While I have not in the past done these daily writing exercises with my students, this semester I plan to do that and share them with the students (and any readers of TCE). These will all be identified as DWme in the post title. However, mine will be written originally on computer and not by hand, because I will not keep it up if I have to write it by hand and transcribe it.
This first one I did not write down ahead of time and I am attempting to recreate the answers I gave in response to a student asking if I would share my own answers with the class. Therefore the answers will be incomplete and may have a focus I would not give to thoughtful, integrated writing. However, since part of the point of the Daily Writing exercises is to get the brain moving, they aren’t usually complete and thoughtful, so that means that these immediate responses are probably more like my students’ answers than the future DWme posts will be.
What kinds of writing have you done? What kind was most enjoyable?
For some reason, perhaps because I was thinking of their Daily Writing, I was thinking of this as more as assigned writing. I did not consciously do that, but there is no mention here of the complete novel and two partial novels I have written. I also didn’t mention letters, though for several years i wrote hundreds, perhaps even thousands of letters a year.
syllabi and assignments
I told them I have lots of publications.
poems, including video poems
What habits of writing do you have? A trick? A place? A medium (pen or computer)? Background music? Time?
I usually write first with a pen, thinking through things and getting ideas. Then, once I’ve primed the pump so to speak, I pull out my computer and start writing.
If I really can’t think of anything, I will start on my computer and begin with “I can’t figure out what to write about xx. I know this and this…”
What scares you most about writing?
I am most afraid that I don’t do it well, that my writing won’t be good enough.
I turned in a chapter for a book that I really want to be published in, but I am nervous about the chapter. What if the editor hates it? These particular chapters are supposed to come back to the submitters with R&R instructions. What if mine is so bad, that she doesn’t even offer me the opportunity to rewrite it?
I was in bed the evening of the day the R&R instructions were supposed to arrive and I couldn’t go to sleep without getting back up to check my computer and see if something had come from the editor.
Even professional writers, and I am a professional writer because part of my job is to write and because I have been paid for some of my publications, feel inadequate and worry about their writing.
What (potential) benefits do you see to writing?
Obviously I am an English teacher and I think that good writing is essential to succeed in college and in the work world. In fact, if you are an accounting major and are thinking you won’t have to write, I was recently informed that one of the internships in accounting that a student here did requires writing. After the first assigned writing, if the intern does a good job, the responsibilities of the intern are increased and they are given “real” work, work that is more in line with what they are actually hoping to do in the future full-time. If the first assigned writing is not done well, the intern is relegated to grunt work for the internship (which used to be the best an intern could hope for anyway).
However, I also know of another benefit that you may not have considered. When I first met my future husband, we had a long conversation about some interesting things, but then we were interrupted, finals happened and we left school. I wrote him a letter telling him what other things I had intended to say about our conversation topics and then he wrote me back the longest writing he had ever done, giving me his responses to the topics we had conversed on that he hadn’t finished with.
Eventually we were married.
So sometimes writing gets you romance.
I realized while typing these out that I did not answer all the questions. However students won’t tell me everything they know in a few minutes either and even a fast writer might not get it all done, so I am okay with that.