1.) Writing Is Hard
Writing has always been my favorite form of expression. Some people paint, draw, sculpt, sew, do crafts, take pictures but I write. I’m honest about my skills, which means I’m a hair above average. However, writing every day or even three times a week is challenging. At times it is down right hard. The pain felt when staring at a blank page or the anxiety of not knowing what to write about is a feeling that a composition teacher should always be familiar.
2.) Writing Is A Skill
Like any other hobby writing requires constant practice. The less you do the worse you get. I used to be able to rattle off a thirty second radio ad in twenty minutes but now my creative writing skills have grown rusty as I have spent more time writing academically and professionally. If I’m going to preach practice then I had better be practicing myself.
3.) Know Thyself
Part of the skill of writing is understanding where you struggle. I’m not a grammarian. I’m okay with this. The basic rules of grammar are tedious and boring to me. I couldn’t quote the rule for semi-colon usage or dangling modifiers if my life depended on it. Yuck. I love books. I love words. I love writing. I don’t love grammar. However, knowing my weakness allows me to compensate for it. It is important to know where your strengths and weakness lie and therefore also important that my students gain that same self-awareness.
4.) Don’t Lose The Wonder
I love to write. I truly do love it. I’ve written in some form or fashion everyday of my life since I was in fifth grade and started my first journal. I still love it. I love how writing forces me to be introspective. I love how writing challenges me to accurately communicate my thoughts and feelings. I love that sometimes when I write things it affects people and they tell me. If I ever lose sight of that love I’m going to quit teaching.
The act of writing is a craft and it is impossible to teach and inspire somebody to pursue the same craft if you yourself do not practice. When I tell my students about the importance of having a writing process or why organization is important it is coming from the voice of experience and not from a textbook. A lecture rings hollow when it is presented with no passion and little context.