In March, Terje Äkke asked “What kind of writer are you?” I took some time to ponder her question. After all, this is not a simple question. While some people might be able to answer it in 140 characters or less, I am not one of those people (see the bullet point about being long-winded below).
I finally crafted a response to Terje’s question. Some of my assertions came easily (e.g., I am disciplined.) while some took me by surprise (I wish I wrote more like Maureen Dowd.)! Regardless of how I came upon my responses, thinking deeply about myself as a writer was important work since it allowed me to think about the type of effort I would want a student to provide if they were answering Terje’s question on an end-of-year writing workshop reflection.
WHO I AM AS A WRITER
I am the kind of writer who is disciplined. I know how to put my tush in a chair and keep it there. I close-down my browsers and silence my phone when I need to get writing done. I meet deadlines.
I am the kind of writer who is never satisfied. I can return to something I wrote a month, a year, or a decade later and still find ways to improve upon it. My writing is never finished.
I am the kind of writer who loves finding the perfect word to describe something. I always have a thesaurus on hand when I’m writing. It’s not that I want to use bigger words, I want to use the most precise one.
I am a rollerball pen writer. I’ve tried a Jot Script stylus, as well as 53’s Pencil, on my iPad’s digital notebook apps. Nothing compares to the precision and the feel of rollerball ink gliding atop a spiral-spine notebook.
I am the kind of writer who thinks faster than she can type, which is about 90 WPM, thank you very much.
I am the kind of writer who requires a lot of chocolate while working on a deadline. Now that I’m in the final two months of working on the manuscript for Craft Moves, I’ve been consuming more chocolate than I should. (I’m carrying a few extra pounds on my frame to prove that the chocolate one eats while writing does, in fact, contain calories.)
I am the kind of writer who uses two spaces after every period, despite the fact some consider that passé. In fact, when I send something to my publisher, I “find and replace” all of the two spaces after a period with one because I just can’t get out of the two-spaces-after-a-period habit when I type.
I am the kind of writer who needs her own personal editor. Why? Because I do my best proofreading after I hit “publish” or “send.”
I am the kind of writer who wishes she wrote more like Maureen Dowd when engaging in argument-based writing about education policy. I know what I want to say and have all the right words in my head, but I don’t have the adroitness or the courage (or the platform) to write like Dowd.
I am the kind of writer who tends to be long-winded. I struggle with brevity. Twitter has been a 3.5 year exercise in learning to be concise.
I am the kind of writer who does some of her best thinking in the shower or while driving. This is problematic since I never have the chance to write down the amazing ideas I think of when that happens!
* * * * *
Want to give your students self-assessments that will get them thinking about the kind of writers they are (and more), but don’t know where to start? Here are some older posts I’ve written about self-assessments and end-of-year reflections.
I am a literacy consultant who focuses on writing workshop. I've been working with K-6 teachers and students since 2009. Prior to that, I was a fourth and fifth-grade teacher in New York City and Rhode Island.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).
I live in Central Pennsylvania with my husband and children. In my free time, I enjoy swimming, doing Pilates, cooking, baking, making ice cream, and reading novels.
View all posts by Stacey Shubitz
22 thoughts on “Reflecting: What kind of writer am I?”
Love this post and will plan a future post on this important topic. I’m still a 2 space after the period writer. I am the kind of writer who is undisciplined. Thank goodness for my commitments to TWT, Poetry Friday, and Celebrate this Week that keep me writing.
You’re doing great, Ramona!
This says so much. Recognizing who we are in life is necessary if we choose to grow. You’ve inspired me and so many others in this post. Thank you.
When I first read your question I felt myself slouch, just a bit. Not from poor posture, but because I too find myself doing my best editing AFTER I hit publish, and returning to my writing a day, a week or even a month later and thinking how did I miss this? I also find myself going on and on and on and pausing to decide one or two spaces after a period and comma or shorter sentence because I am not sure about the comma. All these thing make me a shy writer with MUCH to say. As you can imagine being a shy writer with many messages to share is a challenge. So as I read on in your post I found my head nodding, my jaw dropping, my posture improving and my writing confidence growing! If Stacey Shubitz experiences these same challenges then maybe I should (continue to) shove my writing demons in the closet and share my message because in my heart I am a writer who is also best friends with the (three finger tap on the Mac for the) thesaurus and who works best with pressure and deadlines. So maybe these are the demons of many writers. Whatever writing demon we face we need to push on past and let our voices be heard.
Thanks Stacy for making me sit taller and push past my insecurities to let my thoughts find me as I write, because one thing I know for sure is my words always surprise me, and I am glad they do!
