In less than six months, I will be in front of a classroom of seventh graders (yikes!) and will be responsible for teaching these students how to craft writing of their own.
It is my personal belief and philosophy that writing should be made enjoyable for students as often as possible, while still maintaining a classroom of high rigor.
I have found in my own personal writing that having a set of ‘loose rules’ to think about while in any stage of writing has helped me write more confidently and has helped me produce higher quality work.
Here, I have compiled my Top Ten Rules For Writing to both remind myself how to create my best writing as well as to share with my students to help them become better writers as well.
Rule #1: Be like Shia Laebouf: Just Do It!
Yesterday you said tomorrow. Just sit down and write. If you wait until inspiration strikes you or you have extra time in your day, you will never write a word.
Rule #2: Start with a Shitty First Draft
Just get words down. It doesn’t matter what comes out – you might delete every word of your first draft, but allow yourself the time to just get out your ideas without the worry of it not being good enough. You may even have a strike of genius in your rambling.
Rule #3: Mentor Texts are Your Friends
You are not alone – people all over the world have written amazing things that are just waiting to be discovered. Do some research and you can learn tons about how to improve your writing.
Rule #4: Write about the things you think you should be over.
If you’re still thinking about it and if it still bothers you, it is worth your time to write about it.
Rule #5: Don’t be too ‘flowery’ with your writing.
Be detailed, but say what you need to say to get your point across and move on. Don’t bog your reader down with unnecessary extras.
Rule #6: Revise with abandon.
If you come to the point where you aren’t feeling confident in your writing or it just isn’t working, don’t hesitate to chop it up. Erase whatever isn’t working and try again.
Rule #7: Trust Yourself – Be Yourself.
Remember who you are no matter what you are writing and stick to it. Don’t try to sound like someone else when you write – it will not be authentic. Trust that your voice is all you need.
Rule #8: Share your writing.
Be proud of what you have created! Ask for feedback from trusted peers, bounce ideas around, publish your work when you feel confident. Don’t keep your writing to yourself.
Rule #9: “Shakespeare Didn’t Pole Vault”
No, he certainly did not. So he couldn’t write about pole vaulting as effectively as someone who had grown up pole vaulting. Find what your pole vaulting is. Find what only you are an expert on and write about it. Share your story because it is completely unique and no one else could write it the same way.
Rule #10: Never stop writing.
Writing doesn’t end when you finish one particular project. There will always be something to write next – even if it’s not serious. Take the time to write a little every day and perfect your craft.