Slow Writing eBook – contributions wanted

//Slow Writing eBook – contributions wanted

Hey all!

In a flush of Twitter inspired enthusiasm, @redgirob, @bryngoodman and I have come up with a crazy idea. What if we put together a crowd sourced, not for profit eBook detailing the various uses, applications and examples to which my idea of Slow Writing has been put?

Hang on, I hear you cry, what bleedin’ ‘eck’s Slow Writing?

Where’ve you been? For any cave dwellers, you’ll be pleased to know I’ve written several posts about it:

Slow Writing: how slowing down can improve your writing
Black space: improving writing by increasing lexical density
The art of beautifully crafted sentences
A new twist on Slow Writing
Revisiting Slow Writing – how slowing writing might speed up thinking

But if you can’t be bothered to wade through that lot, this sums it up:

I first came up with the idea when teaching an intervention class  of Year 11 C/D borderline boys in about 2008. Broadly speaking they were willing, but no matter what I tried the writing they produced was leaden, plodding stuff. I gave them all kinds of outlandish and creative prompts which they would dead bat and produce yet another dreary yawnfest. Needless to say, we were all getting a bit irritated with each other. Out of sheer frustration I decide to give them explicit instructions on how to write a text sentence by sentence.

Sort of like this:

  • Your first sentence must starting with a present participle (that’s a verb ending in ‘ing’)
  • Your second sentence must contain only three words.
  • Your third sentence must contain a semi-colon
  • Your fourth sentence must be a rhetorical question
  • Your fifth sentence will start with an adverb
  • Your sixth sentence will be 22 words exactly.

And so on. Much to my surprise they loved it. I remember one boy saying, “Bloody hell! This is the first time I’ve written anything that isn’t rubbish!” and asking if he could take it home to show his mum.

Also David Riley produced a web-based Slow Writing app as part of his Triptico suite of teaching tools

Since first writing about it in 2011, many many wonderful teacher have used, adapted and experimented with the idea, and we thought it might be a nice idea to collate it all in one handy guide.

After a very hasty discussion we think the best option is to put ideas from both primary and secondary teachers into one volume, but that may well depend on the interest we get. @redgirob will be collating primary submissions and Chris Curtis (@xris31) will be looking after secondary contributions – if you’d like to get involved, please register your interest here. The plan is to charge a nominal (?) price and give the proceeds to a charity on which we have yet to decide (Feel free to suggest appropriate organisations and good causes.)

This is an exciting opportunity to see your name in print and generally do good things!

2014-08-07T14:58:37+00:00July 31st, 2014|Featured|


  1. Gina Johnson July 31, 2014 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    One Slow Writing technique I have used in the past is to take some sentences from a really good writer and have the students model or copy the style but change the subject. So if Conrad is describing the steamboat slowly going upriver, they copy is sentence length and style (They use a noun, adverb, verb, conjunction exactly where he does). The subject changes so they describe a dolphin swimming, an ice skater skating, a soldier crawling on his belly, and so on). They all model the same group of sentences, but the results vary greatly even though the sentence length and style is identical.

    • David Didau August 1, 2014 at 9:21 am - Reply

      Thanks Gina – this sounds ace! Have you signed up to contribute?

  2. talesbehindtheclassroomdoor August 1, 2014 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    This is very interesting. I’m interested in students leaving their writing for some time and then returning to it with fresh eyes, i.e. looking at a story they’ve written after six months again and re-drafting it. This is what happens in the “real world” of writing, particularly writing fiction. I like the idea of getting students to do exercises that they make them think “slowly”, in the Daniel Kahemann sense of “Thinking Fast and Slow” too. So I might be able to write something on this…I think it’s very important.

  3. […] Slow Writing eBook – contributions wanted. Hey all! […]

  4. Mrlockyer August 31, 2014 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Sign me up, I’ve used it with my rotational writing activity.

  5. Andreea Watson August 15, 2015 at 6:22 am - Reply

    Nice written blog on this topic that teaching is slavery or the career… it is an arguable discussion since many years…

  6. Jonny September 5, 2016 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    Is this book still being produced?/Has it beeb produced.

Constructive feedback is always appreciated

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