All You Need

Some of my students are in a writing rut right now. My learning support students in particular have a difficult time getting started.  They open their notebooks and immediately the, “I don’t know what to write,” begins.

We brainstormed a list earlier in the year about where we could look for ideas.  Today we revisited the list and added some more tips for how we can get “unstuck” when we don’t know what to write.

Our additions to the list are as follows:

Write a sequel to one of your other books

Look back in your notebook for unfinished pieces that you could revisit

Confer with another writer for ideas 

Check your heart map and expert lists or make a new list of things you like to do

Then, one small voice spoke up.  “All you really need to be a writer is 1. a pencil and 2. an imagination. Then you just go from there.”

The simplicity of this struck me.  To this little writer the solution was simple because if you have a pencil and an imagination, you’re all set.  There is no writer’s block.  I definitely would have agreed with him before embarking on this slicing challenge.  Some days I didn’t know what to write about. But I did follow some of the suggestions from our list, most often checking my heart map and my expert lists and memories.

I had a keyboard instead of a pencil, but I have an imagination.  And that’s all I need.

6 thoughts on “All You Need

  1. Your second graders are brilliant! My 9th and 11th graders get in ruts too, and they have a very tough time getting out. I like the idea of creating a list. We wrote some in September, but I think it’s time for a new one. Thanks for sharing!


  2. I love the solution from the student. So simple yet it freezes up so many. I want to try out a second grade list that mirrors yours. Good for you, digging deep with your writers. I know how that familiar complaint from them sounds like nails on a chalkboard! Thanks for sharing real solutions, not just rolling your eyes.


    1. Wait! You teach second grade, too? Now I’m really blown away. I haven’t even attempted writers notebooks with my crew. I’m a little behind because this is year one of workshop for all of them.


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