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[LITERATE PRACTICES AND PROCESSES]—Meaningful writing is achieved through sustained engagement in literate practices (e.g., thinking, researching, reading, interpreting, conversing) and through revision.

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Freewriting is a common invention practice where a writer frees their creative brain by writing without judging what they write. That creative freedom comes from writing everything one thinks as fast as possible without stopping to re-read, change, or delete words. Freewriting isn’t about writing to be read. It’s a literacy practice that uses writing to change how we as writers think about our subject.

For this assignment, use the invention strategy of freewriting to reflect on who you are as a writer, reader, and learner using the questions below as a launching point. Spend at least 20 minutes writing. Note that you do NOT need to answer each question and in fact might focus the whole 20 minutes on one of the questions. Use at least one of the questions to help you get started and focus your brainstorm:  

  1. What are your earliest memories of learning to write? Of learning to read?
  2. How were reading and writing viewed by your family and friends when you were growing up?
  3. What role did reading play in your development as a writer? What kinds of texts were you drawn to—traditional print texts; visual texts, such as comics and graphic novels; a mix; or some other kinds? What was your goal for reading these texts: gaining information or knowledge, answering a specific question, entertainment, distraction, to please another person, to get a good grade, etc?
  4. Can you recall particular experiences in school or on the job that influenced your current attitude toward writing?
  5. If you were to describe your history as a writer, what stages or periods in your development would you identify? Write a sentence or two briefly characterizing each stage or period.
  6. What images come to mind when you hear the term writer?
  7. What images come to mind when you think of yourself as a writer? Try drawing up a list of metaphors, such as “As a writer, I’m a turtle—slow and steady” or “As a writer I’m a racehourse–fast out the gate but never sure if I’ve got the stamina to finish.” Write two or three sentences that use images or metaphors to characterize your sense of yourself as a writer.
  8. What kinds of writing do you enjoy? Dislike? What kinds of writing do you do outside of school? Do you regularly tweet or chat via text messages? Do you keep a personal journal or blog? Do you write poetry or short stories? In answering this question, include any print or multimedia texts that you regularly create simply because you enjoy doing so. What do these kinds of writing add to your life? What do they enable you to do?
  9. What role have multimedia texts (such as web sites, hypertext documents, or video games) played in your reading and writing experiences? What role do images and graphics play in your writing–both in and out of school?
  10. What do you enjoy most about the process of writing? What do you enjoy least?
  11. What goals would you like to set for yourself as a writer both in this class and more generally?