Be a GENUINE Writer.
What is the one thing that will make the biggest, lasting impact in our writing workshops? Being a writer ourselves. Now I’m not talking about writing in order to be an example or a model to our students (although this is a positive side-effect). No, the kind I’m talking about is writing for a purpose greater than our classroom walls. I’m talking about being a genuine, honest-to-goodness WRITER.
This slight shift of purpose leads to a big shift in our writing workshops. Once I began being a genuine writer, I gained an insider’s perspective. I know what it’s like to not want to write and have to do it anyway. I know what it’s like to have something I want to say and not be able to make the words do what I want them to do (kind of like this post). I know what it’s like to struggle through writing something new and then experiencing the sheer joy that comes when someone responds to it.
It’s this kind of insider knowledge that serves me well when I talk to student writers about writing. It’s insight I’m not able to gain from a book or from observation or even from teaching experience. The only way I can get it is by writing — for real — day in and day out. Take a minute today and write something just because you need to get it down on paper. Write because you are someone who writes and who cares about helping children learn to write better.