Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Second post for today

Okay--I have to say that writing every day has made me think of writing more, of seeing events and images as subjects for my writing. I KNOW that about daily writing, but I had gotten out of the habit and had to be pushed back into it. So, thank you, TwoWritingTeachers!
Today my pre-service teachers gave each other feedback on drafts of their reversal essays. As I watched what was happening in the class, I wished I had thought to bring a camera (although it wouldn't have caught the quick laughter or the intense engagement). Since I didn't, I decided to capture what I saw in words (if possible), for a second post for today.

I watch them read and smile to themselves as they enjoy something in the writing. There's even been a chuckle out loud now and then to show how they are enjoying another's writing. How cool is that to be rewarded for your writing through someone else's enjoyment? It's rewarding to ME to see them respond that way. And then I see two heads leaning over one paper, conferencing about how it felt to read the writing, what it made the reader think. Another writer rubs her face, trying to explain to her peers what she was trying to do and what she didn't think was working, and nods her head as they give her suggestions--totally invested in helping each other do the best they can with what they are trying to communicate. That is something we don't often get from our writing, is it, that personal, individual response? That's one thing the SOLS do, though: put us in touch with people who respond to our writing. It's a very good feeling to know how your writing affects a reader. A burst of laughter signals another group's enjoyment of the topic--and encourages the writer to tell more than is in the draft, to extend the experiences recounted there. Students stay past the end of class, talking to each other about their writing: "I really liked your introduction. I could see the story you were telling."I like the parallelism in this passage. It makes the writing move."
In a book by Katie Wood Ray, I had highlighted these two sentences: "Writing work, or indeed any creative endeavor, is just not like other kinds of work in the world. Writing work asks you to go from nothing to something all on your own (unless you're coauthoring or sharing the responsibility), over and over for long stretches of time." This "work" we do together eases that journey from nothing to something as it gives us a chance to see progress and ways to improve. The 'long stretch of time' where we wrestle with our ideas and words might seem just a little shorter when we have an audience help us see our work through their eyes.


  1. love this :) It was a nice class. There is energy and real meaning when you converse about your writing with others.

  2. I appreciated the peer editing session today. I was really struggling and knew there was a problem with my essay but wasn't able to fully pinpoint it until I started talking about it with someone. I was actually thinking today while I was working that I used to be terrified of peer editing days in college, almost to the point of missing class on the day of. I still get a little anxious about people reading my unfinished work, but the rewards far outweigh the fear of potential dings to my pride. :)