Slice of Life 2021 Day 25: Touring the Back of the Closet

Today marks Day 25 of the Slice of Life challenge. Join me as I work to write every day in March – and beyond!

The other day, I dusted off one of the drafts I had sitting around in my draft box. It had been there long enough, the subject finally came up, and I finally figured out how I could finish writing it.

There are still plenty of others waiting in the wings.

For today’s slice, I thought I’d pull back the curtain and share what’s still in my draft queue – and why.

Sunday Sit-Down 10 (2021) I started this draft last week but got diverted. I felt compelled to respond to the shooting in Atlanta. And I don’t regret it one bit. You’ll see this post get published this coming Sunday as Sit-Down #11.

Untitled (2021) I was uploading some screenshots of podcast logos on my WordPress app, and it offered to let me post images as a story. Thought I’d give it a whirl to see what it looked like. I didn’t like it. This one’s going in the dustbin.

On Winning. (2020) I started this blog post earlier this fall, after I kept hearing people use the words “win” and “winning” all the time: win-win situations, we just can’t win…it got me thinking about the whole “winning” metaphor anyway. If we’re winning, does that require someone else to be losing? And what happens when we bake the concept of winning into our thinking? I know there’s a lot to this blog post, but I haven’t been able to pull it together.

On Letting things Marinate (2019) I wrote this blog post one day as I was musing about my inability to get to all of the kids for writing conferences, and how to handle the guilt that goes along with it. I started thinking about the idea that sometimes it might be good for us – and for students! – to read their writing but not respond right away to it. I’m still cookin’ this one.

Untitled (2012) Yeah, you read that right. Two. Thousand. TWELVE. This was an exploration of what I was learning as a novice player of ice hockey. I haven’t published this one because I’ve long since quit playing the sport. The gap between how I WANTED to play and how well I COULD play was just too great. I don’t think this exact post will ever see the light of day, but it’s fun to visit every so often, kind of like that junior high yearbook.

Something I’m Proud of (2012) I started this post back when I was mostly a math teacher and coach. I created a system for my students that charted their progress in learning targets over time. Every assignment, every task had those learning targets printed out for the students to self-assess so that they could track and observe their practice. I think I abandoned this one because it was just too complicated to explain in a blog post. But like the hockey post, it’s kinda fun to visit and remember I was there once.

Math is “Fun” (2011) I was just mad at a particular website: mathisfun.com. Their math was decidedly NOT fun. And this post was just a rant expressing how I felt. Who knows? Maybe if the website is still up I’ll let this one rip.

Untitled (2010) This was a deep dive into the role that memorization has in student learning. It was pretty interesting stuff, but…I don’t know. It tries too hard to explain too many things. Maybe I’ll come back to it? Maybe I won’t.

So…after digging in the back of my closet for these gems and not-so-gems, what have I noticed?
-I’ve been blogging for longer than I thought.
-I’ve seen an overwhelming amount of change and growth as a teacher.
-At the same time, my core ideas remain steadfast.

If any of you happen to dig through your drafts, my nosy little self would LOVE to know what’s in there!

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38 Responses to “Slice of Life 2021 Day 25: Touring the Back of the Closet”

  1. Katie Diez Says:

    This is great! Every once in a while I look back through my drafts and either pull one out and re-work it (once this March) or get inspired from it! It just shows that writers always have something in the works!

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Yes! And these lists don’t include the ones we’ve written on random scraps of paper or sticky notes, or the ones that we roll around in our brains, or or or…

  2. hzreflections Says:

    I love that you have so many drafts going. I never played with that option, and might have to. Then I can always go back. I always sit down and crank a post out. This might allow for some thinkign time.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Thanks! I’m trying to see it as something better than being a person who doesn’t finish things. That’s Perfectionism talkin’!

  3. dianelisa2 Says:

    Writing about your drafts clearly reveals part of the process that writers contend with all the time– the stuff that we ruminate about and the dead ends. I keep a page full of ideas and false starts during the writing challenge, in hope that one will be useful for a post. Some of my topics are about the art of storytelling, vacation before the pandemic, why a particular quote is so meaningful to me, and a time that defined my life as “before” and “after” the event. I love to write, but those dead ends are frustrating!

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Oooh…the art of storytelling. NOW you’ve got me! That’s another one of my big ELA soapboxes. As fo the dead ends, YES. It is frustrating, especially when they come at us from different directions, and for different reasons. Glad to know I’m not alone!

  4. nawalqcasiano Says:

    This is so interesting! And proves how important reflection and process is, for ourselves and our writing students:) TY for sharing of yourself in this way!

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Thank you – I appreciate the encouragement and validation. So much of what we go through as writers (and humans!) feels so isolating. It’s nice to know there are going through similar things.

  5. BethMooreSchool Says:

    I love how your unpublished posts create a story of their own! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Rita K. Says:

    I loved this because it makes me feel “normal”. I have a ton of poems, stories, essays that are sitting around just waiting for my attention. I’d love to send many of them off for possible publication, but that whole querying process is formidable. Maybe if I pull them out and take a look….

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      I completely know what you mean. I know I’ve written a LOT – perhaps enough content for publishing – but I have no idea what to pull together, or how, or how to even go about it. And one of my favorite things about writing is that it’s often patient with us, waiting for the time that we’re ready to come back to it again…

  7. arjeha Says:

    Yes, we all have things stashed away in our to be finished or revisited box. That we may not get back them for a bit just shows the fluidity of our lives and how something occurring in the world demands that we address it in our writing. It is good to have a stash of ideas and that stash just keeps growing with time.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Exactly! And the things that inspired us to create at one point may not still hold the same power over us. I *do* feel better now that I’ve given those entries a little more love and light of day.

