Over the summer, I have really and truly been working on MY writing. What this means to me is to take time away from all of the extra work that goes into teaching and instead focus on myself as a writer. I have this crazy, lofty dream to actually write a book, actually BOOKS. One day I hope to have a second career as a writer. This dream feels far away sometimes; but any teacher of writing knows that you would never let your students feel this way, which I try to remind myself of when I get that “I can’t do this” feeling. All writers have things which hold them back and I have two: 1) confidence- which is a popular fear of a writer, especially kids 2) I have so many dribbles of ideas, not really ONE completely focused one. I think these are obstacles which can be overcome…in time.
What I have found through teaching writing, learning from other marvelous teachers, and observing behaviors of myself as well as others are some habits to help build your life as a reader and writer. I say reader and writer because one is incomplete without the other. I initially began to build this list in order to set my students up at the beginning of the year, but I also believe it is a nice reminder for myself:)
Habits of Readers & Writers:
1) Keep pen/pencil & notebook or paper handy. Wherever you go. You never know when you’ll need it and mostly you never know when an idea will pop up. I truly get random story ideas or character ideas or setting ideas, even envisioning scenes when I am not trying.
2) Read! Take notes.
3) Enjoy the reading, but think also…”What did the writer DO?”
4) Study those books that you really enjoy. I have a
handful truckload of books which have inspired me to write. I love the story and I love how the book makes me feel and I always think. I want to do that!
5) You have to write. Everyday. It doesn’t have to be the masterpiece novel you’ve been dying to write your whole life (I wish it was though!). But, you can’t expect to get there if you are not writing at all. Journal your day, write an email, read a good book and take notes. I find that I actually become more frustrated when I want to write something amazing because my expectations become too high. Which leads me to my next habit…
6) Write to discover. There are so many times when I have no idea where my writing is going or even what I am going to write, but if you find a way to get started you might end up with a “neurocaine”! This is far beyond the regular brainstorm:) I had one last night and it was fabulous 🙂
This list is an ongoing process. I found several blogs last night dedicated to writing (which I need to share the links-I’ll get on that!), which had wonderful inspiration for writing and success in general. Plus, we all come from different backgrounds and experiences…
Do you have any habits to add?
Happy July!! 🙂