Monday, July 31, 2017

August Writing Institute 2017 Day 1 Keynote

I have been highly anticipating this week, since finding out I was accepted to the August Writing Institute. I have followed the learning from previous institutes on Twitter and was really not sure I would ever get the opportunity to be here.

The morning began with an uplifting opening by Lucy Calkins.

The theme of Lucy’s keynote was that writing is something we do as we breathe, as we speak. Writing used to be for the elite: NOW on average we send 125 texts & 75 emails a day. We are all citizen journalists, as we can all be heard through our writing. We teach people to organize the deluge of info coming at us all time. Now the teaching of writing feels less like curriculum and more like a mission.

Why write? Because it helps us author meaning, to make meaning in our lives. We make meaning by understanding that the writing process itself is a story; about a character who has big motivations to tell a story, to find something to say, and the character runs into trouble in the writing process; the fact that writing is hard does not mean we have to scaffold it with (dioramas, etc).

Writing is not easy and should not be. Emptiness is the starting point of writing. Feeling empty handed is part of the writing process. The character has trouble and then gets through it, and thinks, “I’m changing as I write this.”

And lastly writing puts us on the line and it scares us. But by being vulnerable and sharing the hard parts, we gain intimacy, that helps us to bounce forward.

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