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Writing to Remember: Celebrating the National Day of Writing #WhyIWrite

This post is written by member Peg Grafwallner. 

peggrafwallnerAbout a year ago I reevaluated my writing career. As an Instructional Coach/Reading Specialist at a large urban high school, I decided it was time to concentrate on my writing. While I have always loved to write and always enjoyed teaching writing, I wasn’t giving myself the time or space to write. Now that I no longer had my own classroom or my own roster of students, I had time in the evening to write about my nearly 23 years of teaching.

My website gave me the opportunity to share my musings with those who “followed” me. But I knew I was missing a broader audience. I wanted to write authentically, for purpose. I think back to my own students who wrote the iconic five-paragraph essay after every novel (I’ve learned better since then!) and realized that I was the only audience reading their papers. I didn’t give them a chance to write for anyone but me.

Since November 2015, I have been published in Edutopia, Literacy Daily, ASCDExpress, ASCDInservice, Exceptional Parent, and the Wisconsin State Reading Association Journal. The reason I mention these publications is because when I collaborate with teachers and help to create writing lessons, I want to share my writing journey with them and, most important, with their students. I want their students to know that writing is hard—there is no magical formula, except to write. I am not gifted or special; this writing thing is pure work and pure joy.

I write because I have to. It’s not a matter of “maybe” or “possibly.”  Much like a runner has to run and a chef has to cook, I write to express myself and to humbly put myself in a student’s place. What is it like when a due date or deadline is looming and there is so much to do? I don’t want to forget that challenge of brainstorming an idea, writing a rough draft, proofreading, revising, asking for feedback, revising, proofreading, and asking for feedback.

Today I write this post to honor the National Day on Writing and to honor all of us writers, remembering that writing can only get better if we have the space and time to write for purpose and for ourselves.

Peg Grafwallner is an Instructional Coach and Reading Specialist at a large urban high school. Peg draws on her nearly 23 years of experience and expertise to focus on engagement, motivation and interventions to create student opportunities of learning and inquiry.