Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Writer's Rights

What is that you say?  Writers have rights?  Darn tootin’ they do.  Every artist has creative rights, except perhaps royal portrait painters of the past.  They had that sticky little beheading issue from time to time which put the kibosh on some of their creativity.  “The Queen does NOT have four chins, or a mole with a protruding hair on her left cheek.”

In my position as a teacher, I get to double-dip in my ongoing education as a writer.  Many books on methods for teaching writing are marvelous resources on the art of writing itself.

One such book is THE 9 RIGHTS OF EVERY WRITER, A GUIDE FOR TEACHERS by Vicki Spandel.  I had the privilege of attending a workshop presented by Vicki several years ago.  Not only did I walk away with fabulous lessons for my students, but thanks to her insights and love of the art of writing, I left the building a better writer.  I highly recommend this book. 

Vicki Spandel’s 9 Rights of Every Writer:
  1. The Right to Be Reflective
  2. The Right to Choose a Personally Important Topic
  3. The Right to Go “Off Topic”
  4. The Right to Personalize the Writing Process
  5. The Right to Write Badly
  6. The Right to See Others Write
  7. The Right to Be Assessed Well
  8. The Write to Go Beyond Formula
  9. The Right to Find Your Own Voice

I’d like to add two more:
10.  The Right to Give Yourself Time to Write
11.  The Right to Rip Up What You’ve Started and Begin Again Without Feeling You’ve Wasted Time

What Rights would you add?


  1. The right to connect w/other writers through critique groups, twitter, and blogging. No need to be alone!

  2. This is awesome! I love Lisa's addition, too. My favorite is the right to write badly (knowing we can tidy it up in revision). This freed me up to just write the darn story, instead of worrying too much about perfection.

  3. Here, here, Lisa.

    I think perfectionism is a huge barrier to a lot of people, Julie. I always used to teach my art students, if you hate your sketch, toss it. Art is all about the "do-over."

  4. I especially appreciate #10. It's easy to feel guilty for carving out the time to write. I'm so thankfully for a supportive family who lets me steal away in my "creativity cave."

    I'd like to add the Right to Recycle. So many of my story and book ideas I've plucked from mss that just didn't work for one reason or another. Nothing's wasted, whether it's a setting, character name or even just a good turn of phrase.

  5. Hey Michelle, lovin' the "creativity cave." I want one. Right on (or should I say Write On!) with the Right to Recycle! I have a stack of spiral notebooks with characters screaming for the right story.

  6. These are great, and I love everyone's additions. Mine would be, the right to take a break, because sometimes you need it.

  7. A break with chocolate involved, right, Kimberly?

  8. Absolutely there's got to be chocolate!