The first true test of a boy’s endurance isn’t hopping on one foot, balancing on a bicycle, or even outlasting his friends to see who can stay awake the longest at a sleepover.
No, it is in pulling words from his brain, organizing them into coherence, and making them appear on paper.
The process of writing is exciting to some, and pure drudgery–no, agony— to others. I am in the group of the first.
Having sons with learning disabilities forces me to seek out different ways of accomplishing “traditional” school subjects, pulling the everyday into our every-day. It’s not easy. “Teaching” writing, even less so. I am in the paradoxical position; I love writing yet do not enjoy teaching it. I have boys who need to learn how the writing process works, but writing itself is such a struggle that it makes the process that much harder.
So we began one day last week with the idea of Julie Bogart’s Friday Freewrites in mind. I set a timer for 15 minutes and gave them instructions that they must write for 15 minutes without stopping. They may write on any subject that they wish. I promised I wouldn’t read it, this their first attempt, but it’s hard not to look.
My 12 year old is writing in cursive, slowly, slowly, and seems to be enjoying the process. My 10 year old has spent 80% of the time writing what amounts to a handwriting practice sheet, with letters repeating row after row after row.
His idea of a joke. And that’s okay. He will get to do this again, and the joke will be on him. Eventually, he will find himself not wanting to waste time this way.
And 15 minutes is a long time when you’ve never dedicated any time to writing before.
I’m writing along with my kids during our Free Write times, and this post was my first from a Free Write. There will be more to come!