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?

Angel

PS. Friday's winner is jeannette! Contact Smarty Pants at smartypants@writingplayground.com 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.

12 comments:

Smarty Pants said...

Writing is my life. I write 9 hours a day at work. I come home and write in the evenings. If I'm not writing a book, I'm writing an email or a blog, journaling in my scrapbooks or making a shopping list. When I'm not writing, I'm doodling. My work notebooks are graffiti covered. I draw as a second hobby.

How else would I have developed carpal tunnel at age 22?

SP

robynl said...

I am a 'To Do' babe; I make 'to do' lists all the time and I love when I can cross some items off the list. When I accomplish something that wasn't on the list I put it on the list so I can cross it off, LOL.
I am thankful for freedom, health, family, work, dh.

Problem Child said...

Shall I tell you how many times students tell me "But I don't need to write." They think because they plan to be engineers or accountants that writing is not a skill they need. As a teacher, this, of course, makes me want to cry (and that attitude doesn't help their grades much either!).

I'm so glad DQ's teacher is starting her class on actual writing and composition. I get students in my classes every semester who can't compose a sentence to save their souls--much less one that carries any kind of meaning.

Right now I'm very thankful I'm not teaching. LOL. I reached the burn-out frustration point and my attitude sucks. Students everywhere are probably very lucky....

ChristyJan said...

I'm not only a "to do" list maker I'm a "honey do" list maker. Although, my list gets done alot quicker and with a happier attitude. LOL

As I'm rushing around (I just took a break) trying to get everything ready for Thanksgiving I'm reminded of how thankful I am for all of my modern conveniences.

Beth said...

I'm a list person. I also can't imagine a world without reading its my number one way to relax.
I'm thankful for my health and the health of my family and friends. Two years ago on Christmas eve I ended up in the emergency room turns out I had a very large kidney stone. Took 11 out patient surgeries but hey that sucker is gone and I don't ever want them back

Maureen said...

Writing things down just help me to remember them so I'll make lists just to get things straight in my mind but I might not even look at the list once I've made it.

Playground Monitor said...

Obviously I write for more than sheer enjoyment. I've actually made money from it this year. Yay me! But most of the time it's fun and satisfies some need deep inside to create something of my own.

I'm a definite list maker and somewhat of a doodler. There are at least half a dozen note pads on my desk for lists and doodling. There's a magnetic shopping list pad on the front of my refrigerator and I also have a note pad and pen in my nightstand drawer for those middle-of-the-night brain flashes.

I have SO much to be thankful for this year -- a happy, healthy family, a beautiful granddaughter, a budding writing career, lots of friends all over the world and the Playfriends who forget I'm old enough to be their mother and include me in all their escapades. :grin:

PM

Lois said...

All of my writing is really just email or forum/blog entries! LOL :)

Lois

Angel said...

Today in the town where most of us live, there was a school bus accident that injured over 30 students, killing 3. I can honestly say that I'm thankful my family is safe and healthy today!!!

Angel

Playground Monitor said...

I first heard about the accident this morning as I left the grocery store. I came home and turned on the television and have watched the coverage off and on all afternoon. It's so tragic.

Add in that a friend and fellow RWA chapter mate's husband died yesterday and it's just been a bummer of a day.

But things like this just make you thankful for every little blessing in your life.

PM

CrystalG said...

I am a big list maker. My desk is covered with post-it notes.
I am thank for my family, friends and my health.

Meljprincess said...

I make lists all the time. Otherwise I'd forget what I have to do.

Congrats, Jeannette!

I'm thankful for my cat, my family, all my author friends, my roommate...I have a lot to be thankful for!