Daily Archives: June 11, 2010

Low-stakes writing

Squirmy Scarlet the Wiener Dog

A Famous Writer once chided me about blogging a few years back. She told me that her Extremely Famous Writer husband and she decided to stop blogging, so that they could save their words for their novels (said Famous Writer now tweets and facebooks like no tomorrow, though, so go figure). Blogs, she said, were a waste of words. Hrm.

I’m not stopping the blogging (and private journal writing), because it affords me a “low-stakes” place to communicate with the world via writing. As a teacher, I’ve learned that it’s important to provide my students with an opportunity for “low-stakes” writing assignments; a venue for writing that might provide challenge but is worth very few points, a venue for writing that gives my students permission to take chances and risks with their writing without being paralyzed with pressure or fear of consequences for said risks. Or just to get their ideas down on paper as they come, as is the case with my blog.

I realize that I’ve made many things in my life unnecessarily “high-stakes”; thus, my joy in writing and engaging has been diminished. Time to remedy that. Time to explore, without fear of consequence, and time to explore without wondering if it’s “the right thing” or “perfect” the first time around. While revision wills me to confront my errors and shortcomings (of which there are many–so many, that I wilt in front of my own writing these days), and is very uncomfortable at times, it’s still a low-stakes game, not the high-stakes I’d hyped it up to be.

I can make mistakes. It’s a rough draft. And after this set of revisions, it will still be a rough draft. And after another set of revisions, it will again still be a rough draft. It’s low-stakes. Time to explore.


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