giftofwordsAre you creating a legacy that invites others into the wild and wonderful world of words? Do those around you see you writing in a journal, plotting out a book, outlining an essay, pondering a blog post? Are you showing them it’s okay to put their lives into words? And not only okay, but amazing?

We’ve always been a word-rich family. We couldn’t help it, really. My father jotted poetry on scraps of paper in foxholes, and my mother wrote songs and poems and kept journals throughout her life. I was a shoe-in to love words.

And when I had my own family, I naturally wanted them to love them, too. It started out well when I married a guy who was an impressive lyricist (he still won’t own up to it, but I won’t ever let him forget it). We longed for our children to feel free as creative writers, so when we started homeschooling, that goal became even easier.

I admit, we were total word nerds. We would sit around and create round-robin poetry in our living room and have verse “wars” off the cuff at dinner. They always came to my Wordweavers workshops and jumped into the wide variety of writing activities with gusto. One son at 11 was invited to speak on creative writing at a local elementary school, an honor the now-27-year-old has never forgotten.

One of our family’s most timeless writing endeavors has to be our Family Journal. We kept the large purple spiral notebook on the coffee table with pens and markers always nearby—the ultimate coffee table book for our family and any guests who stopped by.

We drew pictures, wrote love notes to one another, doodled, wrote silly poetry, journaled, encouraged each other, wrote thank-you notes, jotted down milestones, and worded out life’s big questions. One of our best practices was quoting cool things the kids would say, along with the date and their age at the time.

Over the years our spiral notebook began to come apart, so we pulled out the pages and placed them into page protectors in a 3-ring binder. Our Family Journal continues to reside in our living room, and we continue to add family writings that now include our grandchildren. We consider it a legacy of our family writing together, and hope our children will begin their own Family Journals at home.

Whatever activities you might create, it is well worth the effort to cultivate an environment where those around you are invited to write—to truly enjoy the beauty and fun and challenge and personal fulfillment of wording their lives.

What is your attitude toward writing? Is it a chore, something you fear or dread or endure? Or is it something you approach with excitement and intrigue, such that the imaginations of those around you are piqued and they can’t wait to pick up a pen?

Do you care enough to nurture a natural love for words? Dare you to start right now.

 

 

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Featured at Write Where It Hurts

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