If you've read any of my posts on the main page, you know that I find running to be such an analogy for writing and teaching writing. Let me explain.
Running distances is hard. For me, very hard. I am not fast, nor does running come easily. But, for some crazy reason, I absolutely love to run. Even my most challenging, least successful runs provide me with the physical and mental satisfaction of a job well done. And, even more importantly, I consider myself a runner. I have the mental image of myself as someone who runs. Not walks. Not even jogs. But runs.
Let me say it again. I am not fast. Many of my runs are difficult. I sometimes feel like giving up.
But I don't give up.
I lace up my shoes 3-4 times a week and go out there. I send my thoughts out ahead of me and chase them down the trail. And every once in a while, magic happens. The run is easy. I feel fast and free. My breath comes naturally. And I feel like I'm flying. That is why I keep trying. Runners don't give up.
In my opinion, it is all about the effort. The steps forward. Literally. They may be small and seem insignificant in the moment. But at the end of the road, say 13.1 miles of road, all of those difficult small steps add up to something big. Something accomplished. Something significant.
I have this analogy in my heart every single day that I work with students in writing. From the youngest kindergartners to the fifth graders getting close to middle school, my teaching focuses on building their ability to think like writers, even when the work is so hard and seems so insignificant. Writing is so layered, there are so many parts to the process. Student authors may struggle with some or all of the pieces of writing. But despite the struggle, I want every student to consider himself or herself a writer.
Our job as writing instructors is to coach them through the struggles. To celebrate the baby steps they make on a daily basis and remind them that there is a finish line up ahead. And on those days when the writing is easy for them, when the writing is fast and free, when the thoughts come naturally, and they feel like they're flying...CELEBRATE!! Give them a fist bump! Share their pride!
Remind those writers, there will be good writing days and hard writing days.
But, writers don't give up. #allkidscanwrite