toil to make meanings clear for readers. And for readers to care about
our words, we need to make meaning worth knowing. Writing worth reading
requires effort from the writer. Practice, trial and error, blind
alleys, the occasional victory—all are part of the writer’s life.
I began teaching Writing 12 in 2006. The inaugural class was deeply committed to the craft and wrote many wonderful pieces. In the process, The Pearson Buzz came to be. The class held lively debates over various names (The Pearson Pear was a favourite of mine) but, in the end, it was “The Buzz” that sounded best.
Some writers begin Writing 12 a bit wild, a little delirious with the power of words. Discipline takes time; writing is, as much as anything is, a craft. Like a finishing carpenter, making the words fit just so requires careful, methodical effort.
Working with words means working, with words. No substitutes allowed! Every week the class does a new exercise, designed to make a writer look at something familiar in a new way, or, sometimes, just to take a good look.
Because writers bring an imaginary world to life, we need to include a kind of class “conversation” to work out ideas, to prime the writing pump. Writing 12 class is quiet when we try a new prompt, but more often we chat. With ideas, our imaginations are ready for exercise.
Each class has had its own, individual, character, but each year students become more serious in the second term when publication begins. Student pieces are popular and have a worldwide readership that I often show to students through web-based analytics at The Pearson Buzz.
By bringing my students’ attention to words, they can begin to have that essential conversation: that of a writer with his or her reader. If we have something to say and know enough craft to make our writing worthwhile, then I’ll take the writer’s life any time!
(April 4, 2010)
(Includes all 2002 to date Weekly Features with descriptions)