Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Writing: It's in the Genes

(Nearly late January??? How did that happen? I guess I can still say Happy New Year. I have until the end of the month, don't I? Okay. Good. Happy New Year!)

Unlike some children, both my kids love to write. School assignments that ask for a paragraph get a page or two. A simple question turns into a thesis.

My youngest, who will be 11 this year, has been writing and illustrating stories since kindergarten. We have stacks and stacks of books she made at school. Pages and pages of drawings of characters that live in her head. There are documents on two home computers, a 3-ring binder, and at least two spiral notebooks filled with her squished-together printing. She loves to talk about her stories, loves to brainstorm with me or her sister. There are two writing contests she's preparing to enter in the next couple of months.

My oldest, soon to be 14 (yikes!), caught the writing bug a little later in her young life. Only within the last year or so has she seriously sat down to put a story on the page that wasn't a school assignment. She even attempted the young writers' version of NaNoMo and asked her Language Arts teacher if it could be part of their classwork/extra credit. The teacher was happy my daughter was writing, but the current curriculum was already full. Creative writing on that scale would have to wait. That didn't stop my daughter. She stuck with it, wrote every day, and I believe completed the 20K word requirement. She is also working on at least two Sci Fi stories and does a little fan fiction here and there. For her research paper in L.A., she is writing about what it takes to get published.

Some of our best times together are when we're discussing one of their stories or something about the craft. It's amazing to see where their imaginations go. (Strange places indeed, but not a shock there.) I love it when we're talking about plot or characterization or pacing or what have you and I see in their eyes the sudden dawning of comprehension. That light bulb moment where it all seems to make sense. They get it. They apply what they've learned to their personal writings as well as assignments.

My kids are not athletic. They aren't social butterflies. For the most part, they aren't "joiners" of activities. They are more introverted and tend to observe rather than participate. In other words, they have the makings of writers. No, not the makings. They ARE writers.

Could a writer mom be more happy? I think not.

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