Developing writing as a priority.

Feb. 1, 2018


Developing writing as a priority.


Writing is a priority for me.
Yet this is not the only priority in my life.
In each of the roles that I play, I have priorities, responsibilities, and other things that I love.
I love being on my yoga mat.
I love cooking.
I love reading the New Yorker.


I love reading books with my children.
I love laughing and sharing presence with my husband.
I love sending and receiving mail (Given that all of our family beyond our nuclear 4 live out of state, mail remains one of the best ways to keep in touch – plus it’s so fun to personalize and work with paper, color, and stamps).


I love coming to better understand and grow more connected in various communities.
I love teaching.
I love learning from students.
I love learning from other teachers.


I really love research.

Right now I’m collecting and analyzing data related to
how mindfulness might help mitigate math anxiety.
(Project: #MathMindfulness)


I’m also writing up findings on
how students’ conceptions of quadratic function can shift
in response to tailored instructional design and support.
(Project: #SPARQ #QuadStudy)


I’m also mentoring and co-collecting data with a graduate student on
how preservice teachers use and connect representations,
and how those representational practices might trace into their planning practices.
(Project: #representations #trace)


I’m also studying the question
What is algebra? Through dissemination of analyses of high school algebra textbooks
Content and cognitive demand
(Project: #whatisalgebra #textbooks)


I’m also teaching and writing about
how to link research and practice in mathematics education
through communication, collaboration, and connections.
(Project: #researchandpractice)


I also have two projects that I don’t like to talk about because I fear rejection…
One is from my dissertation research focused on
a learning progression for representational fluency,
The manuscript was rejected from a journal.
And there it sits.
(Project: #supports #representationalfluency)


Another is from research I did with colleagues on
students’ representational fluency in solving fractions tasks.
It is in the form of a manuscript that has yet to be submitted.
And there it sits.
(Project: #representationalfluency #fractions)


And things bring me back to writing.
My love for writing.


Writing helps me understand.
It helps me process ideas.
It helps me form connections.
It also is a meditation.


In writing this I am working through several tenets of mindfulness.


I am curious.
I am non-judgmental.
I am letting go.


To develop writing as a priority
I have found these techniques and tools helpful.
Maybe you will too.


I set myself up for success.
At the start of each week, I plan which days to focus on which project.
At the start of each semester, I plan which months to reach particular deadlines.
In looking ahead to a particular conference, I use that meeting to make progress and talk to others about open questions and ideas.


I sit down and write.
This is perhaps the best way to make writing a priority.
To quote Nike,
Just do it.


I notice when my thoughts and emotions distract me.
When writing, I notice.
Am I being pulled away from my focus?
Are my thoughts distracting me?
Do I feel uncomfortable and uncertain about this work?
Lean in.  Uncertainty is fuel for an amazing life. #zenhabits


I take breaks when my body calls my attention.
When I notice I am sore, I am thirsty, or I need to stretch.
I do my best to stop and take care of that need.
<Yes, just writing that prompted me to get up and get a drink of water #drinkwater>
<and to reposition myself in a more relaxing position #ergonomics>


I focus on moving a particular project forward.
When I have so many projects going at the same time,
I crave a sense of balance.
So I’ve found that by spending 1-2 consecutive days on a project gives me some traction, and feels like I am making progress. It also gives me a chance to step away from the work and come back to it. Refreshed with new ideas.


I return to this strategy on purpose:
I sit down and write.
Just do it.


To do this successfully, I have strategies in place for making it happen.
I give myself focus through daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, goals.
This helps create a sense of progress and balance.


I set up my work space – digital and physical – to support a sense of priority.
Do you ever walk into a room and become distracted by what you see?
Do you ever open your computer and become drawn on the window that open?
Do you ever open an app and click on the red buttons and flags and notifications first?


What if you open your computer and your current writing project is the only open window? Would you write on this project?

What if you sit down at your desk and your writing goals are clearly outlined – daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. Would this inspire you?

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