Julie Bogart on Read With You Presents Part 1
Listen to the podcast here.
Julie Bogart is the creator and owner and Bravewriter and loves writing, kids and parents. Bravewriter allows parents to be writing coaches to their kids.
Mom of 5, homeschooled her kids who are now grown, worked in the publishing field at the same time. Discovered what it took to get the best writing out of people who weren’t writers. She evaluated a program that was meant to teach writing, and realized that most school systems are not oriented toward the reader, they are trying to train children in a method than tapping into their original writing voices. This is the exact opposite of what is done in professional writing.
“In professional writing, we want readers! So, the goal is to write in a powerful enough way that a reader is engaged, and so our focus is completely different. It’s not on writing formats, it’s on the alive writing voice that lives in all of us.”
Julie opened up a Sunday school class at church to teach people about the writing life. To teach that class, she got out all the books she had used in her writing career that she had from her mother. Julie learned from her mother to be a good writer. (Her mother is 85 years old writing her 85th book!) All of these lessons were delivered in a friendly way. In the first class, she used a method called free writing. That’s the practice of moving your pencil for a specific amount of time, with no rules. You don’t go back and correct anything. The goal is transcribing your mind life to paper. The goal is to remove this scholastic view of writing and we stifle the ability to have insight and meaningful thoughts. That first class was about freedom in writing and tapping into the writing voice insight, notice your own interior.
Anxiety of things not being perfectly edited is a problem. Think about this: Steven Hawking, the most brilliant mind of our time, has to use a computer aid to be able to talk. What would we say about him as a writer? He can’t type, he can’t write, and yet he has a byline. It comes from talking to text. He uses software and someone else goes in and decides about commas, and periods, etc. The reason this is critical for us to understand is that when children think writing is about transcription, they stop thinking they have anything to say until they’ve got their mechanics to the level of fluency as their speech. Their mechanics lag behind! Kids are not fluent transcriptionists until age 18. If we focus on mechanics, kids start dumbing down the content to match their current level of skill to eliminate the cleanup phase. You see this with kids all the time. They want to get it right so they can be done. If we allow a lot of free writing, like we allow speech, and only revise once in a while, we help our kids develop a desire to write.