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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Quick Writing Group


Recently, Ruth Ayres blogged about writing just because.  Her words gave me pause.  Writing just because. 

I often make time to read just because.  In fact, having recently discovered the joys of the text to voice feature on my kindle, I have been finding all sorts of time to read just because while I iron, while I cook, while I do my hair in the morning.  I am currently reading 3 different books, which is unheard of from this one-book-at-a-time girl.  But reading fills me up.  Reading inspires me.  Reading doesn’t feel like work.

Could I say the same for writing?  While I am not sure I enjoy being in the midst of writing quite the same way I enjoy being in the midst of writing, I think the emotional outcome is much the same: writing fills me up, writing inspires me. 

So, how can I make time to do more of this writing just because? 

Having read Penny Kittle’s Write Beside Them this summer, I immediately thought of the quick writes I do alongside my students.  Although there is so much educational value and purpose behind these quick writes, they also have the feel of just because sort of writing, the feel of play.

I have so many more quick write springboard ideas than I could ever use with my students (especially given the amount of days off, early release days, assembly schedule days, and assessment days lately).  So, I decided to start my very own quick write journal.  One separate from the notebook I keep along with my students.  A sort of project notebook.

I started collecting fodder for these quick writes (just-for-my-entertainment quick writes) in a folder.  Then Ruth posted about having started another writing group.  And it hit me.  Why embark on this quick write project alone? 

I suspected there were other teachers in my building who might enjoy writing just because as well.  I suspected there were other teachers in my building who might be interested in a writing group that didn’t require any work outside of the actual meeting time.   

So, I pitched the idea.  I sent an invite. 

People showed up!  Language arts teachers.  A social studies teacher.  A science teacher.  A special education teacher.

We read a couple of model texts/springboards.  We talked.  We wrote. We shared.

Word spread.  This Friday there will be an even bigger group of writers—writing just because.


  1. There's nothing wrong with writing just because!

  2. Awesome.

    Wish I could be there too.

    I hope you know how cool you are. :)

  3. I want to come! What a great idea--a notebook to write in "just because".

    And Ruth is right. You are cool.

  4. That is so cool! Writing because and creating a group for it. You are amazing! How awesome is it to have non-language arts teachers join in. Wow!

  5. Love this idea for 'us' Christy. I imagine the enthusiasm will only grow & grow. I hope you'll share some of your writing, just because, with us. Thank you!

  6. That sounds like such a fun idea! Have a wonderful time with your just becausers!

  7. I don't know much about surfing, but when I think of you, I get this image of a magnificent female surfer catching the biggest wave and everyone else says "Wow!" And then you get off your surfboard, smile and say "You can do it!" and others believe in themselves and follow you, and everyone has fun. Just because. You inspire.
    I hope this made sense.

  8. Oh wow, that's awesome! I especially love that such a variety of teachers came -- not just L.A. teachers! Wish I could come! (Any chance you'd be interested in posting some of your quick-write prompts for your virtual friends so we can join in too?)

  9. Very cool for sure. I have to say it's one thing to write online and share my writing with "virtual" friends and colleagues. Sure, it was hard at first no knowing who was out there, but there were also no assumptions, no previous knowledge, no history. We learned about each other through our writing. A "real" person writing group would be a little more terrifying for me! However, I'm so happy to hear that there was interest. But, like others mentioned, because you were the one inviting, I can understand. :)

    Happy writing to you and your writing friends!

  10. Such fun today. It's so hard to carve out the time to just write, and so much of my writing is functional. I think Shioban's little girl will be named Grainne. Or not. Who knows what those characters want from me? Certainly not me. They have a life of their own, where I am merely an observer. Thanks for the invite.