“But what about technology?” that little voice at the back of my head was nagging while I was working with Cheektowaga writers last month.

“Teach the writer, not the writing,” a different one reminded me. This bit of wisdom from Lucy Calkins continues to transcended time, in my experience.

If someone were to ask me, I  guess I teach the writer, not the tools. This isn’t to say that the writers I work with stick to pen and paper (or Sharpie and tag board as yesterday’s post revealed). Quite the contrary. Our writing isn’t driven by tech tools, that’s all. It’s driven by vision and purpose and we choose our tools accordingly.

What matters to you?

What do you have to say about that?

Who do you want to say it to?

Why might this matter to them?

How are you going to get your message through?

Which tools make sense?

These questions guide how our decisions are typically made. We choose our tools based on the message we have to share and who we want to share it with. Different tools provide us different kinds of potential to connect with others. Different tools provide us different kinds of potential to connect with ourselves too, and that’s where the writing process often needs to begin. Our writing territories emerge from the best and the worst moments of our lives. They hide inside of our relationships with others and wait for us within the smaller moments of each and every day. They are rolling around on the playing field with us and tucked into the books we’re reading….the ones that cultivate our hobbies. It would make sense then that for many–particularly for kids— writing territories are worn into the tread of our digital footprints.

Stripped down to the basics of who we are, we can weave a writing territories list out of pen, paper, and memory. We’re all so much more than that now, though. Many of us are a part of larger networks, communities, and conversations. As we participate there, we leave a part of ourselves behind. This becomes a bit of our history. Like memory, it’s something worth revisiting and reflecting on. Particularly as we’re establishing our territories lists.

What if you asked the writers you serve to retrace their digital footprint in search of their territories? What if they revisited their history on Facebook, Twitter, or ning? How could perusing a photo stream nurture their territories? What about their music libraries? Their favorite videos? Chat and Skype histories?

What do you think? Where else might today’s writers find the best evidence of what matters most to them?





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