Reflecting: What kind of writer am I?

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.


  • Ask yourself. Then ask your students.  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.

  • In an effort not to put on another six pounds, I've curtailed my chocolate consumption to these.

    In an effort not to put on another six pounds, I’ve curtailed my chocolate consumption to these.

    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!  

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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.

Reluctant Writers’ Self Reflections

Self-Assessing Their Notebooks

Updated End-of-Year Letter Guidelines

Weekend Check-ins

Also, check out Aimee Buckner’s Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer’s Notebook.  It is an excellent resource for all things relating to writer’s notebooks AND for creating mid-year and end-of-year self-assessments for students.

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So now I ask you this: What kind of writer are you?