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Recently, I spoke to a fourth grade class about writing, as the voice of experience, the revered published author.  But that night, I did not feel revered and satisfied.  I felt frustrated.

I'd failed to reach them, I thought.  They seemed to have no idea what significance writing played in their lives.  So, born out of deep agitation and regret, the following is what I WISH I'd said to that fourth grade class.  Here are the ten truths about writing that I now share with students and teachers, whether they aspire to be writers or not:

1)  Writing is a LIFE skill.for everyone!

You don't have to want to be a published writer to need to know how to write.  Every job requires some writing.

Even scientists, like my husband, who go into science because they work better with numbers and concepts than words HAVE to write. Data, quarterly progress reports, correspondence, memos, and so on.

The same is true of auto mechanics, realtors, salespeople, gardeners, managers, nurses and especially teachers and lawyers.

2)  Anybody can write.
You don't have to have a "gift" for writing - just be willing to play with words.  A need to express yourself on paper helps, but it's not necessary.  Practice is more important than anything.  Keep doing it.  Writing gets easier the more you do it and you get better at it.  It also helps if you are willing to use your imagination.
3)    Ideas are easy - easier than you think.
Ideas are all around us:  at home, in school, the neighborhood, in sports, in the air, across the country, when we travel, in newspapers and magazines, from our memories, from our imaginations and fantasies.
It's the EXECUTION, the time and effort it takes to expand the idea and to write it into a story or poem or piece worth sharing that is the hard thing.
4)  Writing is NOT easy.
Who said it's supposed to be?    It's like Edison's "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration."  Writing is a lot of work-for all of us!  It's 1% idea and 99% fretting, stewing, selecting, discarding, excitement, disappointment, perseverance and not giving up.ever.
5)   Writing is a lot of fun!
It's like a puzzle, a mystery - it's full of surprises! You start out in one direction and find yourself heading a completely different way.  If you're writing fiction, your characters do all kinds of things and react in ways you don't expect.  Let them!  Write it down.

6)  It always comes out perfect the first time - NOT!!!!!!

Writers are rewriters.over and over and over again.  It never comes out perfect the first time - ALL writers must do multiple drafts, critiques, another draft, put it away, do another draft, another critique.it's only finished when handed in to the teacher, or in my case, finally approved by the editor and published.
7)  Writing is therapeutic.
It can make you feel better and help you think.  Ideas and feelings that you never knew you had suddenly pop up on paper!

Whenever you have a problem or you're confused about life, writing is a wonderful way of thinking silently to yourself.  Of gaining perspective. Of capturing that fleeting feeling on paper.

By pondering your problem through writing, it leads to understanding.  You realize all sorts of things that you wouldn't of if you hadn't taken the time to write them down.  One thought leads to others and there is DISCOVERY.

By venting on paper, you get your frustrations out without hurting other people's feelings.

By capturing your ecstatic moments on paper, you've recorded your joy which will make you feel better in the times when life isn't going as well.

8)  You are what you write.
Your choice of topics or the angle you take on a given topic reveals your interests, your attitudes and beliefs, how you view life.  Writing helps you discover more about yourself and life.  When we start writing, we often don't even know that we are thinking or feeling something until it suddenly appears in front of us.
9)  Writing exercises your CURIOSITY.
You write to find out what happens next, or to delve more deeply into a subject or to uncover a new slant or new understanding of a topic.  Let your mind wander and write down where it goes.  List all the topics that interest you, that you've ever wondered about, and you're sure to find your next story in there.
10)  Writing is INDIVIDUAL.
 How you express yourself is as individual as your fingerprints. Which words we choose and how we arrange them is unique. Given one topic, there will be as many different treatments of it as there are writers.

 THAT'S what makes writing so entertaining and fascinating!!!!

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