Kari has written a wonderful book on teaching writing... It is ten chapters long and this is installment six. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have!
Three friends, three lessons:
Will is an artist. He has great skill as he puts brush to paper. His images are bright, clever, and leap off the page. Will has always liked art. He found his talent early. Yet, there was a time when no money came in. He could’ve settled for another job just to pay the bills, but, he would not give up on his art. Sacrifices were made so he could continue painting. He believed in his talent. His wife, family and friends believed too. He found his style of painting. His determination has paid off and he now shares his unique style with the world with a successful career as an illustrator. His works have been published in national magazines and books.
Lesson 1: Will never lost sight of his “style”; he had faith in his voice.
Amy is a quilt artist. She too, paints with bright colors, this time with cloth. Her works of art are bold, beautiful, and unique. Amy too, struggled with finding her voice, her personal style. She tried traditional quilting methods and decided there had to be an easier way. Through persistence and trying new things, she found her way, and now shares that way with countless other quilters. She brightens and enhances the quilt art arena with her unique personal style, inspiring others to add color and creativity to their lives and quilts!
Lesson 2: Amy was willing to try new things to find her voice.
Susan has a beautiful singing voice. She has a talent, a gift, but one that she has always developed. There were lean years, when she and her husband were in school, new babies, moving… yet they always saved enough money to pay for voice lessons. A dedicated husband and family supported her. Regardless of where they lived, she has volunteered time to be in the church choir and community plays and musicals. She developed her talent and when opportunity knocked, she was prepared to take it, onto the Broadway stage with a national touring opera.
Lesson 3: Susan continually worked at developing her voice.
I look at these friends and wonder, “what if…” What if they had stopped creating, stopped listening to that inner voice? What if they had given up when the hard times came? They wouldn’t have found “their style”. Each is successful because:
- They had faith in their voice.
- They were willing to try new things to find their voice.
- They kept working at developing their voice.
Have you or your children stopped too soon or given up on writing? Is your personal writing style just around the corner? What is your writing style or your writing voice? What inspires you? One student is inspired by names. She checked out a baby-name book from the library and rewrote 100+ names in her writing journal as a resource for the characters she creates in her stories. Another writer just starts doodling and her stories naturally come out of her drawings. A different student acts out his stories so he can really feel what his character is going through.
With all the time our family spends on writing, do we have a house full of kids who love to write? No, but we have faith that everyone has something important and unique to say. Do we have kids who struggle when they put pen to paper? Yes, but, we keep trying new activities and different shapes and formats (fans, cards, stories, letters, etc.). We keep working on our “voice”. We have seen success as our students and children have grown accustom to the “Writing Traffic Light” process. They have found their voice, their style. They are comfortable in the process and write beautifully and convincingly.
Continue to write and you too will develop your writing style!
Next week: "Learn to write, write to learn"
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