Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

poem-rapid write May 21, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 2:50 pm
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Your pens are scratching

Timer ticking

Ten minutes of writing



instant effort

fired up

The buzzer sounds

and you have created

something that did not exist

ten minutes before.



In my classes students do daily timed writes to get the brains used to engaging quickly and just writing loosely.  I give them prompts to use or not: lines from songs, Rory Story Cubes, a photo. It’s amazing to see how they develop writing muscles.  I check these as complete, but don’t grade them.  They’re about process because you learn to write by writing. 🙂  


12 Responses to “poem-rapid write”

  1. brittabottle Says:

    You sound like a teacher I’d like to have. I took a comp studies course in college and learned a lot about different methods of teaching writing as well as ways to encourage students to write on their own and not see it as something scary. My comp studies professor would definitely be all over this excercise and I am too. 🙂

    • It came from realizing that we do lots of ‘silent reading’ as a way to improve reading skills, but we don’t do ‘silent writing’. You need to have freedom just to ‘do’ without the pressure of grading. At a recent writing workshop field trip, the presenter gave some strategies and told the 60 kids in the room to get writing. My Creative Writing students were instantly head down and making progress while others were looking around, thinking, giggling, chatting, etc. It made me quite happy, because it’s the goal: to epitomize ‘bum in seat’ method of making writing progress. Don’t over-think! Just write! You can edit later! 🙂 I’m always telling them, “it’s part of the process.” 😉

      • brittabottle Says:

        Yes! The process! Writing is a process and I wish more of my teachers stressed this in school. It took me until my senior year of college (so, this last school year) to realize how important the process itself is and I’ve become a much better writer since realizing that. Your students are so lucky to have a teacher who is encouraging them in that way.

      • It think it took 2 weeks (that was 20 instructional hours) to get my students to embrace that concept. 🙂 It’s funny though, because in the last month they’ve worked with or met three professional writers and each repeated my messages. The kids laughed and looked at me knowingly. Our standard lines are “WRITE CRAP!” (First drafts don’t have to be good, they just have to be written) and “Show! Don’t tell!” They can work on the showing in revision, though. 🙂

  2. jburns58 Says:

    That is a great way to learn to write!

    • Yup. Regular practice.
      It helps that I wrote Grace Awakening in 10-20 minute chunks throughout a day/evening for 6 months. I show them how a little bit every day can add up! 🙂

  3. I do that here, and it must make sense- or Miss Kochakian’s ghost shall pursue me to the far corners.

  4. Ashish kumar Says:

    Short, precise and perfect poem…

  5. It’s an exercise I really do find useful, although I usually judge myself, so I must stop that! It’s amazing the gems that can sparkle within the dust.
    Love the poem, Shawn.

    • There can be no judgment with rapid writes. They exist only to belch out ideas, words. I will have students read over them later to find a line they love, or an idea that snuck in that’s worth growing. Next week my students will be looking at 27 Rapid Writes and choose ONE (or a bits and pieces from several) to turn into a polished piece, be it a poem, story, or non-fiction piece. 270 minutes has been used as background material…

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