When you teach, you write with your words (and your body). You weave a story with images, or wrap thinking around a metaphor. You give an explanation, or a guided demonstration. And you use multi-sensory resources to help build the language of the senses (my favourite!). It’s not a million miles from what being a writer is like. You talk to a reader, and hope that they connect with what you are saying: you try to make sense, and connections, and you attempt to bring something to life for them. It’s like me whispering in your ear.
I absolutely the love the idea that the Internet has democratised writing. It has opened up the world of ‘writing for an audience’ on a global scale. It is a challenge to the traditional model of publishers deciding which voices should be heard. It is also a challenge to those of us who make our living out of writing. The old style ‘Guardians at the Gate’ are still there, but alongside them is a growing movement of people either self publishing (including me – it’s been an education), or putting their ideas on blogs. As you’d expect, the quality is variable, but that’s inevitable really. The publishing houses are curators, and experts in the production of books. (Expertise does matter, really.)
This democracy is a good challenge, a great one. Because if you can write well, and put your ideas across through words, and images in a way that appeals to me then I love having the chance to read what you say. How wonderful it is that teachers can blog and write books about their ideas, experiences and thinking. There are tons of lively voices on the internet and I flit from one to another looking for the ones who express a vision of the world as I see it, whilst trying not to shut out those whose world view differs.
In this ‘brave new world’, the people get to decide who they read (alongside the press and social media, who pervade the way we find new material). Marketing is key, and Twitter is a weird mix of people marketing viewpoints and marketing actual work.
Most thrillingly of all, though, our children can be involved: my own two helped me plot and create characters for the books in my Bad Faerie series. (They’re going faster with plot ideas than I can with the writing!)
p.s. that last bit was marketing 🙂