To my non-student friends: You’re welcome to read this post and comment; I’d love to know how you might answer some of these questions.
To my students: While I won’t be responding to all of the writing assignments I give you, I will try from time to time to do them right alongside you. Tonight’s assignment was one I thought I’d enjoy doing quite a bit.
I find that I was 100% correct with that thinking.
Questions from The Academic Writer, pg. 27
Question 1: What are your earliest memories of learning to write?
What I remember most are the Big Chief tablets we had to bring to school; I loved filling the pages with letters as I practiced my penmanship. Writing has always been a tactile experience for me; I love the feel of a pen or pencil against smooth sheets of paper, and I adore the clatter of keys on my keyboard as I bang out sentences. That paper, though–those notebooks with the big spaces between the lines–are the strongest part of my early writing memories.
Question 2: How were reading and writing viewed by your family and friends when you were growing up?
We were encouraged to do both; I recall that I was particularly encouraged to read as much as I wanted, so I did. I was rarely without a book as I was growing up, and my teachers were more than willing to provide me with lists of recommended books if I was casting about for something new to read.
I can remember sitting at the kitchen table with my mother as she helped me write a large project. We used index cards and legal pads–this was before computers, and typewriter ribbon was expensive–and she shared her own writing process with me. I don’t remember what the paper was about, but I do remember filling those pages with words as I wrote and rewrote my drafts. She still starts her writing projects on notepads, her perfect script filling page after page with words.
Question 6: What images come to mind when you hear the term writer?
I must admit that my initial thoughts must seem like Hatlen’s vision: I see a person in a coffee shop with a computer and a cup of something hot and steamy. I realize, though, that my image of a writer is about seeing someone “doing” writing, so the scene easily shifts to other venues and mediums: a woman seated on a blanket in a park, a notepad in her lap as she chews the end of her favorite Bic pen; a small child seated at a kitchen table, illustrating a story with a box of Crayola crayons; a young man seated on the edge of a bridge, his fingers beating out rhythms with a pen over an open spiral notebook.
Question 10: What do you enjoy most about the process of writing? What do you enjoy least?
Most: I love playing around with words. I love having an idea and then just getting it out on paper (real or virtual). I love sharing my writing and reading the writing of others. I love talking with people about their writing.
Least: Editing my own writing is difficult to do; once I get started, I can generally find some joy in it, but it’s hard to convince myself to pick up the “red pen” once I’ve gotten that first draft out on paper.
Question 11: What goals would you like to set for yourself as a writer?
I want to write for at least an hour each day; I’m not counting the “working” writing that I do (responding to emails/blogposts, drafting work documents), but more creative and professional writing. It’s tough to make time todo that sort of writing when I am in the thick of the semester, but I’m much happier when I have the time to do it.