If you’ve ever heard of free writing and if you’re a teacher like me, then I recommend that you buy this book. I found this during a Scholastic book fair at my school and knew I had hit the jackpot.
Free writing is when you just let yourself write and write and write without stopping. Just let your thoughts take you from one idea to the next. Well, at least that’s how I’ve always thought it was defined. The purpose of free writing is to help you get ideas–no matter how insane or mundane they are–OUT of your system. Sometimes you don’t even realize you’ve been sitting on a pretty good idea until you just actually start writing. I once helped my best friend’s husband (who’s a musician) write a song using this technique. It made it to the airwaves—hooray!
So anyway, this book (I’m talking like a teenager oh my gee [Pinoy pop culture reference]). It takes free writing to an academic level. Linda Rief provides these short texts (poems, short stories, essays) that you can “react” to through free-writing. In her version, though, you are absolutely not allowed to stop writing even if your brain’s hit a wall, so sometimes I end up with gibberish like “Oh no I’m out of thoughts why I don’t get it anymore why would she…” but the beauty of it is that somehow you always manage to get SOMETHING down on paper that you can use in writing.
It’s sort of like a take off point, something to focus your thoughts on. She even gives some guidelines at the end of each text to help you do it.
I’ve used some of the texts in class and they’ve always been really helpful. I’m thinking of coming up with my own texts next time to fit my class/students. Most of the themes/settings in Rief’s texts are too American for the students to understand the context, and they end up more confused than encouraged.
That said, HERE’S TO WRITING! 😀