Reminders From Ralph Regarding the Writer's Notebook


I am grateful to Stacey Shubitz of Two Writing Teachers who re-acquainted me with a great little book by Ralph Fletcher entitled, ‘A Writer’s Notebook: Unlocking the Writer Within You’ . Stacey was trying to inspire a reluctant writers in her classroom and wrote about some of the pearls of wisdom she excavated from Ralph’s little tome that she intended to share.


I knew I had a copy of the book, and so I began searching the overflowing shelves of my library. After a short search, I found this slim, but valuable paperback wedged between two weightier volumes on writing. I began to scan the pages…

It was great to reread Ralph Fletchers words. The messages resonated in my mind like familiar mantras. Like Stacey I now want to share some of the pearls I found. Hopefully, you may find they resonate with your students. Afterall it was young writers that Ralph was aiming at when he originally wrote this excellent book.

“Writers are like other people, except for at least one important difference. Other people have daily thoughts and feelings, notice this sky or that smell, but they don’t do much about it. All those thoughts, feelings, sensations and opinions pass through them like the air we breathe. Not writers. Writers react. And writers need a place to record those reactions. That’s what a writer’s notebook is for…” (Page 3)

“A writer’s notebook gives you a place to live like a writer, not just in school during writing time, but wherever you are, at any time of day…” (Page 3)

“Maybe the single most important lesson you can learn as a writer is to write small. Use your writer’s notebook to jot down the important little details you notice or hear about. These details make writing come alive…” (Page 23)

A writer’s notebook works just like an incubator; a protective place to keep your infant idea safe and warm, a place for it to grow while it is too young, too new to survive on its own. (Page 30)

Memories just may be the most important possession any writer has. As much as anything else, our memories shape what we write. Memories are like a fountain… I believe that my best writing springs from that fountain. (Page 81)

Ralph Fletcher’s book speaks to young writers in a personal and supportive way, offering great ideas to launch young writers in a meaningful direction. Maybe your students would benefit from Ralph’s support?

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