Community: The Key to Unpacking Writing Baggage


Before we begin, think back on your own writing history.

Are your memories of writing in your younger years happy ones? Did positive experiences form the foundation of the writer you’ve become today?

Or, are those memories ones that you would rather forget? Did you learn about the power of the red pen from the writing that was returned to you with every mistake circled, every flaw pointed out?

Like it or not, we all carry baggage around with us from our own past in regards to writing.

Sometimes that baggage is light and easy to move. Other times, it is not.

How about your students?

What kind of writing baggage are they carrying around?

This year, how will you help them unpack that writing baggage so they can enjoy their stay while in your classroom?

Creating a Writing Community

One of the best ways to help students unload their writing baggage is through the writing community you create in your classroom.

As writers, sharing our writing with others is hard. We may worry that our words and ideas (and we) will be rejected. We look around and feel we are not as good as other writers. We may still carry wounds of times that our words were treated badly by others.

The risk of any of these things happening again is often so great that it’s easier to come up with excuses and poor attempts at writing.