Your post has me thinking about myself as a writer. This year has been a challenging one for myself as a writer and I’m looking forward to some changes that will help me get back to the writing life that I miss so much. I’m putting your idea into my writer’s notebook and am going to spend some time thinking about it. I think I’ll add “What kind of writer do I want to be” to help me set some goals to work on this summer. BTW, chocolate is a must for any kind of writing to get done. 🙂
I also love this post and appreciate how thinking of what kind of writer you are validates that you are a writer in the first place. For those of us who are not “published” authors in the sense of having a published book, it is important that we think of ourselves as writers and help our students step into that identity, too. When I taught kindergarten, I think it was easier for the little ones to accept they are writers. After all, they readily see themselves as princesses, a Power a Rangers, firefighters, etc. As students get older, they embrace the identity less and think of writers as only those who have published books. Many teachers I know would balk at the idea of calling themselves writers. The very premise of this post starts with: You are a writer… Just what kind are you? Love that. I just ordered Aimee’s book today on your recommendation and I’m excited to read it and check out the self reflection links.
What kind of writer am I? I am the kind of writer who looks to make connections. I am the kind of writer who finds understanding from connecting all pieces of my life, past and present. I like to write about the people, places and ideas that matter most to me. I love incorporating song lyrics, quotes, and pictures into my writing. I can be too wordy. I struggle to write fiction and stick mostly to personal narrative. Feedback from readers means so much to me and I wilt with criticism but I am working on that!
Stacey, just want to echo how impressed I am with you, your vision, your writing and how you’ve grown this community with the TWT team. I wish I found this site earlier but so happy to have found it now. The daily posts leave me with new ideas each day. This was another great one!
Stacey, you got me thinking. Thank you. I wish everyone who read this would share their answers.
I love that you know yourself so well as a writer — especially the part about discipline! You are my model for what it looks like to be a disciplined writer! You’re always looking weeks, months ahead and sticking to the plan. I’m more of a day-or-two-ahead-kick-it-into-high-gear kind of a writer. You are amazing and inspiring!
I remember that someone else who writes for this blog (I can’t remember who) wrote about writing tics (that may not be the word she used- can’t remember) and habits and encouraged us to reflect on our own. I love that you have asked this question and am excited to reflect and write about what kind of writer I am. Writing has definitely helped me teach writers. Knowing myself as a writer is helping. Thanks for encouraging us to continue to reflect.
I just recently read something about only using one space after a period and I thought it was madness! I tried it and just couldn’t do it. I will forever use two spaces.
I tweeted the following in response…
Inspired by @raisealithuman https://goo.gl/pnpezA I tend to get to the point. I prefer to write in the am. I struggle to rewrite. You?
What a great question! And I enjoyed reading your answer and getting to know the writer you even better. Chocolate is me de-stresser. It’s been helpful these last few days of school. I want to ponder this question and answer in an SOL post. I am also going to post on my kidblog site in case any of my students check in over the summer.
I also want to comment about the bolder print. So much easier to read early in the morning.
I am also a writer who likes two spaces after a period. I dislike the Oxford comma. I learned both of these things very young.
But this is my favorite, because I am also this writer:
“I am the kind of writer who does some of her best thinking in the shower or while driving. This is problematic since I never have the chance to write down the amazing ideas I think of when that happens!”
What a great post! It had me nodding along, enjoying your words and the insight into your writing. I can relate to so many of your reflections. I, too, am an eternal editor and love to push for the perfect word. I also want to know when the double space after a period was eliminated–Apparently I missed that news bulletin! I can’t wait to reflect more on my own writing strengths, weaknesses, quirks, etc. I’ve been writing much more this year and the more I write, the more I discover about my writing self. It’s a journey of discovery! Thanks so much for sharing–I love it when I finish reading a post and am inspired and impatient to write!
Here’s one of many articles about the 2 spaces after the period that I’ve read:
http://www.cultofpedagogy.com/two-spaces-after-period/. Makes me feel so passe!
I have used the “find & replace” technique to rid my writing of 2 spaces after a period as well!
I think you’ll enjoy this, Shari.
I love the depth of self-reflection (transparency) in this post! Now I know that chocolate is the secret weapon!
I find these exercises so good for me personally, but also so good for me as a teacher. When I think about where I am or who I am, I notice how hard it can be to figure that out. It helps me remember to give more TIME to think and write. I nodded along with so much of your post and when we differed, I was like “huh. interesting.”
So interesting to read your response. It shows how different the writers can be and still get writing done, plus enjoy it. The chocolate comment made me chuckle. Looking forward to reading Craft Moves. Including other reflection tips makes the post very useful for end-of-year reflections. Thank you so much.
The chocolate part was written yesterday… Because I felt the need for transparency!
I love everything about this post! Thank you for the push to think about myself as a writer and to have my students do the same. I see this happening next week in class. Look for my post on it, once I’ve reflected too. Thanks Stacey for the thought-provoking post!
Comments are closed.