Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bug Bites and Writing Buddies

It think it was Winnie the Pooh who said, "It's so much friendlier with two." When learning something new, it's always nice to have a friend beside you.  Section 20 of Spilling Ink is a short one, dedicated to finding a writing buddy.  It even includes a cute contract that both buddies sign, promising that they will write "x" amount each day and that they will exchange pieces and support each other on a regular schedule.  Pretty brave, huh?

As writing teachers, we need to be our students' writing buddies.  We have to roll up our sleeves and write with them.  They have to know that it's an important enough endeavor that we are willing to struggle alongside them. 

It reminds me of the 20 bug bites with which I am covered right now.  My kids get bug bites all the time. When they muck about in the woods behind our house, bug bites are inevitable, even when they remember the bug spray.  They complain, and my pat response is, "Go find the calamine lotion."  Off they go, to diligently dot themselves with the runny pink potion.

This weekend, I was in the woods with them, finding the perfect trees between which to put their dad's Father's Day hammock.  It was quite an ordeal, but that's another story.  Later on in the day, the itching ensued.  I was miserable.  I drove straight to CVS and bought a wonderful little cortizone stick--- instant, cool relief.  It is a much quicker, less messy, and more convenient remedy than the calamine.

Those bug bites of mine are just like pesky little writing problems our students have.  If we have never struggled with these bug bites ourselves, all we can do is hand them the calamine and hope for the best.


  1. I know what you mean but I don't feel as comfortable in my writing skin as I do in my reading skin. I know without a doubt I am a reader and so do my students. However I know they sense my insecurity with writing. I did better this year every time I asked them to write I wrote along side with them and it seemed to help. I also know my colleagues feel the same way. Until we (teachers) celebrate ourselves as writers we are going to have trouble expecting our students to become practiced writers. I wish I knew the answer I could get rich.

  2. So very true. I wonder why this is. Do you think it's because we were not taught this way ourselves, when we were learning to write? Are we scarred from all the red ink on our pieces?

  3. Probably I don't ever remember being taught as a student to revise or edit. I only remember turning in the final product for a grade. I guess we must learn to move past our fears for our students. I noticed on Twitter that Donalyn Miller expressed self doubt in her writing abilities and she has even published a book - it was nonfiction I think she was doubting her ability to write fiction. If a well read and published author has doubts that does not bode well for me as a mere mortal.