyboard–whichever comes first. Depending on the situation, though, it sometimes leaves me with nowhere to begin when I return. I waste twenty minutes, somtimes an hour, rereading and pondering before words begin flowing again.
Do I have the self-control to stop myself before I run dry? I’ll muster some long enough to find out. After all, it’s worth a shot.