Tomorrow is the National Day on Writing. Every year, teachers, students, and writers come together to celebrate writing on October 20th. The National Day on Writing was established through an act of Congress in 2009 in order to bring awareness to writing in our everyday lives. According the National Council of Teachers of English website, the National Day on Writing serves the following core purposes:
- points to the importance of writing instruction and practice at every grade level, for every student and in every subject area from preschool through university (see The Genteel Unteaching of America’s Poor),
- emphasizes the lifelong process of learning to write and composing for different audiences, purposes, and occasions, and
- encourages Americans to write and enjoy and learn from the writing of others.
I love celebrating the National Day on Writing. As a teacher of writing and as a writer myself, it brings me no end of joy to celebrate writing with other teachers and writers. This year’s celebration has me really excited. The theme is to reflect on the idea of “Why I Write.” The National Writing Project, Figment, the New York Times Learning Network, and Edutopia are all joining forces to invite people to participate in this effort. Each partner has their own ways to participate, but the easiest way to join in would be to post on Twitter or on Facebook your own answer to “Why I Write.” On twitter tomorrow will be a whole stream of responses, each tagged with #whyiwrite. I also have a tumblr set up for submissions if you or your students would like to participate that way: each submission will be tweeted and tagged as well tomorrow.
As graduate students, we often only write for our instructors, advisors, or reviewers. It seems like every time I am putting thoughts down, it is for some audience who most likely will be judging me. I like to take time to write just for me, whether it be ideas for a research study I’d like to do, a rant about this or that situation in the world that is not to my liking, or a reflection on how lucky I am to be a graduate student in a program that I love, doing work I enjoy. Writing is more than just a performance for the gatekeepers around me. Writing, for me, is the way I know what I know. I sometimes feel as if I write myself into being, especially considering how much and how often I post online. I like to describe it this way: it’s as if I can’t help myself. I am just always writing.
Please understand this post as invitation to you to participate in the National Day on Writing. For your comments, let us know why you write or how you are celebrating tomorrow’s National Day on Writing.
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