a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I have decided to jump toes first into TeachersWrite, a virtual summer writing camp for teachers and librarians hosted by Kate Messner.  As part of this challenge, my goal is to write every day (and make an effort to post nearly as often).  Wednesdays at camp are about Questions & Answers with writer-mentors.  So, I’ve decided to do my own version of reflection here.  I have loads of quotes from writers just waiting to be harvested.  When I first heard Katie Wood Ray speak, she talked about keeping the inspirational words of writers on index cards to teach from.  Wednesday posts throughout the summer will be my version of those index cards.

A writer’s words:

“I don’t know why, but if I’m working on a book, it will cause ideas for two more.  I’ve currently got 130 ideas for books.  I’ll never catch up.”

-Gary Paulsen, source: Author Talk edited by Leonard S.Marcus

What I can learn from these words:

Writing causes new ideas. 
It is okay to have ideas I don’t ever write about—my writing territories list is not a “to do” list, but rather a list of writing possibilities.

How I might approach this teaching point with my 8th graders in writers’ workshop: 

As you write today, notice new ideas that bubble to the surface of your mind.  Be intentional about recording these ideas—add them to your list of writing territories.


  1. This is an awesome idea! Thanks for sharing the quotes and your ideas for using them as teaching points.

  2. I love your approach, Christy, to have some plan for writing for the week, to inspire, get you going. I do find if I write, the words do come, but sometimes there isn't exactly a plan. Good luck with your work. And, happy to see you here!

  3. This was such a neat trail of thinking: from a quote, to your writing life,to your students. It may look daunting to write every day for almost three months, but I think you are going to find out that summer is short when it comes to writing.

  4. What a fantastic idea, thinking, and reflection. Just really cool! Thanks for sharing.