If You’re Trying to Teach Kids How to Write…A Five-item Q and A

If You’re Trying to Teach Kids How to Write, You’ve Gotta Have This Book is one of the books I’ve been revisiting.

I probably never turned to page 20 when I used it for teaching, but the author insisted that we readers [i.e. teachers] take an inventory of ourselves as writers.

Fair enough…

Here were the questions she posed:

1. Do you like writing?

I absolutely do like writing, but I’m probably in a large club of writers who prefer the thrill of first-draftish writing–getting the ideas on paper. I also prefer pen-and-notebook to composing on a screen.

2. Do you think writing is hard, or easy, or both?

Writing is most certainly both. As I stated above, I do like first drafts, but it seems when it’s revision time, the hateful editor creeps in with not just nasty comments about word choice, etc. but more than a few intimations that my whole project–no matter how miniscule–is of questionable value. That’s when writing is hard. It’s also annoyingly difficult when a version from two weeks ago sounds better than what is currently on the screen.

3. How do you feel about yourself as a writer?

I don’t work hard enough. I don’t read enough. I don’t work past first draft level enough. Enough [catching the theme here?] said.

4. Have you grown as a writer in the past five years? How?

In some ways, I have grown as a writer. For one, posting this Q. and A. is a sign of growth. Working from resources like Jeff Goins’ You Are a Writer, Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work, and Mark Levy’s Accidental Genius shows I’m taking this all more seriously.

5. Can you identify your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?

Along with the shortcomings mentioned in answer #3, I get bogged down with muddy middles and I let resistance waylay me far too often. [Sorry, S Pressfield! I’ll keep working on that.]

Strengths–I think I’ve come up with interesting premises for stories. And I’ve been told my dialogue isn’t bad.

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