And if you want to know why I think you should be doodling, spend six minutes listening to this video! In fact, you might want to doodle while you’re listening…
Somewhere along the way I learned that no writing is pointless. I would give a good deal of credit for that to College Professor William Bailey who required every student to keep a daily journal. One sentence per day was the minimum and we were told not to worry about grammar and spelling. He wasn’t going to collect and grade it anyway. I suppose this would seem pointless, but his objective was to get us used to writing and make writing a somewhat natural activity.
Perhaps the creators of NaNoWriMo were in Professor Bailey’s class. They are sponsoring “thirty days of literary abandon.” In short, participants are challenged to write a 50,000 word novel in one month (November). That’s an average of 1667 words per day. Last year 200,000 tried–30,000 succeeded.
And, no, I don’t think any of the 30,000 made the New York Times Best Seller’s List. That’s actually not the point. As the creators of this effort say,
Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.
How can you not love that? You write a lot of “crap,” but when it’s over you get to call yourself a novelist.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that last year 1800 K-12 schools participated and not surprised to discover that some participants actually have had their work published.
No, I probably will not be participating this year. But I do love the concept–and note that this doesn’t just apply to writing. Sometimes you just get started “valuing perseverance and enthusiasm over the craft.”
The word for the day is “intensity” and the question is “What could you accomplish in thirty days if you had it?”
Here’s a link to an interesting article in the Bangor Daily News:
Much as I enjoyed the article, I also ended up frustrated because–try as I might–I could not post a comment! Reading the comments already there made me want to add:
One caution is that we not move from blaming the teachers to blaming the parents. To do so would be to miss the point of the article. You can bet that the schools cited here did far more than is reported in this article. Ultimately, the ENTIRE system was affected. The article perhaps didn’t go quite far enough in describing this. One sentence that needs changing:
“In education as in industry, progress toward quality will require collaboration among administrators, teachers and their unions, the parents and the students themselves.”
Of course Demings wasn’t the only “guru” promoting this thinking, but there was a simple elegance to his approach. The approach forced us to stop finding people to blame and look at the systems those people are working under. Very often those systems punish the very behavior and outcomes being sought and reward the undesired ones.
I was a practicing systems organization development consultant during those years and can attest to the success of the approach. Organizations with red bottom lines were in crisis and desperate for a fix. Those who saw beyond blaming often achieved incredible turnarounds. The need to make a profit can be incredibly motivating.
We might start wondering when we face a similar crisis and the need to teach and develop our kids becomes similarly motivating.
We’re getting close… and it looks like we’re going to have a good sized class! But there’s still room and time to sign up for the media relations class at SeDoMoCha next Tuesday:
Media Relations for Nonprofessionals
You may be making news, but is it news if nobody knows about it? This class will explore the basics of “getting the word out” through approaches that work for small businesses and non-profit organizations. Participants will learn the hows and whys of getting a story in print or on television, and take home samples of formats as well as a number of tips for maximizing their business or organization’s exposure in the press.
Class will be held on Tuesday, September 20th from 6:30 to8:30 pm at SeDoMoCha in Dover Foxcroft. As a service to businesses and non-profits in the area, class fee is only $10!
For more information or to register, call PVAEC at 564-6525… if space permits, you may be able to sign up the night of class.
Some years ago before the 9-1-1 emergency system was commonplace, I was involved in a situation that created some momentary anxiety and actual panic. One of the participants was scurrying around carrying a portable phone and screaming, “What’s the number for nine-one-one? What’s the number for nine-one-one?!” It took a few minutes to convince him that you dialed 9-1-1 to reach nine-one-one.
Because the incident turned out to be less than critical his question became a source of humor and he took a fair amount of ribbing for quite some time. “Did you ever get the number for nine-one-one?”
Some years later those same numbers became important for a different reason and, of course, many people called nine-one-one on nine eleven. And now, ten years later the country pauses to honor and reflect on that event.
There are lots of numbers involved–including the number of lives lost, the number of emergency personnel who responded, etc. As I think about those numbers one number stands out. Continue reading What’s the number for 9/11?