Our school district is getting ready for a two-week-long winter break. Classroom teachers are working hard to complete units of study and publish final pieces. In addition, there is a holiday breakfast with Santa, an author visit, and an early release day. In the midst of all this hustle and bustle, I hope to get into some classrooms this week to talk to kids about their writing plans for the long winter break. Some ideas I hope to share with them are:
1. Be prepared.
Bring your writer’s notebook home with you. Take it out of your backpack, and put it someplace you will see it, like on your kitchen table or your nightstand. Bring your favorite pen or pencil home, too. You might bring a stack of Post-It notes in case an idea strikes you when you are not near your writer’s notebook. A writer never really knows when inspiration will strike, and it is best to be prepared.
2. Have a game plan.
Don’t just sit around waiting for inspiration to strike, though. Know that you are going to write (at least a little bit) each day, and then make a plan. When will you write? Will you have some free time in the morning before your day gets busy? Will you have a few minutes of quiet before bed? Think about when writing will fit into your day. Where will you write? Is there room at your kitchen table? Can you write in your bedroom? Think of somewhere you can comfortably write in your house.
3. Make a list.
If you want to avoid that uneasy feeling you get when you’re staring at a blank page, you can make a list of possible writing topics. Perhaps you will get inspired to write about other things (you probably will), but just in case you don’t, it is good to have a list. Some of the things I hope to write about over the winter break are:
~ why I love the song O Holy Night
~ the cardboard box we played with this weekend
~ my favorite Christmas memory (putting up our tree and listening to Elvis’s Christmas record)
~ reasons I hate the snow
~ the magic of Christmas, seeing it through the eyes of my daughters
Having this list makes me feel at ease as a writer. I know I’ll have something to write about every day.
4. Write with your family.
You don’t have to write alone. Ask a family member (or two or three) to join you. Sometimes it is nice to write in the company of someone else for 15-20 minutes, and then you can each share what you wrote. You might be surprised what you learn about each other through writing together! Or maybe you would like to co-author something with a sibling or parent. Writing doesn’t have to be solitary.
I know the kids will be busy over winter break, and I hope I can encourage them to take some time to write.
Literacy Coach, Reader, Writer