In One Obstacle Down by HappyChyck, she writes,
“With a lack of direction from the state, except for character count (2,000 maximum), and potential modes of writing to be tested (narrative, expository, and argumentative), I did the opposite of worry. I just taught good writing the best way I know how. In fact, I didn't even worry about the exam until the few weeks before, particularly when I realized just how short 2,000 really is. My goodness, in this case, if I taught only to the test, my students would be horrible writers! “
Sometimes we need to just teach good writing.
Lately, I feel like I have been kind of stale in my writing. This feeling has made me almost afraid to write. I guess that is what writer’s block is but it feels horrible. I love writing. The fear of not writing something worth reading stops me in my tracks. What if? What if I can’t think of something good to write? What if it doesn’t make sense? What if people think it’s stupid? What if?
Okay, I take a deep breath and tell myself to just write.
Usually that helps me get over my fears. Once I start writing, it all comes back to me. Many people say it is like riding a bike even if I haven’t done it for years. It will come back as if you never stopped.
So I do. I just start jotting down my thoughts. I don’t worry about it all making sense. I can go back and edit it later. But first I need to get my thoughts down. Once I start, it is like a runaway train (boy I’m so full of clichés today!). But it feels good and I feel a sense of relief.
Even if I don’t use what I’ve written as a post, it gives me a jumping off place. I can pick a certain thought and expand on it. I can explore what I’m feeling and share it with others. I can explain in more detail so others can feel what I do. I need to use my senses more so others can understand it better.
I can do this. I’m not a lost cause.
Maybe this is how my students feel. Many have failed over the years and when we criticize them (which of course, we call constructive criticism), they get paralyzed with the same fear. Maybe they just don’t know where to start.
I need to give my students time to just write. They need some time to write their thoughts and feelings no matter how jumbled they may be. It may help their writing. It may help them feel better about their writing. I know it helped me.
Instead of teaching to the test, I need to just teach good writing. Maybe this will help them be more successful in their writing.
Image: 'Words, Post-Election.'