Daily Writing Manifesto

Writers write.

That is a simple truth. Every single book on writing you will ever read will tell you that if you want to be a better writer (or any writer at all), you will find time to write every. single. day.

It doesn’t have to be good writing, it just has to be writing. It does need to be more than just a grocery list or post-it note reminder, though.

Writing is thinking.

When you write through a story or an opinion or a process, you are thinking about that story or opinion or process.  Writing itself is a process, not a product.  My students are sick of my telling them this.

WRITING IS A PROCESS, NOT A PRODUCT, PEOPLE.

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We write every day in my classes. All of my classes: Senior English, Mass Media, and my Freshman Comp course at the Community College.

Each student has a notebook to call his/her own. They put their names on them, they can personalize them.  I encourage them to OWN them. At the high school I collect these notebooks quarterly (once a report card) and just once at the college level.

Each day there is a writing task or strategy projected onto my screen in my classroom. Sometimes it’s a focused- prompt–something I want students to start thinking about because it’s something in the literature or a big theme (today, for instance I am asking them to think of five words that are fairly new to the English language and then choose one to write about because we are going to be learning how to take Cornell Notes during a presentation on the history of the English language. Follow me?)

Sometimes it’s more open because I just want them to brain dump.  I usually use this after a weekend to get their “head in the game” or before we have an essay assignment come up to get their gears turning.

In the beginning, I could tell students didn’t think I was serious about writing for 10 minutes every single day. But now that we are in our third week, it’s starting to sink in that this is the routine.

Come in class, see the WRITE assignment, tardy bell rings, pull out notebook, shut mouth, start writing.

Every day.

Runners run, ballers ball, rappers rap, racers race, dancers dance, gamers game, and writers WRITE.

Football players run different plays so they are not good at only one pass, run, or defensive tactic. Musicians practice different scales and chords so they are not good at only one technique. And writers write in all different voices and tones and styles so that they are not good only at one genre of writing.

Over 90% of my students say they are going on to college after this year, but 100% say they will graduate.  This means they will be going out in to the world and will need to effectively communicate in some form.

They will need to be able to think.

Writing is thinking.

We write to know what we feel and to know what we know. We write to process ideas and solidify arguments. We write to inform. We write to feel.

We write to get it right.

Therefore we write every single day.

We write until we believe we are writers.

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About Katie

Just a small town girl…wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. We write until we believe we are writers..
    That line speaks to me because even after nearly 6 years of doing this blog thing I still do not see myself as a writer. Odd isn’t it. How easy it is for me to label myself with so many other hats, but that one, when used to describe myself, eludes me.

  2. I’m a bad writer because I don’t write every day. I don’t even try. I think this is why I’ve been stuck for a while. I need to unclog by just writing.

    • first of all, you are not a “bad” writer. Secondly, sometimes you need to write without out thinking about the “product” part. For bloggers that means the “publish” button. Coming soon is my Writing is a Process, not a Product post 🙂

  3. YES! I had my sixth graders keep a notebook as well. We wrote every single day! I loved this one, Katie.

  4. Kick in the ass…this is what I needed. Not that it will make my muse end her silence strike, but I’ll try, I promise I’ll try.

    (would you consider sending me the WRITE assignment you use everyday…just to help my creative juices flow?)

    XO

  5. I think you’re making a big difference in those kids’ lives (in addition to all the other writers out there).

  6. I want you to be my kids’ English teacher.
    Both of them.

    Heck. I want you to be MY English teacher.

    Keep it up. Please.
    This is how to EDUCATE.

  7. I love this. I need you to tell me this EVERY SINGLE DAY.

    I probably whined about writing when I was a teen too. Now that I want the time to do it, I grasp for it desperately.

    • I KNOW I whined about all the writing I had to do in high school…especially my senior year. But looking back, it really prepared me for what I do now. And of course now it’s hard to carve out time to write every day because when my students are writing, I am doing attendance, checking grades, etc. All the stuff I don’t want to take time away from class to do!

  8. I love that you make them write every day, and that you give them different prompts and topics to cover. Sometimes it is hard to find inspiration or to write about something different if you are not encouraged to do so. I bet all of those students learn some things about themselves this year.

    • For some kids, they hate it…but they are at least tolerating it. I hope it’s an outlet for some kids…I hope some kids end up looking forward to that 10 minutes a day.

  9. I would so love to take your classes!

  10. You are a gift to the education system, Katie!

  11. Yes. Love this. I’m trying to be more disciplined in my writing practice. Thank you for this beautiful reminder of just how important it is.

    • you are very welcome! My students still don’t get why it’s important…but I hope they do some day. Even if that some day is 10-20 years from now 🙂

  12. I would have LOVED writing in class every day. I loved writing in high school – for assignments or just on my own. (Exams not so much because I could never finish on time.)
    This is awesome, Katie. I love the process over product message – I needed to read that.

    • I think I would have started writing on my own earlier if I had written more in high school. I have a whole post in draft about the process over product idea…I hope I can do it justice!

  13. I love this. It has taken me a long time to feel like a writer. I don’t write every day but I’m getting closer. And the more I do the more I feel worthy of the title writer.

    • It is so sad that you don’t feel worthy of the title. This is why I want my students to write every day. I want them to think of themselves as writers because of the simple fact that they write. Just like you, Stevie. YOU are a writer. Own it! 🙂

  14. We had to keep a journal in senior English & she periodically collected them to make sure we were actually writing SOMETHING! We had a daily question/prompt or we could just write whatever we wanted. At first I despised it then it became my lifeline. Those journals are in a box somewhere with other important stuff I could not ear to part with. I think I need to start writing daily whether or not I hit publish.

    • I JUST found my binder from 12th grade English!! I brought it to school and my students now think I am a hoarder 🙂 And yes…writing daily is so important. It’s the process, not the product (hitting publish for us bloggers) that is what is important.

  15. Katie, employers nationwide are applauding you. Seriously, we need to be turning out students who can write, and you’re correct–the only way to get better at it is to write.

    Loved this post!

  16. I want to be your student. You’re so PASSIONATE.

  17. When my son grows up, I hope that he has a teacher like you…you see the whole picture. Not just a job, but you’re molding a mind to open and bloom…and…just be aware of your self…Love you and all that you do.

    • Thanks, Kim! Now see, you guys just have to move to ‘merica all the way over to this side of the mitten and then i can be C’s teacher! I mean, I teach high school seniors…so you guys have PLENTY of time to make that happen 🙂

  18. Thumbs up!

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