I know how I would answer this question, and I’m sure that the definition would shift a bit depending on who you asked, what they preferred to read, and how many essays they were responsible for providing feedback on over the weekend *smile*.  When I think of what good writing is, I think of this book, this post, and these videos. I think of the work that Noah does. I think of her. And her. And them. I also think of this. And that. You might disagree. I know that when it comes to identifying good writing, things tend to be a bit subjective.

That’s why I appreciate the common language that is provided by the 6+1 Traits of Writing. Sometimes, people assume it is a program or a curriculum or a philosophy of some kind. It isn’t. The Traits are a framework. They also provide teachers and students and writers of all kinds a way of speaking about what is often very difficult to define. The web is rich with resources that guide us in this work. Good stuff. Check it out.

I’m doing a lot of work with teachers and students this week who are interested in learning more about what the Traits are, how they work within the writing process, and how the web opens up a world of opportunities for young writers who are honing their craft. That’s what I’ll be posting about this week too. Stop by if you have something to add.

In the meantime, consider how the traits work with the writer’s process and think about where the web might fit in. Don’t focus on the tools themselves. Consider the learning that can happen when writers understand how to engage with others in these spaces. Consider the skills that young writers might need support around in order to accomplish this. It’s not about “the tool.”  It’s about connective writing. It’s about connected learning. That’s a far bigger and much more worthwhile conversation.

So, I’m wondering…….how might all of that inform the writer’s process? The Traits of good writing? What does all of this suggest about what good writing IS?

This post is the first in a series on writing and the 6+1 Traits. You may find the others here:

This post is the first in a series focused on the writing process and the 6+1 Traits of Writing. You may find the others here:

Ideas Inspire Prewriting Inspires Ideas

Drafting: Giving Voice and Shape to Our Ideas

Introducing Young Writers to the Peer Review Process

Honoring Editors of Every Ability Level

Students Seeking Publication



  1. Great post. The process and tools change just a bit depending on the purpose for writing and the age of the students. National Writing Project folks and the training I enjoyed with them was powerful. I have taught the six traits (I used The House on Mango, My Name, for voice!) but many HS teachers need a bit more convincing. More examples of how to address each trait in meaningful ways and with mini-lessons that don’t take all our precious time. Your reminder is timely and I look forward to reading other comments.

    On another note, one of my favorite writing books, is Natalie Goldberg’s, Writing Down the Bones. I live in Asheville, NC and she is visiting our local independent book store, Malaprops, this month. I already secured my ticket to hear her speak! I can’t wait.

    • Lorraine! No lie–I almost added Writing Down the Bones to my list, but I figured I uber-linked this post to death, so I didn’t. I love her books. Do you like Georgia Heard? Also wonderful. Thanks for sharing your insights here. I spent the weekend working with students and teachers across different grade levels. Tomorrow, I’ll be with high school folks from different content areas, and Wednesday, I’m leading a session for the middle school ELA teachers that I coach. I have some things I’ll be sharing with them that I plan to add to this space each day. I know that others have some great ideas as well, so I’m excited to see how this grows during the week.

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