Jul 22, 2011

Rough Drafts in Life

by Tanya Parker Mills

The writing process is symbolic of so much in life. Perhaps that's why one of Christ's monikers is that of "Author of our faith." I'll probably delve more into that in a future post either here or on my own blog, but events of the past few days have only reinforced that truth.

I'm down in Utah lending a hand to my daughter as she prepares her classroom for her first year of teaching. It's definitely a good thing I came because I defy anyone--experienced or not--to create bulletin boards with only two hands! As with writing, you need more than one set of eyes on your work as you go along to check to make sure that your vision is being communicated clearly. And, as with writing, there will be whole sections of your creative work that may seem "finished" to you but are indeed still in rough draft form. Some may even need to be left out, if not done over.

For that reason, I understood her frustration when her "facilitator" (that's an assigned Mentor Teacher who helps her in her internship) made certain criticisms of her work thus far and then took her to show her a couple of other classrooms prepared by two other interns. (Of course, they had had help from their moms who both happened to be experienced teachers.) A writer, like a teacher, needs to develop thick skin AND get used to comparisons without falling into the trap of always comparing themselves to the point of denigrating themselves.

Rough Drafts are never easy in writing, in class prep, or in life. But they're an essential step.


  1. Great analogy. I can see and small that classroom now. Bulletin boards are not for the faint of heart.

  2. That first time is always hard. Tell her not to worry by next year she'll be a pro.

  3. I do that too! Comparisons to other writers inevitably lead to me spiraling into a pit of despair and copious amounts of chocolate. But I realize that's my problem, not the critiquer's. I'm sure your daughter learned a lot of creative tips from seeing the other classrooms!

  4. Aren't we glad we have the chance to write/experience rough drafts? Think how awful it would be if we only got one shot at doing things.

    As for thick skin - can't survive without it.

    Yay for rough drafts, thick skin and do-overs!

  5. Having just finished my first year of teaching a couple months ago, I think that my comment here is:

    Remember that what works for one teacher/writer will not always work for another teacher/writer.

    I'm sure each teacher's bulletin boards looked great - but only through trial and error will we figure out what works best for us.


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