I wrapped up my National Council of Teachers of English Conference experience with the magic of the writing marathon. The writing marathon is an important part of my life as a human and writer, teacher and National Writing Project site leader, and whenever I get to write in community with other writers whether it is writers I know well such as my writing group or my students or strangers (Friday’s marathon was a mix of both longtime friends and strangers), whether it is in person or virtual, the simple exercise of writing and sharing together (ideally in multiple rounds of writing) is one of my favorite things. Even if your life does not allow you to engage in this practice multiple times a week as I do, I cannot stress enough the benefits of regularly engaging in a writing marathon. Join the National Writing Project’s Write Across America to discover the magic too. Sign up today. Learn more here. And if you are looking for a different sort of virtual marathon work sign up for the Just Write Virtual Writing Group.
At the 2023 NCTE Conference there were multiple opportunities to engage with the writing marathon. Richard Louth (the father of the marathon) led an in person writing marathon in Columbus on Thursday and then on Friday we held our in-person marathon celebrating four years of Write Across America. Each table engaged with invitations from multiple stops (see itineraries). Our table included Wisconsin and Kentucky.
We decided to forgo an exploration of the map (as we were encouraged to do) and instead focus simply on introducing ourselves as writers and then launching into rounds of writing inspired by some Kentucky verses. If you are looking for writing inspiration just dive into those verses. I promise you will find something to write about. Even though we encouraged our writers to also consider continuing their “I am a writer from…” exploration or to draw inspiration from the words of their fellow writers we all found inspiration in our randomly assigned Kentucky verses.