The Gifts That Bring Me Back to Writing

Donald Graves tells us in All Children Can Write, "Four essentials to a successful writing-process program are described: the adequate provision of time (at least 4 days per week), child choice of writing topic, response to child meaning, and the establishment of a community of learners."  

The same is true for adult writers.  This week I celebrate writing.

For the last week and a half, I've had the opportunity to participate in the summer institute of the Columbus Area Writing Project.  It's been exactly what I needed as a writer.  For the last year, my writing life has been quiet.  I allowed the joy I find in writing slip away from me.  And in its place I let busyness and completion of projects take over.

The summer institute invites me to slow down and get reacquainted with my writing life.    We meet in the Martha King Center at OSU.  Such great educators have filled this space, their legacy woos me back into  writing.  The back walls are lined with tall dark bookshelves.  Picture books with worn covers spill out of the shelves while chapter books lean haphazardly against each other, waiting to be picked up and lingered over.  Our tables meet up in a rectangle, allowing all of us to participate in conversation.  We each come with our preferred writing needs...spiral bound notebooks, computers, tablets, stacks of books, pens and pencils.  So much to savor.

Time and choice open up new possibilities.  Two hours to write?  To write about anything I want? I've craved time to write about what I want to write.

Two. Whole. Hours.

Anything. I. Want.

Right away, I can feel myself unwind, and energy begins to seep into my being.    Writing brings me joy.  It brings me comfort.  It allows me to explore my thinking.  I  use it to sort through my feelings and confusions.  Writing fills a space for me like no other.

And then there are the people.  Each person answers the call to write and to be there for the other writers.  The people provide the gift of connection.    We are a community of teachers who write.  We give each other feedback.  We ask questions.  We cheer each other on and we think about our young writers back at school.  We learn not only from our own writing, but from the others as well.

Our 3 day retreat at Kenyon College begins to build community.

This week I celebrate the Columbus Area Writing Project and the people who come to learn and write every day.  Thank you Ruth Ayres for providing this space to share our celebrations.  Please visit Ruth's site to read about other celebrations. 


  1. It seems like many of us ae being lucky to find something like this for renewal this summer. Look forward to more of your writing.

  2. Wonderful that you had this pleasure, Julie. It's never better than to be with others who love writing!

  3. You write so wonderfully about the summer institute and your writing time. I can feel how happy this made you.

  4. "Time and choice open up new possibilities."
    This post is what I needed.
    I need to sit and write
    "Anything. I. Want."

  5. Yes! Time to write is a worthy celebration...especially when it's YOU collecting words!

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