The Zone

I’ve been thinking about Nancie Atwell’s book, The Reading Zone, lately. Last week I gave a lesson about this idea in a ninth grade class.  This weekend I’ve realized how this concept is important for writers too. We must intentionally focus in order to write well, even when we don’t feel like it.

I’d like to give this kind of minilesson in a Writing Workshop. Instead of asking: “What do you do to pay attention when you read?” I’d like to pose the question: “What do you do to focus on your work when you write?”

Like always, I’ll try to answer this question before posing it in a classrooms. Knowing that, like always, their answers well be better than mine. 🙂 So here it goes — How do I focus on my writing?:

  • I quiet the thoughts in my head that tell me I’m not good enough.
  • I avoid the Internet.
  • I put in my ear buds and turn up my iPod.
  • I listen to music with words.
  • I get comfortable.
  • I tell myself to write. It doesn’t have to be good.
  • I envision what my writing will be like when I’m done.
  • I look through my writer’s notebook.
  • I read inspiring quotes or passages about writing.
  • I talk about my writing to someone.
  • I reread past work.
  • I draft a little, reread, make a plan, draft a little more, reread, revise, add to the plan, draft, reread, the cycle continues until the writing is finished.
  • I go for a walk.

How about you? What do you do to focus on your writing? What do you students do?