Saturday, September 08, 2007

Writing

The prompt over at Sunday Scribblings is "writing." I believe that the key to good writing is good reading. I have been a voracious reader since I first learned to read. I feel most satisfied with life when I have a stack of books to read, just waiting for me to immerse myself in another world. The things that I read inform my world view, influence my style, and get me to think in new and innovative ways. I like to talk about what I am reading and I often like to write about what I am reading. So in this way, reading and writing are intimately connected in my mind.

Writing is a big part of my life, important to the way I express and understand myself and a big part of what I do for a living. I am a teacher and this necessarily means that I read my student's writing and work to help them improve their mastery of their thoughts and ideas. Because I teach history and government, I am particularly focused on good analytical writing. I always explain to my students that their goal is to describe and explain something (a fact, an idea, a political or historical development) and then to explain why it matters.

I think that is basically the approach I take to my own writing. I write about something that has happened to me or something that I am feeling and then I try to figure out why it happened; why I feel this way. And even if the meaning of the experience or the event is not explicitly clear, I approach it with an eye toward the "why." For example, I like to occasionally record real-life conversations with JT, my family, and my students. I place those conversations on my blog and think of them like a snapshot of a moment in my life. I don't analyze them explicitly on the blog, but strung together they show a lot about me: my sense of humor, my world view, the daily events of life that give my world meaning. In the end, my own writing is a reflection of the history of my thoughts and my life. And since I am a history teacher, that seems particularly fitting.

13 comments:

Gill said...

"my own writing is a reflection of the history of my thoughts and my life" - I love this, it's so true. I feel that my blog is exactly that.

Becca said...

I love that sentence too, and you are establishing a lovely, well written history with these "life snapshots."

I agree, that reading and writing are vital to one another. Have you read "Reading Like a Writer," by Francine Prose?

Your students are lucky to have a teacher like you :)

Amber said...

I so agree that good writing starts with what we read, and how much.

I also seem to use writing to take a closer look at my life. It is funny what will become clear to me as I am writing.

:)

gautami tripathy said...

Reading is first step towards good writing.

The more one reads, more one assimilates and more one articulates.
I have increased my word power by reading like mad. When I am not working, I am always reading.

Writing reflects our lives. Our thoughts.

Your post has made me ramble!!

:D

Tori said...

Hi Stacy-

Very glad to have found your blog.
I TOTALLY agree with you. Reading is the number one door to writing.
I believe one of the biggest blessings in my life is that I was introduced to books at such a young age and never looked back.

Miss said...

"I believe that the key to good writing is good reading. I have been a voracious reader since I first learned to read. I feel most satisfied with life when I have a stack of books to read, just waiting for me to immerse myself in another world."

I am completely the same way. Glad I started clicking through the Sunday Scribblings participants list so I could read this. :)

--MissMeliss

Ingrid said...

This was a great post. I never thought about why I wrote the way I do, but your words made me think. I majored in history, and I think I approach my blogging in a similar way.

sister AE said...

Hi, Stacy.
I agree that reading (and lots of it) is a good grounding for writing. But some people need to be invited to write (or even pushed a bit) because without the actual doing of it, it can be too intimidated to start. You know, the "I could never do as well as fill-in-the-blank so why bother?" types.

danae sinclair said...

Stacy, great post... thanks for your comments over at my blog too.

I agree that reading is key to writing - read enough and writing becomes intuitive.. and even before that its important to love reading - which is something that can be taught. (My kids and I have always played word games and enjoyed the visual aspects of books even before all that linear ABC stuff comes in... they are all (well, not the baby) hungry for more reading.)

It was quite an inspiring prompt wasn't it?

tumblewords said...

I agree that reading and writing are integral parts of a bigger picture and thoroughly enjoyed reading your post!

Patois said...

You are so dead on about it being a "reflection of the history." We're all writing history here. And I've always enjoyed history, even if that means day-old newspapers.

lisrobbe said...

Reading is essential to becoming a brilliant writer.

Left-handed Trees... said...

I completely agree with what your take on "the blog" is...snapshots of a moment in life. Beautifully said.
Love,
D.