  8. Tim Gels Says:

    Lainie, this is an interesting glimpse at your process. I don’t write in WordPress, so for me a WP draft is something that will be published in the next day or two (I do my final edit in WP, bouncing back and forth between the editor and the preview window). Do you regularly write in WP? You’ve “only” got eight drafts, so I’m curious. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Thanks for the encouragement! Ah…the preview-edit toggle. I’m QUITE familiar with its (over)-use. I write in several places – in notebooks, wordpress, in my brain. There are definitely more than eight ideas floating around, that’s for sure. I could probably stand to organize them better, I’m guessing!

  9. edifiedlistener Says:

    So many drafts, so little time! Thank you for pulling the curtain back to reveal things you’ve ruminated on but did not publish or have not yet published. It’s not something we often take time to consider – what our drafts tell us about our process, our phases, values and priorities. One of my favorite and most widely read essays is a piece that had been in draft mode for several months when I rediscovered it and was ready to wrap it up. I appreciate this prompt to run back and look at what’s gathered in my back closets.

  10. Shaista Says:

    I’ve started blogging with this SOLSC21! And once this is over, I’ll also have drafts going like this, I suppose… half-done, abandoned, now-not-making-sense, still-ring-so-true, all kinds! It’s like looking at old pictures!

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      You’re exactly right about the old pictures. I love that you think of it that way! We might look at some after the passage of time – some don’t age well and should be discarded, others are ready to frame on the wall, others we look at, connect to our memories…and then put away again for another time…

  11. theapplesinmyorchard Says:

    Ugh! I’ll have to decide what to share- I have over 300 pieces in my drafts folder! I keep it for the ideas. Maybe, I should clean it out! I have written on a few of the topics but not nearly all of them! Thanks for sharing yours!

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      I like that idea, actually. Keeping them in the draft folder means that they’re all in one place. For me, I’ve got some on stickies, or papers, or rolling around my brain. I like the process and the system you’ve brought to it.

      • theapplesinmyorchard Says:

        It works for me but doesn’t prevent a pile of sticky notes or loose papers, unfortunately. Those ideas usually make it into the draft with either just a title or a few words about what the post is supposed to be about. Good luck!

  12. mschiubookawrites Says:

    I also liked peeking into your Drafts folder. You are brave, brave writer. I agree with edifiedlistener’s comment about what our drafts reveal about our processing and reflection. I am intrigued by your Marinating draft… hope it ages well.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Thanks, and thanks for the encouragement. You know, it’s strange: I see the words that I’m a “brave writer,” and I suppose that’s what it is? Although I don’t always feel so very brave. Perhaps writing HAS made me braver – so I guess the right thing to do is to say…thank you. I appreciate that you see something in my writing, and I’m grateful to you for it. =)

  13. britt Says:

    Excuse me, this is one of the coolest slices I’ve seen!!! I’m saving it for future post to be written! I loved reading your thinking behind each draft. There are quite a few story nuggets I’m incredibly interested in 🙂 Thank you for sharing this!

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Aw thanks! My guess is some of these nuggets will come to me once I figure out what’s at the heart of them, or how to pull them together. Until then, I’ll carry them in my back pocket…

  14. livinglife816287820 Says:

    Love all these background ideas into what you’ve been doing. I must say, you’re a very busy blogger, I have nowhere near the content you have. It gives great insight into something of how your mind works and it is definitely diverse!

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      A glimpse into how my mind works sounds a little scary! Glad your peek was a good one. Thanks for the encouragement!

  15. Fran Haley Says:

    I usually have around thirty post drafts languishing…some were started in earnest and I lost the “feel” of the initial idea; some of those I went back, reframed, and let ’em go. Once is a while there’s a photo that I KNOW has a worthy story; eventually something crystallizes in my mind and I’ll go back, Sometimes there’s a quote that strikes me and I’ll save it. I saved my writing timeline for several years under the title “My Writing History” until I participated in that poetry-writing activity around “Your Life’s Table of Contents” and – bam – the timeline became a poem, which was great fun to play with. I enjoyed this pulling back of the curtains here, Lainie. Will be intriguing to see what some posts morph into…even with a plan, things happen in the writing! Such an alchemy, really.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Ohhh there is ALWAYS alchemy, even despite our most disciplined of plans. You’ve hit the nail on the head right there. I also like the idea of saving quotes, photos and other ideas. I probably do some of that as well here and there, on desktop or real-life sticky notes, in my spiral notebooks, or rolling around in my brain. It might make sense to consolidate them, but then maybe it’s kind of nice that I stumble across them at odd moments…

  16. Jenny Says:

    I love that you’ve done this — how cool to explore how ideas have evolved over time, how life has changed and hasn’t. I also love that you have a drafts list integrated first place — I’m always rushing to get one finished so I end up just crossing my fingers, clicking publish, and putting it out into the world. There is plenty that doesn’t need to be seen, at least not without polish. 🙂

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Jenny, I wish I also had some of your bravery about putting work out into the world as it stands. It’s something I’d like to get better at, this skill of trusting my work enough to let it be. I’ve gotten better, but it’s still HARD for me.

  17. Stacey Shubitz Says:

    I’ve had a draft on TWT for over a year now. It was a post that was supposed to go up in late March last year, but I put it off because of the pandemic. Now I’m just kicking the can down the road. It’s ready to go, in theory, but it needs to be updated because of the pandemic. However, I just can’t seem to update it — or delete it!

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      I completely get that. Usually for me, it’s just one line, one image or phrase that comes to me for drafts like that. It’s like, I need something to bring it forward or tie it up. Until I do? Back in the stack it goes…

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