Once upon a time, publication was seen as the “icing” on the composition cake. Providing kids the chance to publish their work was a nice idea, but it was hardly any teacher’s top priority.
That was yesterday.
In today’s world, kids are not merely consumers of content, they are creators as well. And writing isn’t merely about getting a grade or even entertaining an audience. Writing is about connection. It’s about conversation. Collaboration. Synthesis. Publication isn’t a last stop on a writer’s journey anymore. In many ways, it’s the first.
There are a thousand different ways in which students might share their writing with real audiences. Once upon a time, writers went about the business of locating “a market” that was appropriate for their work. Today’s writers can blaze their own trail, seek their own audiences, and find their own niche. Those who are supported in doing so often find themselves leading conversations that they may not have been able to participate in yesterday, let alone set the agenda for. It’s not merely about what we have to say. Don’t get me wrong—now more than ever, kids need to know how to craft a quality message. But the definition of quality is expanding. We need to keep up with this. Today, writing is about inspiring engagement and rethinking and revising as a result. Writing is recursive. Perhaps the act of publishing can be too.
The web is full of fantastic markets for young writers. But I’m not certain that they need to find “a market” anymore. Maybe what they need is a message and a space of their own to share it in. Maybe “the market” will come to them. Maybe “the market” has something to share in return.
This post is the sixth in a series focused on the writing process and the 6+1 Traits of Writing. You may find the others here: