My Investment as a Writer

Recently, I was thinking about the word investment. Then I got to thinking Do I invest in myself as a writer? I think I do. These three things come to mind.

1. Financially, I pay $800 to attend a one week Summer Writing Institute at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. I attended my first Writing Institute in 2009. Then I returned in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and in 2017. With Lucy Calkins and her staff developers at the Reading and Writing Project, I immerse myself in the writing process for a week. I work on my writing craft. I am inspired by writers who come to give keynote speeches. Having the chance to learn from great literacy minds pushes me as a better writer.  Though these nine years cost me a total of $7,200 (yikes, over time, it adds up but I’m worth it!), I’m hoping to return again this coming August. I’m currently waitlisted but my fingers are crossed that I’ll eventually be accepted and I have another $800 ready to pay for the privilege! (and then it will be an even $8,000 investment!)

2. I invest my time, one afternoon a month, writing with my writing club. First it started during the summer. Three teachers who had a writing club invited me to join and we met once a week through the summer at a Starbucks. We sat and wrote for about 45 minutes. Then each read their writing aloud and the listeners gave a compliment and offered feedback. After about two hours, I’d head home. As summer ended, we decided to try to met once a month through the school year, rotating at people’s houses. It is an investment in time to carve out two hours, especially on a school day. However, for me the time is worth it to be amongst others who write. We all are very different writers but can all offer the listening ears of the stranger to the piece and provide feedback. This investment in time is priceless in my opinion!

3. I invest in my writing by buying and reading books, lots of books. I bet I spend just as much time reading as I do writing. So often, when I attend an author book signing, they will say during their speech to the audience that the one thing that makes them a good writer is that they are a good reader. I’ve heard it so often that it starts to sound like a cliche. However, I find, for myself, it is true. Now, as I read, I notice the craft moves of the author. Using a writer’s lens, I read certain descriptions and think about how I might try out what they just did in my writing. I notice writing structures that I want to try. Buying books and spending time reading is another way I invest in myself as a writer!

How do YOU invest in yourself as a writer?

15 thoughts on “My Investment as a Writer

  1. Ms Victor Reads says:

    I love the idea of investing as a writer. I really want to be a part of a writing club- something maybe for me to start at my next school. I envy you all your TC time- I have only been twice and loved it! I do read loads of blogs and books to learn more and read lots in general as well. I feel like Twitter has led me to lots of great PD too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sallydonnelly11 says:

      YES – I should go back and add twitter PD! I love that you are thinking of starting a writing club at your new school. What a great way to reach out and become a part of the community doing what you value. It might feel scary at first but I hope you do it!


  2. Cara Wegrzyn says:

    You hit on such an important point here! It reminds me of the commitment athletes make to their sports. No one expects to be a great athlete without putting in the time for practice, buying the right equipment, paying coaches, and taking care of their bodies. I think one of the other ways I invest as a writer is to give myself that time for noticing and reflecting. Thanks for making me think about this!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lynnedorfman says:

    A very good piece, Sandy! I think your investment portfolio is rich and very sound. I, too, try to read professional books, attend conferences, and participate in a writer’s group. A retired group of teachers from the PA Writing Project meets once a month. I must admit that I cannot always make it because I only retired from my day job at Upper Moreland. But when I do, I find it to be so rewarding! the Project offers Continuity Days about once a month, too, on Saturday mornings and a writers’ group before that begins. Twitter is also helpful, and sometimes facebook. Blogs such as twowritingteachers. I admire your investment in writing institutes at Teachers College since 2009 – admirable! I think educators should all spend this time to think about what we do to stay current, continue to learn and grow and change. So very important! And the answer is not Pinterest or Teachers Pay Teachers – they may be an addition to all the above….but certainly not the replacements for all that you have discussed here.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. dianeandlynne says:

    When we think about “investing” in our writing, we acknowledge a commitment. Your investments show your commitment as a writer. What a wonderful example for your students. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you to participate once more this summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. wordjourneysite says:

    You have been reflecting a lot about writing and your writing process these last few days and I find a lot of connections to what you are saying. I think it could be an interesting exercise to have your students think about their investment as readers (since that’s what you are teaching this year) – it’s a different way of thinking about the worth of reading. (And how many times have I felt guilty for delaying dinner because I just had to finish a book. I should have thought about it as an investment.)
    Someone commented about your sound “investment portfolio” – love it!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. franmccrackin says:

    I agree- I wonder if you might put your last few pieces together in a longer format and see what you’ve got. I love the idea of- we are worth it. It reminds me of when I started writing as an adult. I took paper and pen to my public library and sat at a carrel in a research room. But the paper I took was a junky notepad- a freebie from some company. I didn’t feel like my writing was worth better paper. I was even conscious at the time- I just couldn’t start in a nice journal, for example. My latest investment is an ipad I can more easily carry to write anywhere, and a subscription to Scrivener’s- a way to organize writing on the computer. I have a date with my daughter to learn to use it, since I haven’t started it in 8 months!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • sallydonnelly11 says:

      I just googled Scrivener – fascinating! I hope your lesson with your daughter is soon. I want to know more. And yes, the last few pieces were suggested by the lady who has the Reading Rocket blog. She asked 3 of us at Swanson doing the March writing challenge to respond and then she’s making it a post. Can’t wait! AND yes, we are worth it!!


  7. franmcveigh says:

    Lynne hit it on the head . . . you have a writing investment portfolio
    TCRWP institutes,
    TCRWP Saturday reunions,
    blog posts,
    Twitter chats
    and then all your writing! The doing, the writing, the responses . . . that’s the real investment. And no quick fixes as you well know!

    Liked by 2 people

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