It’s been too long since I have written a blog post. I can blame the cold, cold winter (yeast won’t rise and Polar Vortex, you know?) I can blame getting a new computer (and what is up with Windows 8? Do they not realize that families share a computer workstation? It is oh, too personal!) I can blame disenchantment with my daily job – enough said! I have been thinking and reading about writing , all the while wishing I was a better writer.
An article that has stayed with me poses that we should move from “writer based-prose” to “reader based prose.” Who Are You Writing For? by Ann Bauer (January 17, 2004). Obviously, I’m not there yet. But this advice I am practicing:
My goal was to help my students build a framework for what their readers needed to understand. I taught them to think like strangers to their own lives and relate back story or evidence in a compelling, relevant way. I asked each of them to consider why the reader should care about their writing—what the average person could take, and use, from their work. Why, I challenged them, was their story worth telling?
Then I turned that question around and asked myself.
“Think like strangers to their own lives”; it gives perspective, if not yet wisdom.
How do we teach engagement and inspiration and ah-ha moments? In our writing, our teaching, our daily living? John Warner’s post (January 28, 2014) It’s Impossible to Teach What I Want My students to Learn reminds us that if we are lucky, we can remember moments when we were struck, by beauty, words, ideas …even theorems, proofs and beautiful physics diagrams.
You have to trust that you are in a place where you can make that possible for the students, colleagues, and loved ones in your life.
Note: to John Warner, I use Twitter as a memory aid to keep all the articles I want to think about and re-read (and maybe someday write about!)