Try This! - Write About Yourself as a Writer

From JoEllen McCarthy:

I write to capture memories and moments.  I write off of lines, books, photographs and moments.  Digital images. Pages of a book. Pictures in my mind.  I write about both my personal and my professional life, and I realize that I tweet a lot of my writing ideas too.  

I write to reflect and to hold onto my thinking, and I often find myself talking back to text. When I walk through the pages of my notebooks, I am walking through my life.  

Reflecting on my writing life is its own notebook idea.  If you are a person who writes regularly, you can take time to revisit, think, and write about what you write about and how you do it.

I track a lot of my thinking on devices.  Here is a list of what my notes pages look like.  I can see what my big topics when I look at these notes:

Click to Enlarge this Notes Page

I also reread my paper notebook.  Below you can read my list of the kinds of things I keep in this notebook. 

Click to Enlarge this Notebook Page 

Try this. Write a list of what you write about.  Donald Murray said, “Our writing usually boils down to two or three things.”  

Reflect on your list.  Look for patterns.  What does it say about you as a writer? 

As you can see, I often write about my family and my sons.  What topics do you write about?  What kinds of things do you keep in your notebooks? Write about that.

 My Sons Then - Click to Enlarge this Collage

My Sons Now - Click to Enlarge

When I recently asked a group of students to reflect on what kind of writers they are, fifth grader Jon said, “The pages in my notebook are like the footsteps of my life.” 

I want all of my students to see their unique footprints. 

Keep walking and keep writing. 


#AlwaysLearning, JoEllen McCarthy, is a lead learner, reader and writer, who spends her days teaching and learning. JoEllen uses Twitter as an online literacy lounge to share "#literacy snapshots” and “#pdlove” that celebrates literacy and learning in action. You can connect with her @JoEllenMcCarthy

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