"I don't know what to write."
"I don't have any ideas."
"I'm done. What do I do now?"
Anyone who has traveled the instructional journey with children and writer's workshop has heard these famous lines. As a writer, I have felt the same struggle of trying to fill a blank white page. Thinking that I have an idea is just the beginning. Sometimes my writing starts out all over the place until I figure out the point I'm trying to make or the story I want to tell.
Most of the time, my writing ideas come in waves or rapidly in clumps and then there is a lull. Sometimes my ideas stack like dinner plates, like when I'm in a hurry to unload the dishwasher. My ideas tend to flow in phrases or sentences or movie-like scenes. I lose so many ideas because I don't write them down. I swear some of my most appealing ideas come in the shower or the middle of the night.
Kids give me ideas all the time. I let them know that they spurred an idea in my brain but I am not consistent in writing it down. Sculpting an idea into a piece of writing requires great stamina and trust and drive. The same is true for children. So how do we model a writer's internal drive? How do we model for kids that ideas can come in waves? How do we show them the power of being in the moment with their ideas and writing them down instead of losing them? I think it can be done.