Thursday, 11 December 2008

Sharing the journey with students

Do you write along with your students when you set exercises? I do sometimes. Rather than stay aloof and teachery I plunge in. Obviously, it shows students that I'm on the writing journey with them. Even better -- sometimes the exercises actually help me on current writing.

Example: I have just completed teaching a Novel in a Month course and joined students in the 45 mins daily uncritical writing that makes the process work. Delighted to say that I ended up with 27,000 words. The goal was 50,000 so it was a demo that it's okay to miss goals. Also, I shared my agonies over the first 2 days of horrible blank-page rubbish with my fellow writers. No one made it to 50K, but several produced bigger wordcounts than mine. It's not a competition, I remind us. The course is based on the principles of http://www.nanowrimo.org a website of international madness-of-noveling.

Other example: Also just finished teaching Writer's Journey/Hero's Journey, and used two of the exercises to explore and deepen the protagonist who presented herself in the above-mentioned Niamo course. Synergy!

Ending the term with a flourish -- former long-time student Mike Gordon came to class to talk a bit about his handsomely self-published novel, Tracks. It's a techno-thriller, action-packed, with loads of characters. See http://www.trackksthebook.com Good for him, good for me, good for the class of new writers to see. And off to the pub afterwards for cheers.

That's it from me for this term... tune in 2nd week of January 2009 when education wakes up again.

1 comment:

Bryan said...

I think it's fantastic that you take the plunge along with your students. Very few teachers I had in my life ever seemed to stray from their teaching pedestal.

I survived Nanowrimo back in 2007 (I wasn't doing much else at the time, so the 50,000 was more a result of my lack of everything else). It can completely be a great experience and I recommend it for everybody.

It's hard to practice what you preach sometimes. I give you kudos for taking on the task.

Sincerely,
Bryan