September 2008 Archives

Family Magazine, a Northern Virginia-based publication on parenting, is including content from Congressional staff, and it’s my turn. I thought I’d use this week’s post to work out some ideas and reflect on publication as an aspect of the writing process. The piece I agreed to write, way back in August, was “The Write Stuff.” In the spirit of commercial tabloids, I will provide “Five Tips to Turn Struggling Scribes into Scribbling Superstars.” I can dash off 800 words on this quick; I’ve been working on this trick for fifteen years and counting. After a pithy ...


9: 53. I’m writing fast. Not at a sprint, more of a brisk walk. I’m timing myself to see how far I can get in ten minutes, because this is the assignment I asked my 8th graders to do today and I want to do it, too. Actually, I asked them to do it three times this weekend, not all in a row. For each time, in a comfortable setting where they can focus, they are to freewrite for ten minutes and then get a word count. We will get the average words per minute based on this ...


I’m no golfer. But once when I was taking a couple cuts at a kid’s birthday party at Top Golf, a dad who is gave me some good advice: “Low and slow,” he said, meaning that one should draw back the club head in a deliberate way before hitting the ball. Since then, that phrase pops back into my head every time I pick up a club. I’ve been trying to apply the mnemonic to my teaching too. Take the summer assignment my 8th graders brought to class on the second day. Inherited from last year’s ...


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