Writers on Writing

I loved NaBloPoMo. Not only did it get me into the habit of writing every day, but it also exposed me to a number of new bloggers – some of whom I can see becoming good friends.

Yesterday, Meg wrote a beautiful piece about how she sees herself as a writer, and about trying to explain what that means to elementary school children. I wrote to ask her permission to use the piece in my writing classes because I think she not only hit upon the essense of what it means to be a writer, but explained it in such clear and compelling ways because she was framing her thinking in terms of elementary school students. And, really – couldn’t we all stand to have things explained to us in simple terms once in a while?

One of the reasons I love the entry is because she goes a long way to demystifying writing. It’s being observant and paying attention to details. It’s taking joy and appreciation in the every day happenings and surroundings of our lives. It’s the desire to express experiences to others – the desire to share in real and expressible ways. It’s as simple and natural as that. I love that sentiment.

I spend a fair bit of spare brain space thinking about what my writing students will be like, and what fears, roadblocks, and talents they’ll bring to the classroom. I’m trying to plan for as many contingencies as I can to address the different experiences that my students will have had, and wondering how best to lead them to the understanding that they can all write, and write well.

I want to make sure I don’t instill in my kids a belief that writing is something that only a few “smart” people can manage, or that all the great writing has already been written – I’ve had professors who have believed just that, and it made me wonder why anyone would bother to write anymore, much less teach writing, if nothing of value could be expected of the effort. I want them to see writing as a human birthright; something we can all do in our own ways and, perhaps more importantly, something we can all use to share and learn and grow. It’s community building. It’s reaching out and making connections. After all, isn’t that what we, as humans, are really here to do?

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2 Comments

Filed under about writing, Learning

2 responses to “Writers on Writing

  1. I fully agree. I’m teaching a student right now who has no desire to continue to work, and says she only does it because of her mother. It breaks my heart a little to think that she derives no joy from what she’s doing, and I try.

    Sometimes, it’s not that you have to help them learn that something wonderful can happen. Sometimes, it’s the lesson that they don’t have to be wonderful to enjoy what they are doing.

  2. Meg

    Thank you for reading my blog. How exciting that you gave me a plug. You have know idea how awesome this has made me feel!

    I wish I had a teacher like you when I was a student.

    I mostly had the type of teachers that made me feel that only smart people had the right to write. This attitude exhausted me. I’m so glad I’m over that now. I did have a few that encouraged me and that kept me sane (and writing) through to adulthood.

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