Since starting this blog, I’ve been thinking a lot about the writing process and my own personal habits and methods for coming up with new content each day. When I was a student, I frequently scribbled drawings, poems, and story ideas on my notes from class as they came to me throughout the day. After graduating college and joining the workforce though, I could no longer multi-task as I once did for fear of getting fired. Subbing a cellphone for a notepad the past few weeks, I’ve spent my breaks typing out ideas and even snapping photo reminders of things to write about once I get home. When I finally sit down to my computer, I try to distill all the seemingly disparate portions of my day and condense them into a single narrative or poem that holds meaning for me. A little something is inevitably lost in the editing each time, but the simultaneous acts of writing and learning never cease to fascinate me.
After college, I served for a year in AmeriCorps tutoring high school students in English. In training for this position, my team and I were required to take a class on different learning techniques so we could better understand and meet our students’ needs. It wasn’t until I took that class and finally started teaching that I began to identify my own learning habits. I had always considered myself to be a visual learner, as I often answered test questions by closing my eyes and recalling pictures or phrases from my schoolbooks as well as their relative locations in the books (i.e., in the top left corner on the right page, next to the diagram of the human eye.) I don’t exactly have a photographic memory, but I’ve always been very visually oriented. What I didn’t realize until I started working with my students was that I had many traits of a tactile learner as well.
During class, I’d watch many of my students fighting the impulse to fidget in their seats and/or walk around the room. Some lost this battle more often than not and got into trouble as a result. Watching them reminded me of all the times I had done similar things as a child. Unconsciously, I had adapted over the years by keeping my hand busy with a pencil, sometimes taking notes, other times making sketches or writing poems. Oddly enough, even when my sketches or poems didn’t match the subject matter I was studying (which was most of the time), I would recall them during tests just like I would the diagrams and quotations in my textbooks. This would help me remember the notes I had taken during class alongside my random doodles.
It’s easy to take skills like reading and writing for granted, but teaching made me better appreciate my public school education and what my teachers went through to get me to where I am today. I’m grateful for the teachers in my life who recognized my need to draw and write poetry as a method for learning and processing information, rather than chalking them up as acts of rebellion. All that being said, I would love to hear from other writers and artists in the WordPress community about your own creative methods and approaches to doing what you do. Please feel free to share your stories in the comments below. I’m also working on some new content for my blog that I’m pretty excited to share with you, so stay tuned!