#SOL15: When is it time to panic?

When you write a blog, when is it time to panic?

When you don’t have a topic . . .

When you REALLY don’t like what you have written . . .

When you are past 30 revisions according to WordPress but the post seems to be pretty pathetic . . .

When today is the day to post, and life happens . . .

When the water line bursts . . .

When the computer shows the blue screen of death . . .

When you have assignments to read and comment on that you SHOULD do before writing your next post  . . .

When the snowstorm knocks out the power and internet AGAIN . . .

When you are at a “state” meeting and time for writing is so very precious . . .

When you hit the “Publish” button instead of the “Preview” button . . . (as I did on Sunday)

When your #OLW15 is “Focus” and all sense of focus is lost!


How do you get back on track when you have lost your focus and/or believe that your writing has slid off the edge of the cliff?

Do you panic or do you “write on” until that magic returns?

How do we teach students to focus and write on?


Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to share our work.


24 responses

  1. I find your post very comforting, Fran, in knowing that all of us struggle with focus from time to time. Keep writing on! (I have also hit ‘publish’ instead of ‘preview’…they should really change the name of one of them so they both don’t start with a P. 🙂


    1. Thanks, Jennifer! Some days, weeks, or months seem to be easier than others for FOCUS. Right now I am thinking that “panic”, “preview” and “publish” are not necessarily BAD things, just another layer in our never ending story. (And I watched as I hit “save” this morning, the page rolled and publish was one millisecond away from my finger. So close!)

  2. Love your descriptions of this moment of writing confusion/frustration. Yes, yes, yes! This is a slice of writing life. The “magic” isn’t always there but the process is! Showing up and writing on.

    1. Thanks, Julieanne.

      As writers, we know these frustrations. We have to experience it ourselves before we can REALLY (and truthfully) respond to students who really don’t know what to write today (AKA – code for “Will my writing be worthy?”)

  3. Keep writing and find it again –although we are not sure you ever lost it! It is all part of the process. You never know where that magic is hiding! It could be hiding on the bottom of our shoes… do you know this poem? http://journaltherapy.com/journaltherapy/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/A-Valentine-for-Ernest-Mann.pdf
    Your post reminded me of this poem
    Clare and Tammy

    1. Thanks, Clare and Tammy!
      I did not know that poem!

      If the magic is in my shoes, it will be a bit snowy today. A bit of jazz to start “Fat Tuesday” in Iowa.

  4. You nailed it when you said, “life happens.” You seem to be caught in a web of calamity, but that too will change (better sooner than later, right?). Just so you know, I rather enjoyed the Sunday post. It gave me something to ponder. In my humble opinion, your posts are NEVER pathetic. Keep writing! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Elsie!
      You have not seen the posts that I have trashed! And Sunday’s was not quite polished! Silly quotes look bizarre when they are “line by line”. . .

      And you are so correct, keep writing is the solution. We MUST teach model that as writers for our students!

  5. No answers here, Fran. Writing takes courage, and consistent effort. Sometimes, that effort seems worthy (you are happy with what you wrote) and sometimes not (you never want to read that post again), but you keep writing. No one but Shakespeare wrote beautifully every day – and even he had his clunkers!

    1. OHHH, Tara! “Writing takes courage, and consistent effort.” So very true!

      We have to KEEP writing! There is something to be learned from the clunkers. . . Maybe that is another post. How to find, fix, and fuss with the clunkers to make them more beautiful!

      Love that thought . . . I can be satisfied with clunking along for a bit!

  6. I panic every Tuesday morning. I think if I read half of what I post before I hit “publish” I would not be doing Tuesday slicing. I think the key is to just keep writing. What comes out, good or bad, is indicative of the day you are having. You always seem to have good days in writing.

    1. Misery does love company so I appreciate hearing that you panic every Tuesday morning even though I don’t see panic in any of your posts.

      (I cheat in 2 ways: Lots of drafts begun and lots of drafting on the weekend to jump start my writing especially like this week when out of town at state meeting.)

  7. It appears that you have captured a true writer’s life because everyone is agreeing with your thoughts – me included! I have been in a slump too, and could just copy and paste most of your slice and drop it into my life. It fits perfectly. If I don’t get out of it soon, March will be very interesting!

    1. Maybe we need to collaboratively provide some tips, pictures, formats, forms that have been successful for us as writers. I’ve started a list of ideas for writing for #SOL15. I think I will need it all! Thanks, Leigh Anne!

  8. I think I would do exactly as you did here… write anyway! Sounds like you had quite a day. Glad you wrote anyway.

    1. Avoiding writing hasn’t made it better or easier for me!

      Thanks, Dana!

  9. I’ve published more than once before preview. It’s unnerving. But I like your shared worry here. You nailed the feeling we all go through on our own and in our teaching. You are right on. I have no answer for you. I just like this and agree. In writing, when I panic I just push through. Publish. Get it over with and revise later. It works sometimes.

    1. Such a truth – “It works sometimes.”

      It’s impossible to revise without words – whether they be oral or on paper so “get it over with and revise later” is also good advice!

      Thanks for commenting!

  10. Please tell me that all of these happenings did not occur in one week! No wonder you’re panicked. I’m feeling a bit panicked myself about March since I no longer have students to provide fodder for my slices. It’s been tough coming up with something once a week!
    Love your advice to “write on until the magic returns.”

    1. It’s the course of the last month for all my troubles! I’m hoping I’m done with house troubles and no time for work troubles!

      Ramona, you can always tell us stories from your students past! Loved your pictures this week!

  11. I love the post as this was my mantra for a couple of days as everything I wrote didn’t quite work and nothing seemed quite perfect enough for the juicy SOL image. I gave up and hit save. I will be at it in March but I wanted to let you know that you inspire me.

    1. Thanks for the good word about being inspiring . . . It’s so important for me to walk the talk and therefore write. I’m scared and saddened by the number of teachers that do not write. . . . so hard to teach without a deep, personal understanding! (IMO) Thanks for commenting!

  12. I love this, Fran! How many times have I searched for a topic, not been happy with what I’ve written. I think you answered your own question, though. We teach kids that we write anyway. We write about not knowing what to write about. Soon enough, we’ll know what we want to say. Hope the burst pipes didn’t cause too much damage and that the computer recovered!

    1. Thanks, Catherine!
      The computer did recover and still working on fixing the water damage. . . always the “inconvenience” created by the changes. It’s all relative but while in the “thick” of it, FOCUS is so easily lost!

      Looking forward to seeing you at Saturday reunion next month!

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