We've spent the past couple of weeks encouraging writing friends to buy our Writing Station in the name of keeping young writers organized.
And YES this is a good idea–a place for everything and everything in its place. Instead of searching for a pencil, the stapler, or wondering where the notebook went, give it all a place to live and create a space for making writing happen.
But here’s an important truth about making writing happen: it is going to be messy. It just is. No matter how beautifully we teach it or set things up, it is nearly impossible for anyone to write something that follows a nice, neat line from draft to final copy.
Instead, writing (metaphorically) looks a lot like this:
You get an idea and try it out. It isn’t quite right so you cross it out. You get another idea and try it again. You test it out and make more changes. You read the piece so far aloud and wonder how to make the lead better. Then another idea floats through your mind and you jot it down so you won’t forget . . . .
It’s just the messy reality of creating.
But when we are in the business of raising writers, we know not to be frustrated or concerned when we find story starts littered about and stacks of notebooks with half written pages buried in the toy room. In fact, this crazy writing “mess” is a good sign–even the best sign.
It means our home has writers at work.
And as tempting as it is to de-clutter and recycle, we highly recommend you rejoice and live in the mess for awhile.
It’s the same reason music teachers suggest you don’t put the violin away. Having it out on display instead of packed up in its case means it is always within reach. Practicing, therefore, requires a little less effort.
Likewise, when children are surrounded by writing materials, we take away a little bit of the effort and make writing more accessible. This aspiration speaks to the need for BOTH writing organization so they can find things and the writing mess so they can be free to create.
Both are beautiful things.