Archive for the ‘#writingwednesday’ Category

the lonely writer

Writing is a solitary hobby. Endless hours sitting at that blasted blinking cursor, in a quiet room, waiting for inspiration to filter through our fingertips, onto the keyboard, and onto the screen. Loving everything we write, and the next day, as if awaking from a hangover, regretting every word combination we ever created. And yet there’s something intensely desirable about it. We all can’t be masochists. So what helps us get by?


I meet with an incredibly talented group of writers once a week, our own personal Writers Guild. One of our best community builders this fall, NaNoWriMo, allowed us to pursue a common goal and cheer one another along, regardless of our place in the journey. We celebrated our progress with an epic hall display, moving our viking ships through the word count sea. Writers would stop by almost every day with an update. Together, we wrote 187,383 words during the month of November. Not too shabby for something they didn’t have to do.

In addition to moving viking ships, we decided to also use a badge system for demonstrating proficiency in each of the major elements of fiction: plot, dialogue, conflict, theme, characterization, point of view, and setting. Writers also earned badges for meeting writing milestones (weekly word count goal, 25K, 50K), plus additional badges for participating in write-ins. Lockers all over the building displayed these badges, affirming yes, I am a writer, and I have a story to tell.

Due to the success of the November NaNo, our writers decided to also participate in Camp NaNo, held annually in April. Instead of earning shield-shaped achievement badges, writers will build their own totem pole with hand-cut (and glued!) animals. Each totem pole will be different, since our writers work at their own pace and determine when they are ready to earn each badge. If writers earn all of the badges, their totem pole will be the same height as their lockers. Plus, it will look pretty awesome, too.

And if you’re wondering what their word count markers will be, they will have both canoes and backpacks, depending on the terrain. More pics and updates to follow.



If teaching AP has, in turn, taught me anything, it’s to pay attention to word choice– connotation, denotation, contranyms (my new favorite teacher geek word this year), homonyms. I love to pick apart language and hyper-analyze what people say, find interesting connections between language and meaning.

project (noun) 

  1. something that is contemplated, devised, or planned; plan; scheme.
  2. a large or major undertaking, especially one involving considerable money, personnel, and equipment.
  3. a specific task of investigation, especially in scholarship.
  4. Education. a supplementary, long-term educational assignment necessitating personal initiative, undertaken by an individual student or a group of students.

project (verb)

  1. to propose, contemplate, or plan.
  2. to throw, cast, or impel forward or onward.
  3. to set forth or calculate (some future thing): They projected the building costs for the next five years.
  4. to throw or cause to fall upon a surface or into space, as a ray of light or a shadow.
  5. to cause (a figure or image) to appear, as on a background.
  6. to regard (something within the mind, as a feeling, thought, or attitude) as having some form of reality outside the mind: He projected a thrilling picture of the party’s future.
  7. to cause to jut out or protrude. | source

One might, in this case, project a project. My five advanced creative writing kiddos did this today. Nine-week projects, self-designed with five checkpoints. The big goals for each are, in essence:

  • a collection of LGBTQIA short stories, all geared toward self-discovery and identity (5-15K words per story)
  • a MG high fantasy novel (30-50K total words)
  • a YA mainstream revision / novel completion (50K+30K=80K+ total words)
  • a YA fantasy / sci-fi novel and a play (12K+20K = 30K+) + (?)
  • two to three completed and revised short stories, ready to submit for publication (5-10K per story)

I am so dorkily excited about these projects because these kiddos are friggin amazing.