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The Confidence to Write

A Guide for Overcoming Fear and Developing Identity as a Writer

Practical activities to help secondary students confront and overcome their fears and anxieties around writing.

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“I can’t write.”

How often do we hear this every day from students at all different skill levels?  What is it about writing that causes such self-doubt, disabling procrastination, and fear of failure? 

“So many students do not identify writing as a positive experience or identify themselves as writers,” Liz Prather says. “We rarely talk about the social-emotional resilience needed around the act of writing.”

 In The Confidence to Write, Liz argues that we can help students reset their writerly self-regard by naming and examining their writing identity through practical activities she calls Metawrites.  Metawrites are writing prompts that serve as invitations to students to think and write about their own writing. Woven throughout the book, along with commentary and advice from professional writers, Metawrites inspire students to confront and overcome the “I can’t write” mentality.  “By naming and disarming our fears,” Liz writes, “–imposter syndrome, perfectionism, procrastination, and so on—we provide students strategies they can use the rest of their lives.”

A positive writing identity leads to writing courage, and writing courage leads to writing confidence. Help lift the burden of the mental obstacles that can invade the writing process and inspire your students to, as Liz says, “feel the fear and write anyway.”

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