I've been reading these for a couple of weeks, now. Each one draws me in; I read and wait, wanting their answers to be my answers. That's because I haven't been able to answer the question for myself, at least not satisfactorily. That said, each one has me nodding along.
Catherine Mohr: Writing down my half-finished ideas gives me a way of discussing these ideas with my future self.
Lucy Snow: I write to gain perspective.
Sharon Washington: I write so I can create poems that only I read and songs for a chorus of one.
All of this and more. But one essay gives me pause--I wanted to read the essay by mathematician Freeman Dyson, mostly to understand why someone who thinks with numbers would write. (Most of the math teachers I know hate to write.) Actually, I am always looking for ammunition, benefits of writing for when I talk to math teachers. But this line jumped out at me:
Hardy replied, "Young men should prove theorems; old men should write books."
He divides his life into two parts, the younger man who thinks with numbers and the older man who now writes because he can no longer compute/calculate well.
But when I grew older, I could no longer compete with the bright young people doing mathematics, and I remembered Hardy's advice. At the age of forty, it was time to practice my other skill as a writer.
I think I understand what he is trying to say, but I am bothered by my first take on this--that writing takes a less critical mind, that writing is what one does when the brain goes. I don't think he believes this, but there is a slight arrogance to his position. Am I being too harsh?
On the other hand, Marsha Ratzel, who happens to be one of my PLP colleagues, does a great job of explaining why science teachers should write. She is currently in the process of writing a book about teaching sciene, and I love reading her regular blog posts about what's happening in her class.
Once you incorporate writing for reflection and collaborating with other teachers into your routine, millions of possibilities begin to open. Ideas take shape and come into focus much more clearly, and I think writing gives you clarity that other mediums cannot do. Writing empowers me to be more effective in what I do with students and in my classroom.