One of the headings in NCTE Beliefs About the Teaching of Writing reads "People learn to write by writing." The authors state "Writing...should not be viewed as an activity that happens only within a classroom's walls." I could not agree more with this point! I love to write. I have kept a journal since I was in middle school and believe this is one of the best habits I have made for myself. I think it is important that there is a focus on academic writing, as well as the self-sponsored writing done outside of the classroom. For example, e-mail etiquette and letter writing. These are two skills that I am happy to have had focused lessons on. While writing an academic essay or fictional narrative are important, I write e-mails and letters on a daily basis.
Recently, I heard NPR correspondent Glen Wheldon talking about a resolution he made for himself. He wanted to spend less time posting on social media like Twitter and more time on "real writing." When revisiting this resolution a year later, he felt he had been somewhat harsh towards social media postings. A well written essay is always gong to be more respected, but if you can use one hundred and forty characters to get your point across, there's something to be said for that too. Ins short, I think it is important to expose your students to as many types of writing as possible. You never know what one student may excel and it could be that skill which allows them to view themself as a writer.