George Waters School – Diving into the Writing Process

I’ve spent a great deal of time in early years schools. George Waters School was the first middle years school where I’ve been in residency. (It absolutely ‘brought me back’ – there were lockers!! 🙂 ). For three weeks, I enjoyed working with Grade 6, Grade 7, and Grade 8 students – and learned so much along the way!

First, is there any better way to learn about your own craft than to be asked interesting, thought-provoking questions? Every day, you made me think about why I do what I do, how I decide to approach my writing, and why certain ‘rules’ in writing are effective (like ‘more show, less tell’). And it wasn’t just the questions. As middle years students, many of you have been doing creative writing on your own for years and have a lot to say about how you write, and what it means to you. I was both fascinated and inspired.

Next, there were the iPads. This was really unique – every student in school had been issued an iPad. I must admit, it took some getting used to, seeing so much work done right on the device (“Where are the paper and pencils?” I sometimes wondered). But then you showed me the apps for making character webs, developing your story worlds, even making story boards – so cool. Now, this isn’t to say we didn’t use paper and pencils, but you helped open my eyes to other methods and possibilities. (*I’m very aware that this post will probably look really old-fashioned in a few years when everyone is working with who-knows-what latest technology to learn and create. Hopefully not while dressed in one-piece silver suits, but that’s another discussion…)

I want to commend you all on your courage for trying new things – especially those of you who may not have been crazy about the idea of doing creative writing at first. You see, I think it’s a myth that you are either a writer, or you’re not. Now, it may be true that some people are more drawn to the act of writing than others, but I believe that everyone can try and learn, and more often than not when they do, they discover that they do indeed have something to say. Anyway, so many of you did this – and I could go on and on, but I’ll leave it at this: I’m glad we had to the opportunity to explore the writing process together and create some memorable stories!

Thank you to the enthusiastic students of George Waters, and the welcoming teachers who generously shared their strategies and answered all my questions as we worked together. All the best throughout the year – till next time!

Karin 🙂