This could be an extended excuse and apology for not blogging for months. I will do my best not to extend, but to be present, and writing. A rather large curriculum writing project came my way, and was, is still, all consuming of my time and writer’s brain. So though there were many aha moments in the writing of a summer learning program curriculum (to keep kids’ brains sharp while having fun with content-rich, engaging activities and books, and various other grandiose educational goals), the act of pulling myself into some other form of writing proved challenging time wise. I did come up with two revelations–maybe obvious ones.
First, writing an extended work is as much about structure as it is about content. What is the skeleton, scaffold or overarching theme that you are hanging all the content on? In a way, you need to know the end or where you’d like to land all the content, before you start. My old habit way of writing was to burrow, digging through a dark tunnel until I came to the end. But since I was never really sure what or where the end was, the burrowing could take months, years.
In writing for this project (called at times Project Fast Forward, or Brain Gain), the scaffold was key. By the end of each of six weeks, a certain theme had to have been studied and 30 activities done (including warm ups and a culminating event). Depth was less important than modeling ways of approaching new information–what’s called inquiry or project-based learning. I’m just about done with the last of six modules (weeks), having waltzed through the worlds of history, culture, inventions, greening, weather/climate, technology, a sci/fi future, and other topics I claim no expertise about. I was won over to scaffolding, structure first, as an act of survival. Will I go back to burrowing through some free fiction writing? I’m not sure.
Are you a burrower or a scaffolder, or some combination? See which approach or combination works best. Make the adjustments that will bring ease and flow into your writing. And take a moment to visualize the results that you want.