|Image courtesy of MorgueFile|
This quote from novelist Vladimir Nabokov most resonated: “My pencils outlast their erasers.” Writing is never a one-step process, is never easy, and is never done.
Many of our students—more often boys than girls—see writing as a destination rather than a journey. They race to complete any writing task without giving much thought to what they’re actually writing. And editing/revising? Forget it...
At my school, we do a fairly thorough job of teaching kids how to write and expecting kids to write across all content areas, but I wonder about us teaching them WHY to write:
- Why do we write? Why does writing have value? Why do these words on a page matter?
- Why should I as a writer care about what I write? Why should I agonize over every word, sentence, phrase, and punctuation mark?
- Why should I always throw out bad writing? Why should I throw out good writing?
- Why should I care about my audience? Why do I have a responsibility to my readers (and who are these faceless readers anyway)?
A big "thank you" to all teachers who teach kids (and remind kids, and cajole kids) to own their writing. When I was growing up, I had a few good teachers who would not tolerate sloppy writing. Period. They were strict and tough, but fair—these are the teachers I remember and honor the most.
PS: I wrote the original draft of this message in a Google document so that I could track my revisions. The first draft took me 29 minutes to write, and in that time I had over 30 major and minor revisions—not including typos. Writing takes practice, practice, practice...