So we were just talking about how to raise writers. Or more importantly how to not raise writers.
I mentioned in this recent post that while there is joy to be found in well ordered, coherent thoughts; there is also a great deal more joy to be found in breaking all the rules of writing. For my own amusement, I put together a list truths that most writers already embrace, and those of us who teach writing (whether formally or informally) also cling to. So here you go.
There is a difference between writing to make your teachers happy and writing to make yourself happy. And in my case, writing to make Jesus happy.
Learning how to satisfy other people’s requirements is fantastic. But really, most teachers would rather you learn how to be so completely compelled by words that everything else fades into the periphery.
Sometimes you can be so consumed by the need to string words together that you can’t eat. Or sleep. That sometimes you can be so overtaken by the need to organize the thoughts in your brain into happy, coherent sentences that you ignore responsibilities and let people down.
(Not that I’d know, ahem.)
That you will have moments where all you can really see and hear is the words that are flowing over your head like Niagra Falls.
Sometimes you just can’t turn the words off, no matter how hard you try. They grab you by the shirt collar and shake you violently until you admit defeat and sit down with a writing tool.
That true writing is not simply answering questions to satisfy a requirement, but answering them in such a way that you leave the reader’s brain swirling with their own thoughts and questions. Swirling and compelling them to pick up a writing tool and put their own words into somewhat coherent thoughts.
That you don’t need to write a best seller, or have a million blog followers to call yourself a writer.
That teaching others to write isn’t just about telling them to write like their hands are on fire, but also writing that way yourself. And letting your kids read those fiery thoughts that caused you to ignore them for hours.
That the writing topic doesn’t necessarily matter, as long as your brain is enjoying chewing it over, other people will probably enjoy reading it as well.
And that’s what it really is to be a writer.