Earlier, I had the chance to read the following and found it worth sharing…you’ll want to read this excerpt in the context of a longer article online at the National Writing Project (Posted by Keri Franklin):
Learning a new genre—whatever the form—can remind us of what it means to learn to write.
My experiences with Twitter made me revisit important lessons as a writer and as a teacher of writing. What I learned through tweeting has applications for each writing teacher and writer.
Whether writers write 140 characters, a five-paragraph essay, or a novel, they need the following to be able to attempt this new genre:
- Support: We all need support as writers. It helps if we have someone more experienced to explain the whys and hows. In my case, @tmmaerke and @stevejmoore were more experienced peers who offered suggestions and encouragement as I learned how to engage in conversations and write on Twitter.
- Read Widely: We need the opportunity to read within the genre, first for fun and without aim. Later, as we become more knowledgeable about the genre, we can read with an eye toward analysis to learn the author’s craft.
- Audience: Writing for a group of people, especially some that you do not know, changes your approach to your writing. I was more careful. I considered my identity. I considered the topic and not only my audience but the multiple audiences that would view a tweet if it happened to be retweeted. Whatever the age of the writer, audience is the ultimate test for good writing.
- Learn the Language, Eventually: We sometimes have to learn new vocabulary and conventions for writing in particular genres. I learned new vocabulary and
conventions through reading tweets and talking to peers. There were no worksheets. It was through reading, writing myself, and talking. I did not learn the vocabulary and conventions prior to beginning to tweet. If that were the case, I never would have tweeted to begin with. I needed to make mistakes, make corrections, and ask questions within the context of my own tweeting.