Friday, August 31, 2018

Writing Tips for Kids - How to Start

by Susan Stephenson,

This is the first in my new series of writing tips for kids. Over coming weeks you’ll see new short articles, each of them addressing young writers and dealing with a topic helpful to them. I’ve created a new List for these articles and will add to it over time. The List is embedded below.

Writing Tips for Kids - How to Get Started

Our minds are full of amazing stuff, but sometimes when we start to write, the ideas disappear. This happens to lots of writers, no matter how old they are. Try some of these things to spark your writing:

* Read lots! Reading regularly really does help your writing skills and it helps you build your imagination muscles!

* If a teacher has given you a subject to write about, take a few minutes to dream before you plan your story. Play with the subject in your mind. Try jotting down any words that float into your head. Don't worry about making sense, or writing in sentences at the start. Actually writing or typing can get ideas to flow. Later, see if your ideas will expand into a story plan or actual story.

* Try acting out your story idea. You could use toys or puppets to help, and they even might take life and give you lines of dialogue for your story. They can also help you with ideas for characters.

* Most of us have a table where we sit to write at home. