Where Do My Words Begin Their Journey?

Rehearsal is critical to my writing. I embrace it. I welcome its comforting presence in my head. I know it assists me to clarify my ideas; find my direction.  Playing with words and ideas internally is such an important part of my 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. This is where writing ideas are born. It marks the beginning. 

Writing ideas swirl round in my head. Words collide. They appear and disappear. They are repeated over and over to ensure their suitability. Are they page worthy? I live with them for days and more, before the chosen ones emerge on the page. I frequently wake up thinking about the possible shape of my writing for that day. I wake up thinking about my writing. Later in the morning over a welcome cappuccino, I will probably talk about it –further sorting out will take place. -critical rehearsal for the writing to follow. A bubbling energy is growing within me, -an anticipation.

Mind you, there are times when what arrives on the page looks and feels rather incomplete. The words are raw. 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 fragments of text trapped on the page. I can rehearse anywhere, anytime. I am not daydreaming, I am thinking and rehearsing. Just because my mind wanders, don’t assume I’m lost.

I find myself constantly reminding young writers that while they produce a significant amount of their writing in the classroom, it is beyond the classroom that most of the ideas they get for writing find their beginnings. It is in the living of their lives beyond the classroom that rich experiences worthy of note occur. I want them to fully understand this fact. You cannot separate thinking from writing. 

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 rehearsal becomes part of their writing practice. It is almost a revelation for students to understand pre-writing can actually begin long before the writing workshop commences.

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 such behaviours in the young writers and teachers with whom I work. It is where the sparks of creativity find their origin. Rehearsal marks the essential beginnings of writing. 


  1. So vibrantly true - there's a nonstop narrative running in my head all the time, and I am often rearranging it to the point of missing snippets of conversation. Living in my head instead of the moment - alas! Beautiful rendition here.

    1. Thank you Fran. It is quite reassuring to know we share this constant word rehearsal.

  2. I write in the shower and on my drives to work. I write sitting at my kitchen table with a mug of coffee. Sometimes, I write when others are trying to talk with me. I'm a million miles away. This isn't a good thing, but it is evidence that I'm working through something tricky in a draft. What a great conversation to have with students. What an important one, too. I wonder how we might give them more time for rehearsal and more examples to follow.

    1. I agree Angela. This is the kind of conversation we need to have with student writers. I like your thinking around this issue of rehearsal and providing adequate time for it to take hold in the minds of developing writers. Thanks for your comments


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