Friday, July 8, 2016

book club day!

Hey all y'all! It's the BigTime Blogging Challenge. I'm writing every day in July to celebrate my blog's three year anniversary! Join me - write your post, link it up with mine, leave some love for blogging friends in the form of comments!

Hello, friends! It's the first of three book club days! Feel free to share about any book you happen to be reading. Or, maybe you're reading what I'm reading, which would be awesome. And, if you don't want to write about a book, link up any kind of writing you'd like :-)

I have been reading Live Writing by Fletcher. I love Ralph Fletcher, are you familiar with him? He was definitely someone who impacted my writing instruction in a profound way. He writes books about writing for kids, he writes fiction and poetry, and he writes teacher PD books.

Love all of these, especially Poetry Matters which is awesome to use with kids to show them the poetry ways!

Okay so Live Writing - it's all about breathing life into your words. He covers many different ways to do this: reading like a writer, building character, voice, conflict, setting, leads, endings...and more! I was particularly struck by voice - it's always been so hard for me to think about and to teach, so I was happy to pick up a few tips that I want to share with you about voice in writing.

On following your passions, Fletcher says, "If you're anything like me, you write with the most voice when you're writing about something you care a lot about." Truth, hands down. Like, if I tried to write a paper on, I don't know...UFOs (which I believe are a crock) then I'm not going to do so well with my voice. Actually, I kinda have this passion that doesn't believe in UFOs, so maybe this isn't a good example. Perhaps a better one would be physics. Not only do I know nothing about it, but I also don't care too much. So voice would be hard to come by on physics. It's so important we let kids write about what they want to, just like we all do here in the blogosphere!

When talking about developing voice, Fletcher reminds us that we have to study it and also write often. He suggests reading about one topic from a few different writers, and that will help you see how different writers bring their words to life differently. Also, when trying to find your own voice, it's helpful to write, and a lot. He says, "The more you write in the notebook, the more your true voice will appear, and the more you will get to know who the real you is. When you write in a notebook you can let go. You can let go of what others might think about your writing. You can let go of any worries about getting graded, and especially, you can let go of judging yourself."

The judging yourself - so so true. I've also been reading Use Your Words: A Myth-Busting No-fear Approach to Writing (book club on this later this month) and that's one of the three problems of writers - worrying about what others will think. Enter Writer's Notebook where you can play around with writing and try things out where no one will see. This is why I think quick writing with kids on a daily or pretty consistent basis is important - once kids (and us adults too) feel successful in our safe spot, we are then willing to try it out more publicly!

The rest of the book had lots of great ideas, but what I realized while I was reading the book was that I'm much more of a NF writer than a fiction writer. I can't recall too many times (if ever) I wrote fiction. I guess memoir, and some poetry, but mostly NF here. Live Writing has lots of tips in the way for fiction writers. But like I said before, all his books are great and I highly recommend them!

Okay so book club returns on the 20th and 30th with Selected Poems (Brooks) and Use Your Words (Deveny). Feel free though to share any books, but if we all do poetry on the 20th, that would be awesome!

What are you reading?
Did you pick up Live Writing?


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