Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Welcome to Deeper Writing

My book is finished.
Book Signing at NCTE 2012

I am sighing with delight and relief at having accomplished what seemed an insurmountable undertaking.  I am pinching myself each time I use my own book as a reference to the answer questions about writing ideas and possible literature or other texts to foster writing. However, I am finding that  I miss the habit of daily writing required to complete the book. as well as the ever looming deadlines that pushed me forward through the process.  

So now I am thinking  about where to go next in my writing life.  I have been contemplating blogging for almost a year and in every way the universe is screaming NOW.

As I weighed the pros and cons,  investigated "how-to" resources, and closely examined blogs I read regularly (and more that I am discovering each day), I also turned to women I know that blog --and do it so well.

They offered kind and encouraging words, as well as cautions and tips that made this plunge easier. They suggested platforms, items to include on my page, and reminded me of the importance of committing to write regularly and staying involved in the ongoing conversation. They also noted the benefit of becoming a better writer. Thanks, Franki, Gretchen, and Julie.

The technicalities and decisions of structuring the page (as simple as it is) raised my blood pressure and stretched my learning capacity.  But now I am looking forward to engaging in deeper writing in this space---and encouraging you to do the same.

What is deeper writing?

By deeper writing I mean writing that challenges us to engage in a thorough search of memory, a critical analysis of relationships and situations, and a powerful discovery of ourselves and the world.

Deeper writing digs beneath the surface, underneath the obvious observations and topics, to reveal that which is in the background  unnoticed, or unexamined.  It touches both the reader and writer with emotions and insights we have buried or ignored, and it surprises us with fresh perspectives of the familiar.

Deeper writing (and thinking) forces us to ask again and again:  What more? What else?  Why?  And so what?

As we observe, remember, reflect, connect, juxtapose, and challenge our own perceptions, we will be ever thinking about writing and new writing possibilities--we will be in what Donald Graves called a constant state of composition.

In the next several posts, I will continue to explore this concept of deeper writing and consider each of the four sources of ideas that lead us to that deeper writing: context, content, containers, and container linings. And in each post I will also offer a new  writing possibility.

Today’s Deeper Writing Possibilities

What is hiding unexamined beneath the surface in your life?
What did you remember this morning that hadn’t come to mind for a long time?
What connection did you make yesterday that surprised you?
What did you see last week that you are still considering this week?

As you explore these questions in your writing, remember to consider the Why? and So What?


  1. Congratulations on taking the plunge, Robin! I look forward to following along!

  2. Looks great, Robin! You always inspire me to think deeper - I especially like the question "What did you remember this morning that hadn't come to mind for a long time?" I always wonder why certain memories resurface at different times, is there a reason? Is it meant to guide us in a way? Great question!

  3. Thanks, Gretchen. Your blog and your never ending store of stories has inspired me. I am particularly enjoying your "alphabet" entries. I love formats that structure what I am writing. Paradoxically, they seem to free me to write things that I might not have written if not for the form.

  4. Thank you, Amy, for the kind words. I find that for me certain long buried memories arise with music, smells, foods, and returning to certain places.
    I have always been fascinated with how memories are stored and categorized in our minds. Sometimes we over and over tell a "memory" that contains differences from the actual events (guilty of this myself) but the new telling actually becomes the real memory.
    Which memories really happened and which have we narrated into being?

  5. I enjoy listening to the insights you have on Sunday morning and now I know I will enjoy your insights in yet another arena. I'm already musing over what I've just read. Thanks for all you do,

  6. Welcome to the blogging world Robin! I am so excited for you. Your blog is beautiful and I look forward to reading your words. You always give me something to think about.

  7. You have been an inspiration to me as you have documented the work in your classroom, your own learning, experiences with literature and so on. Thanks for the vote of confidence.