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Celebrating Versus Publishing

I’ve been percolating some ideas for the Celebrating Writers book Christi Overman and I are working on and expect to have out later this year with Stenhouse. We pretty much had it drafted, but then, looking back after letting it settle realized (due to the insight of our editor) that it just wasn’t quite right. So we’ve been slung back into the beginning stages of planning and drafting and talking and drafting and envisioning. (And, oh yeah, the due date is in two months.)

I use the word percolating with a little bit of a smirk. Perhaps procrastinating could be substituted. At least that’s what it might look like to an outsider (or even a co-writer…eh, Christi?).  To read more about my reflection of this writing process, check out my post, “What happened to my nice-neat writing process?” on Ruth Ayres Writes.

What I’m coming to realize is there is a significant difference in my mind between celebration and publication. As I read some of the research this weekend (an assignment from my editor), I noticed there’s not been much emphasis on celebration. Publication is discussed, as this is the final stage of the writing process. Sharing is discussed. Publishing parties are mentioned.

A formal celebration of writers — not so much. So I want to flesh out the differences between celebrating and publishing. This is one of the purposes of Two Writing Teachers — to have a place to shape my thinking and  catch how it is changing and growing.

So a little list about PUBLISHING…

  1. Publishing is focused on putting the writing into the world.
  2. Publishing is centered on making writing public.
  3. Publishing is totally product oriented. The emphasis is on the writing, not the writer.
  4. Publishing is often looked at as the end of a piece of writing. Sometimes there is a sense of “arriving” at a destination once the writing is published. The journey is over — often never thought about again. This kind of sends a shiver up my spine.
  5. Publishing is sometimes about perfection. The focus can be about neatness and conventions and doing it “right.”

By contrast, I see CELEBRATING as…

  1. Focused on writers and how they are changing, growing, and developing. It is about the writer, not the writing.
  2. Celebrating is about reflective practice, helping writers discover their strengths and set goals for their writing lives.
  3. Celebrating is about connections to other writers. It has a purpose of developing a community of writers.
  4. Celebrating fuels a writer’s journey. Celebrating provides support and encouragement. It helps us realize the hard work of living a writing life is worthwhile and important. Celebrating gives us something to work toward or on for the next leg of our journey.
  5. Celebrating helps us discover pieces of our writing selves. We learn about our strengths and how to build on them to truly master craft and conventions. Celebrating gives us a chance to take risks to find out what works (and what doesn’t) as writers.

How about you? What do you think of when you hear WRITING CELEBRATION? What do you imagine when you consider PUBLISHING. Your comments are appreciated. 🙂

Ruth Ayres View All

Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.

6 thoughts on “Celebrating Versus Publishing Leave a comment

  1. There’s a lot to think about here…especially taking into account the post Christy shared. I view “publishing” and “celebrating” as part of the journey as a writer. There is something so satisfying about working through an idea from it’s very beginnings to completion – with all the thinking, revising, editing and cutting out that goes into the mix. In my classroom, I don’t view publishing as perfection – it’s more of “how far can I go with this piece as a writer?” At the end of a genre study, we celebrate what we have learned about ourselves as writers and the distance we have come. My favorite time is when my kids are filing away their “work” and “published” folders – they always linger the longest over the work they have done as they assemble all of it chronologically; they seem to love stapling it all together and marveling over the work it takes to write something beautiful, something one is proud of.
    When my ex-students drop by, they always remark how much they miss those acts of celebrating their writing in the higher grades. Something seems to be missing when that story or poem you worked so hard on just gets dropped off in an in box! I wish we could move the celebrating to the high school!


  2. You must be reading my mind. Another teacher and I have a writing celebration planned for tomorrow. We’ve been working on snapshots and invited another class to see what we’ve learned so far. The kids are displaying their snapshots on a long scroll that will be hanging in the hallway. As the guests view the gallery, the writers stand nearby to read their pieces or answer questions about snapshots. Guests are also encouraged to write their comments on a large piece of paper hanging at the end of the gallery. After the viewing, the writers, their teacher, and I will gather to debrief. Maybe I will ask the kids tomorrow how they view publishing and celebrating.



    This blog post by Nikki Grimes immediately came to mind when I read your post. Grimes’s post has been nagging at me. When I initially read it, I felt sort of defensive. I don’t entirely disagree with her, but I still felt she wasn’t really getting the whole picture. Your differentiation between publishing writing and celebrating writers helps me clarify my own thoughts.

    I can’t wait to get another Ruth Ayres book autographed!


  4. From what you are saying to differentiate the publishing from the celebrating, then all the commenting and conferring between teacher and student, from peer to peer plays a part in helping the writer learn who they are, how they are growing as writers, and self discovery. This further means that teachers must create time for this talk between the pairs or among the groups, right? It’s an important message you are working out, Ruth!


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