Monday, November 20, 2006
Writing is a Gift...
And not just to those of us who want to do it for a living. We talk a lot about the gift of reading these days, but rarely about what we are granting ourselves when we write.
Drama Queen is currently in first grade this year. Last year, of course, the big accomplishment was learning to read. This year, her teacher is adding to the whole reading experience by getting them to WRITE. Often DQ is required to make up sentences using certain words for homework and during class too. But what excites me is the stories she makes them write. Yep, stories. She'll give them a topic and they write a paragraph story on it (usually in computer lab). In honor of Thanksgiving, the latest was "how to cook a turkey".
The teacher isn't concerned with spelling; the kids simply spell words the way they sound to them. Right now, she doesn't care about structure or plot, as long as the sentences make sense. Looking through my daughter's "story" folder on open house night, I was hit with what a gift this woman was giving my daughter. DQ had often made up stories for me. We'd even written some down. But this was a quick, easy, and frequent exercise designed to tap my daughter's budding imagination. She loves it and I love the validation it gives my daughter.
As adults, if you don't write for a career, you may wonder about the appeal of writing during your daily routine. Long before I was a "writer", I infrequently journaled. More and more research is being found to support journaling as a form of therapy. Getting emotions like depression, loss, and sorrow out onto the page can genuinely help many people work through their issues. Confusion is resolved as they "discuss" problems with themselves. For myself, I've found journaling an invaluable tool in calming my mind through daily pages (I've discussed this technique before). Though I'm rarely disciplined enough to do them "daily." :)
There's also a technique that ties into the themes for this time of year. It's called a thankfulness list. Each day right down five things you are thankful for. Naturally this reminds us of the good things in our lives. It also battles the natural pessimism I live with each day. Whether you are going through a rough spot or just want to deepen your appreciation of the season, a thankfulness journal is a great habit for the holiday season (or all year long).
So today, tell me how writing touches your everyday life. Are you a list maker? Do you doodle? Brainstorm projects for work? What are you thankful for this holiday season?
PS. Friday's winner is jeannette! Contact Smarty Pants at firstname.lastname@example.org about claiming your prize.
PPS. Tomorrow we welcome guest blogger Sunny Cole to the Playground!
PPPS. Wednesday American Title III competitor Lindsey Brookes will be guest blogging on Wednesday. We'll learn all about this contest, the "American Idol" of romance writing.