For the month of March, I'm participating in the Slice of Life Challenge on my other blog: Merely Day by Day. Writing every day isn't easy, and I'm learning some lessons I want to remember when I sit beside young writers. Thanks to the team at Two Writing Teachers for pushing me to be a teacher who writes, and helping to grow my reflections.
Writing every day certainly makes me think a lot about what I ask of writers in my classroom, and maybe what I should do differently. After 25 days of writing, I've been surprised to not find myself in crisis over what I will write about this year. I seem to have found a rhythm that works, and I've just been plugging away. It's probably the gift of our writing workshops; knowing you're going to write every single day (and the challenge).
Though I've been able to write every day, most days I publish my pieces knowing they aren't quite there yet. After twenty-five days of posting, there's hardly a piece that I wouldn't go back to and try to rework. You see, I know why each piece isn't there yet. I'm not always sure how to get it there, but I can detect the parts of each post that work --- and those that don't quite make it.
That makes me wonder, do we ask our students, "Is your piece of writing where you want it? Is it there yet?" I'm going to guess that if asked, most of our writers could tell us the part of their writing that works, the new things they've tried, AND the parts that aren't quite there yet. Instead, we often show them parts we think aren't there yet. We require particular types of revision and lament that students don't make enough changes to their pieces.
As I get ready to write for the final week of March, I wonder what would happen if we just asked writers, "What works in this piece of writing? What isn't quite there yet?". Then, after a bit of conversation, perhaps the next question is, "Are you moving on or going back to try to strengthen the piece?". Either way, the writer has learned something to carry forward.
As Georgia Heard reminds, "Revision is seeing and reseeing our words and practicing strategies that make a difference in our writing."