Nov 2 - 2022

141: Where Does Your Mind Go When You’re Given a Writing Prompt?

About the Episode

Today on our show, we bring you a story by one of Allison’s 7th grade students. She spent two months teaching English to 7th and 8th graders at a private school in Miami, and because she’s her, she assigned personal essay after personal essay. She learned about their parents, what they eat for dinner, their nannies, grandparents, and favorite sport. They resisted getting personal, the same way Allison did when she started writing.

Most people seem to struggle with writing about themselves, getting vulnerable, telling a story that might get them made fun of. But, not Webber. Webber is a kid who draws in class to stay focused. He pays attention and asks questions. When he speaks, his words matter. By the end of the first week of school, Allison had an inkling Webber was brilliant and unique. 

The Hispanic Heritage Month’s Essay Contest was optional for the school but a graded class assignment for Allison’s class. The students worked on the 500-word essay in class and those who weren’t Hispanic were stumped. Allison told them to write about being stumped. On the day the essay was due, Webber handed in an incredibly mature and well-written essay. A week later, at the culmination of the week’s Hispanic heritage celebration, Webber won the competition. 

Today, we bring you Webber’s essay, completely written on his own. Allison did no editing. What’s cool about this essay and many essays that are created from a writing prompt, is that Webber played the piano and let his mind wander. On this episode we talk about ways to relax our minds so we can write–either through being quiet, playing a sport, or using another art form.

Webber is a 12-year-old student at Ransom Everglades Middle School in Coconut Grove, Florida. His story is called The Bossa Nova.

Writing Class Radio is hosted and produced by Allison Langer,  Andrea Askowitz, and Zorina Frey. Audio production by Matt Cundill, Evan Surminski, and Aidan Glassey at the Sound Off Media Company. Theme music by Justina Shandler.

There’s more writing class on our website including essays to study, editing resources, video classes, writing retreats, and live online classes. Join our writing community.

Follow us on Patreon to join our First Draft weekly writers groups. You have the option to join me on Tuesdays 12-1 ET and Zorina Wednesdays 6-7pm ET. You’ll write to a prompt and share what you wrote. 

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A new episode will drop every other WEDNESDAY. 

There’s no better way to understand ourselves and each other, than by writing and sharing our stories. Everyone has a story. What’s yours?

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