Nerdies of the World, Unite! by Jen Vincent

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Nerdies of the World, Unite!

(sung to the tune of Bananas of the World, Unite *see below)

It’s time to be a writer!

Be a writer!

Try writing!

Try, try writing!

It’s been quite a few years since I went to summer camp and made lanyards, played Capture the Flag and sang camp songs, but last year, I was part of Teachers Write, a virtual writing camp for teachers hosted by authors Kate Messner, Gae Polisner and me. You can read our Nerdy Book Club post from last year for a recap of what Teachers Write is. Teachers Write was an experience I will never forget, it brought together supportive people all over the world interested in writing and sharing their experiences throughout the process. I’m beyond excited that Teachers Write will be back this summer starting on Monday, June 24th!

Being an avid reader, I marvel at authors’ craft; the characters they bring to life and the stories they weave together but I learned so much about the reality of an author’s work from participating in Teachers Write. Before Teachers Write, I didn’t fully grasp how much blood, sweat and tears go into the amazing books we all know and love. I’ve heard authors say they wrote multiple drafts of novels and I remember Jo Knowles said she needed to change the point of view and started a whole novel from scratch. These things sound crazy…but I never really, truly, deeply comprehended the extent of the insanity until I finished my first draft and then realized I needed to rewrite one whole character starting over from the beginning. That is a really scary thing to contemplate and an even harder thing to follow through with. It takes a certain kind of commitment and possibly a certain kind of lunacy to want to go through that…and our favorite authors do it over and over again just for us, their readers.

Kate, Gae, and I wholeheartedly believe teachers should be engaged in writing so they can share these types of writing experiences with their students. As Kate says, “walk the walk.” By writing regularly and knowing the ups and downs of writing first hand, we can better support our students. When we write alongside them, they see that we are learners, too. When we share our process as writers, they see that we believe in first draft sloppy copies, love them even, and that we’ll draft and draft and draft to make it the best we can. When we acknowledge our fears and hopes and dreams about writing, they see that it’s okay to have mixed emotions about writing but that we are there for them along the way.

This is exactly where Teachers Write comes in! We ask you to step into the shoes of a writer to honestly empathize with your students when you ask them to write. Do it for them. Deciding what to write about isn’t easy, trusting in the process isn’t easy, sharing writing with peers isn’t easy, not giving up isn’t easy. And since we know writing can be difficult, we are here for you! At our blogs or on Twitter, Kate, Gae, Jo, and I are available and so are many Teachers Write friends all around the world just waiting to cheer you on and maybe offer you a s’more!

Still wondering what Teachers Write is exactly? It’s a virtual writing camp for teachers that you can look at as your a la carte resource for writing. Kate Messner, Gae Polisner, Jo Knowles and me will have posts available to you on our blogs. This year Kate will continue to provide prompts, exercises and question and answer sessions on her blog on weekdays. She and other friends from the publishing world will share their insights and expertise. Jo will offer Monday writing prompts, Gae will be ready to give you feedback on Fridays, and I’ll have a Sunday Check-In to share how things are going, to celebrate…and maybe vent our frustrations(just sometimes). Whether you are writing fiction of non-fiction, a novel or a picture book, stopping in every day or once a week, we hope you sign up and join us.  Instead of choosing between archery or horseback riding, swimming or sports and games, come on over and pick and choose what works for you as a writer based on what we have to offer through Teachers Write. It all officially starts in one week on Monday, June 24th!

Until then, do you have questions about Teachers Write? Not sure if you are ready for Teachers Write? Still wondering what exactly you have to do? Or are you already signed up and can barely contain yourself you are so excited? Gae and I will be hosting a Twitter chat tonight, Monday, June 17th at 8EST/7CST.  We’ll talk more about Teachers Write and spread our excitement. Follow the hashtag #TeachersWrite to learn more and see what the hoopla is all about! For returning friends, come share your experiences from last year!

Sign up for Teachers Write now!

Teachers Write Sign Up Form

Join the Teachers Write Facebook Group

Follow the hashtag #TeachersWrite and find us on Twitter!

@katemessner

@gaepol

@joknowles

@mentortexts

And starting Monday, June 24th, visit our blogs for Teachers Write fun!

Kate Messner

Gae Polisner

Jo Knowles

Jen Vincent

Jen Vincent is a Teacher Leader, coordinating and facilitating professional development for the Teacher Mentor Program in her school district in the suburbs of Chicago. She tweets at @mentortexts and blogs at http://www.teachmentortexts.com. Last year with Teachers Write she wrote the first draft of her YA novel. This year she is eager to revise it and work on a new project, too!