Quick Writes Count

Writing doesn't have to be lengthy to be meaningful.

Recording memories in quick lists has been the key to capturing the stories that matter to me. There is so much less involved in writing a list versus an entire daunting story or essay. A whole memory comes flooding back with just a few words to trigger the story — plenty to take you back to that special time.

As I started the List Your Life project, I let so many things get in the way of writing — check on the boys, snacking, a sudden need to clean the bathrooms, pick up the kitchen, laundry… I once even found myself starting on windows to avoid sitting down and writing. The crazy part is that I believe in writing; I believe it's healthy and important to clear thoughts, but, wow, the discipline was tough some days.

After a long time and a lot of struggle, it occurred to me that I help seventh and eighth graders daily with writer's block. As soon as I had that a-ha moment, I applied what I found to be useful with them: Writing lists. When writing with my students, we always create a foundation to scaffold our thoughts before jumping into writing. I applied that important concept from my classroom into my own life, and then I was able to get writing — in the form of lists.

While plenty of us want to write and have good intentions, it simply does not happen. I found that writing short lists allowed me to gather a great deal of memories in a format that actually worked for me. Instead of being mired down in lengthy, elaborate details, I created a book of my memories and the people who matter to me in a very short format.

The concept that I use to help my resistant middle-school writing students was the exact writing solution that helped List Your Life take shape.

« A thank-you, a love letter (previous post)
(next post) An Invitation »