WNY Young Writers' Studio
January 2013 Newsletter
Making a Difference in the New Year
Throughout the fall, Studio writers have learned a great deal about idea development and organization. They've developed strategies for generating meaningful ideas, they've learned how to read mentor text closely in order to "write like" the authors they love, and they've relied on their writer's notebooks for reflection and self-assessment purposes.
Together, we've learned that our best ideas fascinate people with the unexpected, they communicate influential messages that are concrete and focused, they appeal to our emotions, and they are driven by story. They also make a difference to someone else.
We don’t have to transform the entire world in order to make a difference. Crafting a meaningful idea and communicating it well can accomplish a great deal in and of itself, especially when that idea contributes to the solution of a problem or eases someone else's pain.
We don’t have to have experienced extraordinary things in order to be extraordinary writers, either. We can begin by being mindful of the present and making a commitment to capture it so we can reflect on it through a variety of critical lenses. Julia Cameron, author of the Artist’s Way, encourages writers to begin each day with morning pages: three pages of long hand free writing. Ralph Fletcher promotes the use of writer’s notebooks. In Bird by Bird, author Anne Lamott speaks to the power of a simple index card, which she carries in her pocket in order to capture the thoughts and observations that she doesn’t want to forget. Many of us use our iPods and cell phones in similar ways, and there are dozens of apps out there that can support writers in this endeavor.
Daily disciplines like these produce a bounty of ideas that we can think about in complex ways. Adopting purposeful processes for looking at our past and considering our current reality can enable us to uncover worthy writing ideas, to choose them with great intention, and to craft compelling messages that not only engage but serve others. When we do, we change the world. Often, in ways we will never fully realize.
This is the work of our new year at Studio, and we are looking forward to getting underway next weekend. Will you be joining us in making a difference with your words this year?