Wednesday, April 18, 2012

When the writer inside them says, "I am here."

As a teacher of creative writing, I at this time of the year always enjoy the moment when my students suddenly look to each other and say, "Your writing has changed."  They mention detailed images, strong word choice, developed characters, etc.

This is what they have been working towards all year and most of them didn't realize it.  They thought they were just getting to write all the time about any idea that came into their heads.  They have grumbled about the redrafts, scrambled for reasons to miss deadlines, gotten excited about a prompt or a day they could just dedicate to writing whatever fell into their heads.  They reminisce about the walks around campus we have taken looking for interesting images skulking about the place in unexpected corners, inside the book room or under the mats by the doors.

wild about writing
At the start of the year, they did not expect they needed to improve or that anyone would notice if they did.  But here it is. That moment when someone finishes reading what he or she wrote in response to the prompt, and then epiphany:  "Your writing has changed -- and mine too."  When this happens, I do not say, "Ah, here is a teaching moment."  I remain silent and listen to the writers inside them say, "I am here."

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