A few weeks ago, Lori, Kris, and I shared about our blog, our writing group, and ourselves as writers. As we stood in front of these Juniors and Seniors who were about to begin blogging as part of their Physics class, I felt very proud. We were asked to talk to young writers about writing because we are writers. Throughout my life I have worn this label proudly, it has faded into the background and almost disappeared entirely, and recently has surfaced with new enthusiasm.
My journey as a writer has been a bumpy one:
- As a child, I was a journaler. It makes me laugh when I think of those notes full of friendship woes and puppy love crushes.
- Through high school and college, I was a procrastinator who spent many a late night/early morning cranking out a paper to be turned in a mere two to three hours later.
- As a young teacher, my writing life was non-existent.
- As a soon-to-be Mom, I wrote letters to Brody sharing my excitement, hopes, and dreams for him. (I have added to letter to this journal on each of Brody’s birthdays.)
- After discovering the work of Lucy Calkins and The Reading Writing Project, I began writing what I asked my students to write. (This was very eye-opening and a wonderful reminder that writing is difficult.)
- In pursuit of my EdD, I slipped back into old habits from high school and college and quickly learned that these habits do not produce writing I am proud of.
And today, I try to write at least three times per week. Some of this writing holds the seeds of blog posts, some of this writing helps me celebrate the wonderful business of our lives, and some of this writing will never be seen by anyone but helps me think.
As I think about this writing journey, there are three things that I know are most important to my writing process:
- A clear audience. Is the writing only for me or will I share with a larger audience? When the writing is only for me, I freely share all of my opinions and include the brutal honesty that will help me truly reflect. When the writing is something that I think could be shared, I am more careful with my words, I write in a more concise manner and I think about details I can share that will engage the reader.
- A topic I care about. It is almost impossible for me to write about something that I do not care about. Writing is hard – I have to be 100% invested to put forth the effort!
- Feedback from others. The encouraging words from others about my writing are fueling me and I am so grateful. I LOVE when someone mentions our blog and wants to talk about one of the posts. I LOVE when someone shares that something I wrote and posted on the blog has caused them to think. I LOVE when my writing group praises me for the writing habit I am working to develop.
As I reflected on my personal writing process I started thinking about all classrooms where young writers are asked to think.
- I wonder what our young writers would recognize as the essential elements to their writing process. Do our classrooms allow for these essential elements?
- I wonder if our young writers feel ownership of their writing process. How can we help them develop this?
- I wonder if our young writers would describe themselves as writers. How can we help them build this identity?