dear cindy: a letter to myself as a writer

Today in my awesome CO301D class, we’re beginning to talk about the concept of pose, wobble, flow in relation to our roles as writers. I’ve asked students to think about the following prompt and to actually write themselves a letter, so I’m going to do that, too:

PROMPT: Write a letter to yourself as a writer. What’s one (or more) poses you’d like to take as a writer–some ways you’d really push yourself outside your comfort zone that would help you grow? Where do you anticipate that you might wobble in those poses? Give yourself some encouragement–what are some methods you might use to achieve flow in these areas?

Dear Cindy,

I know it still feels weird for you to say that “you’re a writer,” partially because that’s been a lifelong dream, but also because maybe sometimes (okay, a lot of times), you’ve felt a little like a fraud. (The thought process has gone something like this: “Shh, don’t tell–I know my primary role in my day job is that I’m a teacher, but also, there’s this little thing I do on the side, which is to think of myself as a writer.”) Yet you still want to take on that pose because chances are, you have some experiences to share that others haven’t had yet if they haven’t spent almost 30 years in the classroom.

Every time you try a new genre or take on a new project, it’s for sure still a wobble to think of yourself as a writer. By now, I know you’ve thought that you’d be over it, that you should be surer of yourself because you’ve published some stuff and people have even said to your face, “Hey, that made me think. Thanks for writing.).

Remind yourself of that from time to time. It helps you keep in touch with the faceless audience out there. How can you help them know how important the job of teaching (and, yes, writing) is to you? Remember how you wrote your first book with the picture of Emily in your head? That worked. Keep doing that. And probably the most important thing is to think about your writing as a conversation with someone else who you’ve established a relationship with in education–even when you’re writing in a more formal genre for a more critical audience. Keep the reader at the forefront of your mind and name and claim your identity as a teacher as writer.

– Cindy

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