Sometimes I wonder how I got here, how I became Kelly Hochbein, Writer. I'd always dreamed of this, but other dreams came first.
I was a classroom teacher for thirteen years. I lived, breathed, and (barely) slept teaching. When I wasn't a classroom teacher, I was working at a university with classroom teachers. So, up until recently, I was three things: mother, wife, teacher. I was these things all the time, and "teacher" was the one I'd been the longest. I loved teaching, but I'd also always wanted to be a writer. I'd read children's books day and night and think, "I'd love to do that. I think I could do that." But there was never enough time to do it right.
So when my family relocated and the teacher part didn't really fit into place in our new place, I suddenly had time. More time with my kids, more time to write. So I became mother, wife, writer. And I am writing. A lot. And I love it.
Writing, though, is scarier than I thought it would be. As a teacher, I tried new things all the time - new lesson plans, new approaches, new corny jokes. Some succeeded, some didn't, but as a teacher, you learn to brush that stuff off and try again. It seems a bit harder as a writer. Even though you spend a lot of time by yourself, sitting at a computer or with a notebook, you put your words - yourself - out there to be judged and accepted or rejected by others. It was somehow easier to have a fifth grader roll his eyes at me than it is to wait, like a teenage girl waiting for that boy to call and invite her to prom, for an answer about the words that I've released through the internet or the US Postal Service.
Some days are really hard. Waiting is really hard. And the life of a writer can be really, really hard.
But, thankfully, I've taught some incredible kids over the years, and those kids have taught me some pretty big life lessons. Like this one, written right before my move by a very loving and hardworking child:
Secondly, this sentence stops me in my tracks every time I read it: "I will not give up, and I know you won't either!"
The hard stuff doesn't seem so hard when I think of this child never giving up and believing that I, too, will follow my dreams.
This letter hangs right above my desk, a constant reminder to keep writing, keep growing, keep trying. It makes me smile every single day.
This blog is a place for me to write about the things that keep me writing. It's about sharing stories and sharing myself and sharing ideas. It's about helping kids love to write and writing things that kids and parents will love to read.
Because we all want to make someone else smile.
Here's to writing and reading and smiling. And waiting. Lots of waiting.