The Many Roles of the Writer

It is important to firmly establish in the minds of student authors, that writers do a lot more than merely write stories. With this in mind, I began compiling a list detailing as many different roles a writer performs as I could recall. Clearly, my list is not exhausted. As you read it, you may think of other roles that could easily be added.

I shared this list with a group of teachers yesterday as we reviewed the plans for their writing programs for the beginning term of the school year. We discussed the ways in which they could establish these writing roles in the minds of their students. Some decided to use it as a checklist, and to frame a series of lessons around each listed item across the year. Others wanted to make a copy available to each of their students to place in their notebooks as a reference for on-going discussion. Another idea was to enlarge the list and place it in a prominent area of the classroom as a reference point for their important work in establishing a community of writers.

 Their enthusiastic response has encouraged me to share the list more widely. I hope you find it useful in your important work. Developing a broader concept of what it means to be a writer, will hopefully be of benefit to your students as you help them strive to become more confident writers. 

The Many Roles of Writers

l     Writers are recorders/reporters
l     Writers learn from other writers
l     Writers wonder
l     Writers write about the unexpected and unusual
l     Writers remember the past
l     Writers are story tellers
l     Writers investigate and collect facts
l     Writers send messages
l     Writers read in order to write
l     Writers write regularly
l     Writers experiment
l     Writers reread and rewrite
l     Writers are poets
l     Writers explain
l     Writers write about special moments
l     Writers collect words as well as writing they admire
l     Writers are curious observers
l     Writers frequently rehearse before they write
l     Writers persuade
l     Writers describe
l     Writers explain things
l     Writers inspire others
l     Writers notice little things others often miss
l     Writers don’t always begin at the start
l     Writers daydream, and imagine
l     Writers write about people and places
l     Writers frequently rehearse their words before they write them down


  1. Awesome list of writers' roles, Alan! I have been trying to figure out a way to communicate with my students how writing is much more than just pencil to paper! Your list is a great idea :-)

  2. Thank you for your response Sammy Sue. It is important for both teachers and students to be fully aware of these varied roles. As you can see from my post, teachers are finding different ways to share this vital information.


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