• Top 10 Things Good Writers DO •
 

10.  Master their LANGUAGE. Learn how to use, spell, organize, and punctuate it. People will understand you and take your ideas seriously.

"We are a spectacular, splendid manifestation of
life. We have language..." Lewis Thomas
 

9. Develop the IDEAS they get. What's your 'what-if'? the tale? the mystery? What person, planet, adventure, animal, or discovery do you want to tell about? Now make a plan or storyboard. Outline. Organize. It's a vision thing.

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them."  Henry David Thoreau
 

8.   RESEARCH. The encyclopedia and www are excellent places to begin your search. Librarians can guide you to facts, primary sources, pictures, maps, and quotations that will give your writing sparkle and credibility.

"Faithfulness to the truth of history involves far more than a research... into special facts."  Francis Parkman
 

7. Use their TOOLS. One of the best things about being a writer is that the tools are [a] simple [b] cheap [c] portable. Certainly a computer is useful, but all you really need are words, pens, paper, pencils, erasers, your senses, knowledge, TIME, and a a dictionary.

"I'll make thee glorious by my pen." James Graham
 

6.   Imagine CHARACTERS. Who, what, how, where are they? Who will tell their story? What they will do and feel about all that you will invent to keep them from getting what they want will be the PLOT.

"Tanta stultitia mortalium est: What fools these mortals be." Seneca
 
5.   They're CLEAR and SPECIFIC.

"True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, As those move easiest who have learned to dance." Alexander Pope
 
4.   Write fast, lousy First Drafts. Bang it out. Pay no attention to that critic behind the curtain.

"The first draft is ...where you let it all pour out, and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later."  Anne Lamott
 
3.   EDIT. Cross out. Read it out loud and listen: does it flow? does it sound natural? Streamline. Rewrite. Revise.

"Omit needless words."  E. B. White
 
2.   READ. The more you read, the better you'll write. the more you write, the better you'll read. It is the best way to train your baloney-detector.

"Tis the good reader that makes the good book..." Ralph Waldo Emerson
 

1.   WRITE. Apply the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair and write. If you do this at about the same time everyday, you will train your creativity to kick in. Your muse will know he or she has an appointment with your brain.

"Write a lot and read a lot." Stephen King • absolutely! CH
 

Writing Practices
1.   "The basic unit of writing practice is the timed exercise." Natalie Goldberg

Before you or your students do any writing, warm up with this. These are her rules and they're good ones: a. keep your hand (the one with the pen in it, the pen applied to paper) moving. b. don't cross out c. don't sweat the spelling and punctuation d. lose control e. don't think. f. go for the jugular.

What about? your surroundings or begin with "I remember"… or "I used to"… or

2.   Pass out index cards on which subjects are written: snow … beans … where I'd most like to be…. blue … grandma … war … stars … my favorite time … pie There could be a box of ideas.
3.   Out of a bag of objects take one and describe it – without saying what it is.
4.   Write a scene in which characters talk in ABC dialogue:

"An orange cat walked in the back door this morning."/"Boy oh boy – your cat? The one you thought was lost?"/"Can you believe it? I just about fainted!"/"Dang! Where'd she been?"

5.   Write a story in with yourself as the main character.
6. Now write the same story in a different way: from the point of view of another character, human, pet, or celestial; go from 1st to 3rd person or vice versa; in rhyme; as a comic book, another time period, night, for example.
7. Offer a first line, perhaps from a book already written. Make up the subsequent paragraph or two or three.
8. Invent a character. Have her or him fill out an application with physical stats and biographical info, home planet, family and such + pets, likes, dislikes, obsessions, life changing moments, friends, customary breakfast.
9. What kind of an animal are you? Are you really a horse at heart? or a cat or bird? What kind? If you could be that animal for a while….
10. Make lists: cool or really rotten things to write about • your obsessions: what you love, what you DON'T • your best days • what you want to be and do.
11. With a list of vocabulary or period-specific words write a paragraph.
12. After you've filled a whole notebook with writing practices, you might end up picking out one or some you like best. Revise and develop them.
   
WHY WRITE. 20 BIG FAT REASONS
1. For fun. So why do it when it's no fun? Because of something Richard Peck wrote:,"reading is a discipline before it can be a pleasure." Same goes for writing. He also said, "Books are better than real life, or we wouldn't have them."
2. To learn what you know (M.A.R.Hershey).
3. To see if you can • AMBITION [jealousy unmasked] •
4. Sometimes nobody will listen + sometimes your teacher says you have to write or else...
5. You have something to say - especially if you think you don't.
6. So you can impress people including yourself.
7. It helps when you feel really nuts, mad, good, ferocious, or sane.
8. It's neat to see your writing fill whole pages.
9. It makes you a better reader which makes you a better writer which makes you a better reader and that makes you smarter, more interesting, more awake to the world and books around you which give you more to write about; people might read your writing and their lives will be better because you wrote and so will yours.
10. Office supplies are so great. Smooth white paper. Fast pens.
11. You can talk about writing and reading with other writers and readers.
12. To leave a record of yourself and how you lived and what you thought.
13. It makes your daydreams come alive.
14. It's possible to make a living from it.
15. You almost never get bored. If you do, you write about it then you're not.
16. So you can make sense out of things such as your childhood and other unfair deals.
17. Communication is common ground: being handy with words and ideas is the key to riches seen and unseen.
18. So you can join the timeless, borderless nation of writers of poems, letters, manifestos, epics, odes, bestsellers, unfinished masterpieces, calls to arms & pleas for peace.
19. Writers are admired.
20. IT HELPS YOU PAY ATTENTION TO LIFE