Monday, June 25, 2012

Teachers Write! Summer Camp with Kate Messner

I've been dipping in and out of Teachers Write! for the past few weeks, using the prompts and taking the challenges as my schedule would allow.

Now that I've got a clear stretch of time to dig back into my own reading and writing life, I'm looking forward to getting more involved with the community of writers that have gathered at Kate's virtual summer camp.

And how lucky was I, that the day I got back to being more scheduled with my writing and more dedicated to my participation in Teachers Write!, the mini-lesson was given by Ruth McNally Barshaw, author/illustrator of the Ellie McDoodle books! I LOVE Ellie McDoodle!

Ruth's mini-lesson? Sketch before writing. Sketch during writing. Sketch to understand your writing (character, setting, plot -- with storyboarding).

Down to the basement I went, and look what I found waiting for me in one of the tubs stacked on the bonus desk down there:

I knew my colored pencils were there, but I forgot about the virtually unused sketch book (it's been almost 10 years since I sketched and wrote in it!!), the water colors, and the water color colored pencils that can be brushed and blended with water.

I used my camera as my digital "sketch book" when I took my walk this morning, then sat on the front porch in the shade of the oak tree,

writing and sketching from the shots I took...and from the meanderings of my brain.

There are bits and pieces of a poem-to-be about our big front yard oak tree on this page of doodling in words and images.

It made me unbelievably happy to reconnect to my artistic self in my writing process. Thank you, Kate. And thank you, Ruth!


  1. Mary Lee,
    Thank you for sharing your notebook. It is really inspiring to see how people use their notebooks. I sketched some this morning too after reading the prompt on Teachers Write. Sketching is really scary for me but it was a fun experiment and made me think about a character on a different level.

    1. Dana, I hope you'll be brave and share your sketching and/or the writing that came from it!

  2. Lovely sharing, Mary Lee. I hope I can find the time. It's a great idea to sketch as you did. My students and I did it often & it helps, maybe to slow one down a bit. Looking for your poem!

  3. Thanks for sharing how you integrating your digital sketch book with your colored pencils and your writing. You have a wonderful process going, Mary Lee.

  4. This is what I was needed, I was feeling a bit stuck tonight about my Slice of Life entry.

  5. Love how one inspiration turns into so many different routes. Can't wait to read your poem!


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