Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Who, Me? A Writer?

When I first learned of NCTE's efforts to establish a National Day on Writing, I thought it made perfect sense.

Of course a national organization devoted to literacy education would want to celebrate writing. NCTE has a long history of advocating for writing instruction, especially in the schools.

But what really got me excited about the National Day is when I started thinking about how it could have an impact in our everyday lives-- outside the world of education. Full disclosure: I'm not a teacher. I don't have a degree in English or Education. But I write every day.

As an NCTE staff member, I write for work-- marketing copy, reports, correspondence with members and colleagues, etc.

But I quickly realized that I write just as much in my "real life" too:

I write almost daily to my "email circle" -- a group of geographically scattered friends who keep in touch via the "reply to all" function in email.

I write blog posts and comments. I send IMs to friends and colleagues. I update my Facebook status. I send the occasional tweet. My friends and family know I'm more likely to respond to a text message than to a voice mail.

Every once in a while, I'll even sit down and write letters and cards—by hand!

Through cataloging the types of writing I do on a daily basis, I realized there were plenty of ways I could take off my "staff hat" and participate in the National Day on Writing-- not as an NCTE employee, but as a person, a citizen, a writer!

Sure, I can simply contribute a blog post or a short story to the National Gallery of Writing, but I could also take it a step further and create Local Partner Galleries for some of my groups/networks.

Some quick ideas include creating Galleries for:

  • My e-mail circle-- We could compile our favorite (and appropriate!) emails and post them as a testament to our enduring friendship.
  • My family-- I could invite family members to share stories, photos, slideshows, etc. in a Local Gallery chronicling our family history in celebration of my grandmother's 90th birthday.
  • My book group— We could encourage group members to contribute pieces on favorite/least favorite books, lists of books read, etc.
  • My exercise buddies-- We could each contribute a piece of writing (training logs, "I don't feel like working out today" emails, healthy recipies) that chronicle the highs and lows of weight loss and exercise.
  • My colleagues-- NCTE staff could share their work as writers, either personal or professional.

The possibilities are truly endless.

How do you write in your everyday life? What groups/projects are you involved in (both in and out of school) that you might want to commemorate with a Local Partner Gallery?

Leave your suggestions in the comments. Together, let’s brainstorm the countless ways we can celebrate writing in our everyday lives.


For more information on how to start a Local Partner Gallery, visit www.ncte.org/action/dayonwriting.


kcjayhawk said...

i love the idea of a gallery for a book group. i feel like i'm always searching for a new author.
great ideas!

Nan said...

Your post really made me think about myself as a writer: as a teacher, I write lesson plans; as a mom, I write letters to school; as a member of a community group, I write reports and newsletter copy ... the possibilities are endless! Thanks for pushing me to be so reflective.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this Cari! These are great ideas. To echo Nan's comments, your post definitely encourages us to reflect back on how many ways we use writing to communicate across all of the places and spaces in our lives....

I hope to see your writing again in the Inbox blog!