Writing With My Students Inspires Me

Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

During the years I taught English composition at a local university, I frequently gave my students writing prompts. The prompts were never about grades or finished products. They were all about getting creative juices going and developing the habit of writing.

Wanting to model the value of writing practice, I always worked on the prompts along with my students. Afterward, volunteers shared their work, and I did, too. My students’ imaginations inspired me, and they seemed to enjoy their teacher’s attempts at improvisational “off-the-cuff” writing as well.

Now that I’m writing full-time, my focus has mostly been on my works-in-progress. Since I stepped away from college teaching, the connection to sharing improvisational writing with others has been largely missing from my life.

Recently, however, I’ve been working with a gifted thirteen-year-old writer at the Louisville Academy of Fine Arts. She’s working on a novel, and we spend some of our class time reviewing her work. In our sessions, I also challenge her with writing prompts. As she works on them, I scribble away as well.

Then we share what we’ve written. I’m always in a state of wonder at her fresh ideas and the richness of her work. And I surprise myself at what I come up with when I’m not worried about producing something for publication. We’re just writing!

The other day, I turned to her and said, “This is fun, isn’t it?”

Her whole face lit up as she said, “It is!”

There is such pleasure in “just writing,” especially with wonderful students. I highly recommend it!




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