I looked good. I had on my 3-inch big girl heels, pencil skirt, blouse, and jacket. And I looked professional, too, with my shoulder strap satchel. I strutted into the building feeling confident and headed for the grand staircase. You know the type – the large, winding staircase, traversing multiple stories, serving as the centerpiece for an historic downtown office building.
I made it fine down the first few steps.
Until my heel caught on a step and I tumbled down the stairs. Down and down I fell, head over heels, rolling and bouncing along the stairs like Bart Simpson having a nice trip, with papers flying from my satchel like confetti in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. I didn’t stop until I got all the way to the bottom. I looked up from the foot of the stairs to see people crowding the railing of the top floor, all watching me in stunned silence. I stood and waved. The onlookers applauded then dispersed. A few stayed to help me collect my papers that spanned nearly the entire staircase.
Once I collected myself and my belongings, I found my way to the classroom where I would give a presentation on the writing process. As part of my presentation, I taught students about fast writing, my favorite type of writing. Fast writing is exactly what it sounds like – writing fast. Fast writing has only one rule: don’t stop writing. If you run out of things to stay, write “I don’t have anything to say.” If you misspell something, just keep writing. If you feel silly, write about how silly you feel. Whatever you do, don’t stop writing for the allotted time.
Fast writing has many benefits. It helps you deal with personal issues that may block your writing. It helps you learn about yourself, because it forces you to think while you write instead of before you write. It helps you get to your genius because it forces you past your crazy. Usually when we think something crazy, we stop ourselves from writing it, and we never discover what ideas might have come next. Fast writing helps you move past the crazy and find your genius. Fast writing silences your inner critic – that voice that tells you you’re a bad and inept writer.
My inner critic wanted to wreak havoc on me after my spill down the stairs. Everyone saw you fall down the stairs and won’t take you seriously during your presentation. You can’t even walk down a flight of stairs in heels. What else can’t you do? Instead of listening to my inner critic, I fast wrote with the students during the presentation.
Fast writing is a great journaling strategy, especially for educators without much time. It allows you to access your thoughts and emotions without censoring yourself. Try fast writing for 2 minutes at a time and gradually build your way up to longer stretches. You can write about whatever you want. Don’t worry if you get off topic. Your brain will eventually get you where you need to be. Where will fast writing take you today?
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I am doing a 31-day series on reading and journaling as self care for educators. Each day of the series has bonus journal prompts. Click to join the LELA House family of educators committed to nourishing their reading, writing, and creative souls. You’ll receive a link to the journal prompts and gain early alerts for upcoming LELA House ideas, courses, and products. You only need to subscribe once. I will add a new worksheet each day to the access link.
Roshaunda D. Cade, Ph.D. is an educator, writer, and creator. She offers life coaching and writing coaching to educators, as well as other opportunities for educators to practice self care through reading and writing. Check out her LELA House website to learn more about her services. Roshaunda lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband and teenage children and enjoys reading, writing, dancing, and pushing her creative boundaries.