It’s the National Day on Writing. Which means one thing: it’s time to consider why we write, what we write, and what writing does for our lives. To celebrate the event, we’ve put together a roundup from our bloggers, who describe why they put pens to paper–or fingers to keyboards.
Don’t just read! When you’re done with this post, add to the conversation on Twitter with #WhyIWrite. And keep writing!
How Writing Helps Us Work Out Ideas
In our student support office, we always brainstorm ways to reach our kids who are not successful with the curriculum. Often, one of us will say something and the others will say, “Oooh! Write that down.” That’s become code for, That’s a great idea and I want to know more about it. You should continue thinking about that and writing about it so we can all understand it better. We’ve taken to saying it so often, in fact, that now it’s usually said with a smirk or a laugh. But, “Ooh! Write that down” is #WhyIWrite. I write to figure things out. When I’m writing, I’m thinking on paper and challenging what I thought I knew. Usually, halfway through a reflection about a lesson, my writing leads me to understand what just happened–or what could happen–in a totally different way. – Hattie Maguire
Remembering the Great Ketchup Incidents
I write because I love people. I love our humanity, our fragility, and our inherent weirdness. I love the way we all have stories that we keep tucked away, and I love realizing the potential of those stories. My students present me with endless opportunities for stories. I once had an eighth grade boy who, at lunch, would stash french fries in one pocket and ketchup in the other. Then, when his 6th hour teacher wasn’t looking, he’d dip his fries in his ketchup pocket and have himself a little afternoon snack. I mean, that’s gold, isn’t it? I swear one day it’ll end up in a book I write. It has to. – Megan Kortlandt
Writing Makes Us Less Alone
I have written for as long as I can remember: letters, poetry, stories. I write to process my life; to express deep emotion, be it grief or joy. I write when I feel passionate about a subject and I need to get my thoughts on paper. I write when I need to make sense of things–long, rambling writings that I find often end at the place where I truly need to begin. Writing can freeze a moment in time and capture the sights, sounds, and feelings that were present and not present. Writing taps the emotions of the writer, and if done skillfully, the reader as well. Writing is both deeply personal and all about connection: the unspoken hope that someone, somewhere, feels the way we do, and through this connection there will be understanding, acknowledgement, and validation of our experience. – Beth Rogers
Why Our Writing Helps Us Understand Students
I write to notice the quiet or not-so-quiet resistant writer who may usually go unnoticed. I write to uncover nuance–to see what’s buried beneath the hard surface of a reluctant writer. I write to discover the reason why that writer won’t write–or worse, thinks she can’t write. I write to clarify and extend my thinking about why that writer won’t write (and it’s usually not because she’s lazy, but because writing is hard). I write so that my students can write–so that they, too, can discover their processes, their voices, and their values. – Lauren Nizol
I write this blog to stay connected to my teaching profession while taking time to be a stay-at-home mom to my daughter. I spend a lot of time writing and revising and thinking about what I will write on this blog, because I have the promise of an audience. Sometimes I write a post because there is a deadline to meet. Sometimes I write because I’m excited to share an idea or process that has worked for me in the classroom. I try to write about a topic that makes me passionate. – Caroline Thompson
Seizing the Chance to Live Life–on Paper
The pressure to write immediately gives me writer’s block. And yet, my best writing comes forth when I am under the gun, the anxiety has built, the emotions are at the surface. In this way, I consider myself as an annual–flower, that is. Annuals are truly under the gun. They have a short, summer-long opportunity to bloom, burst, and make themselves present and seen. Unlike perennials, they do not have year after year to try again. I, too, often feel that life is rushed. But writing lets me establish those roots. – Tina Luchow
Practice What You Preach, Teachers
When it goes well, there’s a satisfaction to it. A sense of accomplishment that follows a decent sentence, or seeing an idea take shape and become clear on the page.
I write because, although I love seeing someone else perfectly express something that I’ve thought or felt and haven’t been able to express, I’m a little jealous and regret if I didn’t even try.
I write because I can’t sing or dance.
I write because I teach writing. I can’t in good conscience ask my students to take risks and put their ideas on paper unless I’m willing to take that same leap. I teach that writing isn’t always about the writing itself but about the habits of writers.
I write because if I don’t get it out my head, I can’t forget it and move on. I don’t believe something happened until I make it real by writing about it.
I write because: Something happened and it matters.
I write because: I still miss her, every day, and can’t get over it, because to get over it is to forget. And I don’t want to forget.
I write because: Those boys fill my heart and she makes ask how I got so lucky. – Rick Kreinbring