2023 was a year devoted to writing craft and writing communities. While I faced some professional challenges, it was also a year of tremendous privilege and joy. Even with my privilege, I am worn down and worried about the future and wonder if I will be as excited about the advent of 2025 as I am about the advent of 2024. Despite all the challenges of 2023, focusing on writing craft and writing community has brought me through those trials whole – if a bit more battered and worn. I hope the lessons I learned in 2023 can help you in 2024.
I wrote 15 blog posts in 2023. While the majority of my posts (not surprisingly) focused on supporting the writer’s craft journey, there were also a number of posts about writing in community and how I prefer that community of writers should function to support the journey:
- Zest: Adding flavor in 2024
- The Ungrading Journey Continues
- The Last Mile Problem
- High Voltage Warning
- A Poetic Invitation (to the third power)
- Writing Reflection
- One Poem to Rule Them All
- Creating a Joyfully Authentic Community
- Writing Into Community
- Slant Essays: From Game Jams to Poetry
- Telling Our Stories In 6 Words
- Conversations About Problems and Solutions
- Landing Softly
- Believe the Writer
- RPGs and Social Contracts
Focusing on the writer is key
Updating the list of poems I use to inspire and teach writing as well as support reflection really raised the level of writing and discussion in my classroom this fall, but the struggle was real as you can see in One Poem to Rule Them All, A Poetic Invitation (to the third power), and High Voltage Warning. I cannot tell you how much joy this journey brought to me personally as well. Win-win-win! While my slant essay journey began in 2022, I leaned in even more in 2023 and have zero regrets. I returned to my roots with a celebration of the 6-word story. But the two posts that make me proud are Conversations About Problems and Solutions and Believe the Writer. Every class meeting my students and I have conversations about our writing and how we can write a better world.
Finding community is essential
I hope I can convey to others how much joy I get from creating a community of writers and how writing together every class meeting helps us grow as both humans and writers. I wish every class community could experience this feeling. Of course, my ungrading journey continued with the highs of Landing Softly for some and others experiencing a Last Mile Problem, but as I noted in The Ungrading Journey Continues I have a plan for that thanks to my professional learning network. I also leaned into Writing Reflection and Social Contracts in 2023 and will do it again in 2024.
Add zest whenever you can
Reviewing my 2023, I feel even more confident in my choice of Zest for 2024. Everything I did in 2023 could be uplifted and improved, but no major overhauls are needed. How do you feel about this transition from 2023 to 2024? What questions and concerns are you bringing from the old year into the new?
In 2022 I focused on community, authentic writing, and themes and those ideas remained central to my 2023 classroom with my posts focusing most often on craft and community. I wonder what shifts 2024 will bring to my praxis? I am still excited about supporting the journeys of the writers in my classroom and creating a joyful community, but I hope I can add more zest to our learning experience in 2024. Where have you been and where are you going as a human, writer, and teacher?