There are times that I have several weeks worth of ideas waiting for my blog post on Sunday. This week, I have nothing started and no immediate ideas. Even so, I begin writing. Will my nothingness lead to an idea? Will writing about having no ideas eventually spark one?
In actuality, our students often face this dilemma: I don’t know what to write. So instead of sitting and staring at the blank page, we use freewriting to get our pens or pencils moving.
Last week I introduced freewriting to three new classes. As I always do after a first freewrite experience, I asked the students how it felt to freewrite. “Great!” and “Fun!” are the most common responses I receive. But this time there were two answers that I hadn’t heard before. In a grade 4/5 class one student responded, “Challenging.” “Why challenging?” I asked. “Because my mind started going to a difficult topic and I wasn’t sure if I should write about it.” “And? Did you? Did you go there?” He smiled and said, “I did. It was hard but I did it.”
Another student in the same class answered, “Refreshing.” “Why refreshing?” I asked. “I just felt free. I wasn’t worried about getting my words on paper. I just wrote and wrote and wrote more than I ever do.”
So today, when I thought I had nothing to say, I wrote this post. And last week, three new classes of students broke through their hesitation and enjoyed their time writing. How refreshing!