Writing Rules

The Slice of Life Story Challenge has made me inspect my writing rules.  As Language Arts teachers, we are very aware of the rules for writing: generate, study mentor texts, plan, draft, revise, revision plans, publish, celebrate.  I value these rules because they make so much sense and are so natural to my writing process and to plans with students.  I methodically take students through these steps each day, and even create my own while they write, but this is writing for them and it suits my Rule #1: Write for them.  Topics and structures written for students have to be very consistent and clear.  The structure must be apparent and one that students can mimic yet one that allows them to grow as writers.  The topic should be personal, but also one that students can relate to which actually leads me to Rule #2.
Rule #2:  Write about a topic.  I have limited myself to my topics.  In a literacy blog that I write for my district, I write about things that happen in my classroom but with a consciousness for application beyond my classroom.  In my classroom I write what the common core dictates though with personal ideas and topics.  In my slices, I try to write about things in my personal life because these are the things I don’t usually take time to write about.  But, I limit myself to the fact that people will read these.  I have to share with the same caliber that I read each day, yet, I have to share something that is important to me because that will translate even if the immediate topic doesn’t.  Do I limit myself with my own rules?
Rule #3:  Use your writing process.  My typical writing process begins on my car ride home thinking about my topics.  When I get home I try to jot down any main ideas.  Typically, I like to write in the morning, but as of late, this time is hard to come by, so I’ve been writing at night.  This writing sits, though, until the next day, so that I can finalize my thinking.  Typically, this is repeated through a week and a writing is published, but as I struggle a bit to write each day (a published piece), my writing process is losing and I fear that so is my writing.
Rule #4:  When in doubt write.  Read people’s writing and borrow writing from them.  Respond to writing to keep yourself writing and try to write what you complimented.  Write a list, write a story, write a comment, an observation, a line, a poem, a caption, but write.  Don’t get caught up in your own rules because writing is a beautiful thing.
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4 thoughts on “Writing Rules

  1. You have created a workable framework within which your writing life may flourish. Such reflection is important. It allows us to identify the essentials- the non negotiables of our writing. A valuable post to guide you and provoke thought in your readers.

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  2. These are great rules. Very thoughtful. Of course, Donald Murray says every piece of writing imposes its own rules. So there’s that too.

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  3. This was a neat piece to read. I feel like your mind was completely opened up for your readers to see – exactly what you were thinking. I watched as you kind of talked yourself out of some of your rules – in favor of free and unrestricted writing at a time that works and fits best with YOU. Love it.

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