Slice of Life Story - Ready to Rehearse Writing Ideas

Writing ideas swirl round in my head. I live with them for days and sometimes weeks before they emerge on the page. I frequently wake up thinking about the possible shape of my writing for that day. I woke up thinking about my writing this morning. Later in the morning over a welcome cappuccino, I even talked about it –further sorting out took place. -Rehearsal for the writing to follow.

I understand rehearsal is critical to my writing. I embrace it. I know it assists me to clarify my ideas; find my direction. Playing with words and ideas in the head is such an important part of the writing process. Think of it like a tumble drier with thoughts and ideas rolling around and around until they are ready to be taken out.

Mind you there are times when all that emerges is a single sock of an idea –along with a bit of fluff attached. It looks and feels incomplete. It is writing in need of further consideration. But that’s okay; it may just require further shaping to align the mind’s vision with the text trapped on the page.

I find myself constantly reminding young writers that while they undertake a significant amount of their writing in the classroom, it is beyond the classroom that most of the ideas they get for writing crop up. I want them to fully understand this fact.

For this reason, rehearsal needs to take place, so that when they walk through the classroom door each morning, they have a vision of their very own ‘hot topic’ for the day. It is another example of the writer as thinker. This is an achievable goal. I have watched the awareness levels of young writers rise significantly when this behaviour becomes part of their writing practice.

I know I need to continue making students aware of their thinking and its potential for alerting them to ideas, issues and the world in general. Modelling my own rehearsal processes provides powerful demonstrations of the writer in action. Hopefully, it fosters the development of such behaviours in the young writers I teach.


  1. Your ability to work through your own writing process is impressive, Alan. I love the image of you living with your ideas as they start to bloom.

  2. I so enjoy reading your posts. They get me thinking as a teacher of young writers and as a writer myself. Thanks!

  3. That's funny: this week I'm working with my students on consciously gathering writing ideas outside of the classroom, too. Other than modelling your own process, what else have you tried to raise their awareness?

  4. This reminds me of Eudora Welty's observation: "The universe nestles, always, in the radiant particular." I thought of that when you mentioned that an idea is like a sock, with some fuzz attached. I could totally grab onto that "particular" image, and hook into the ideas that followed.

    Fun to read--

    P.S. How's your olive tree doing? Your lemons?

  5. I love this post. I love the image of our writing ideas like laundry tumbling in the dryer! My non-stop busy-ness has pushed me to forget some of my own writing prep -- making sure to jot down all the ideas I have throughout the day, for one. My workload isn't going to change any time soon, but your post is making me think about how much I need to be sure to include those smaller moments for myself. I always have paper and pen with me, so it just means taking a second to jot down a note. Definitely something I can manage. Thanks for the push, Alan!


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