I have an intimate group of four gifted writers twice a week. We share who we are and write about it. Then we share again and help each other write what we really meant. It’s one of the joys of my week, this group. They are shyly starting to trust that I really do want to start where they are and move them to where they want to be. They asked me what the rules of their writing were today and when I told them there were not rules except that it was a true story about themselves. There was a palpable sigh, then one of the girls said, “It’s never like that anymore. I miss writing.”
“But you write every day,” I said.
“We have so many rules and we are supposed to use the same transitional words,” she explained. “It’s like they want 25 essays about the exact same thing. Who wants to read that?”
I couldn’t disagree with her logic. No matter how much we teachers say we are trying to inject life into their writing or follow the researched protocol of the program we are using, perception is reality. So I stopped talking and let them write for 30 full minutes. They shook their hands out and shifted their grips on their pencils. They stopped for a time or two to get some advice about what they were writing. After we wrote, we all shared and I modeled how to talk about the good writing that we were hearing. Writing is so personal and for gifted children who haven’t gotten to share their way of thinking for a long time, this was an experience that changed them. They were chatting up a storm on our way back to their classroom.
“I’m going to start writing down how people talk.”
“I’m going to carry my notebook around more.”
This is their time to be writers who won’t miss a day without their favorite activity.