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The Writing Process & Why It Matters

Above the board in my classroom, I have a writing process wall.  It goes straight across the top and gives the deceiving impression that writing is easy. 


All you have to do is follow these steps and you will have a beautiful piece of writing. 


But anyone who has ever written anything (all of us) know that this isn’t true. 


Writing does not follow a beautifully straight line. 


Writing comes with twists and turns and all kinds of curves. You have an idea and then you start writing and then you have another idea and then you read it to your mom and then you cross something out and then you go on a walk and then it’s all right there in your mind and then you go to write it down and it doesn’t sound quite right and so you get a snack and try again. 


As Earnest Hemingway said, writing is as easy as sitting at a typewriter and bleeding. 


So, why do I keep the writing process hanging in my classroom? 


It’s because even though there are the twists and turns, there IS something comforting about knowing there is a process out there. And even if you’re not following it perfectly, you can look at the step you are the closest to and work towards getting closer to the next one. 


It gives some method to what can feel like madness. 


I like to put an arrow on the step (or in between the steps) where I hope my students are as we work on pieces. I ask them to evaluate progress by identifying how close they are to that particular step. And then I also make it okay if they aren’t there yet. 


But eventually all writers have deadlines. And usually it comes before we want it to. But without deadlines, we’d stay in the twists and turns forever (or at least a good long time.) And perhaps that is the most valuable part of the writing process: it pushes us to the end.  


Here are a few insights on the writing process that we also shared on our instagram feed recently. We send it to you as support for those moments when you are supporting your writer on a piece of writing. You can calmly help to provide method to what might feel like madness.  It isn’t madness.  It’s just a process–and one well worth taking! 


Best wishes–Carrie and Emily







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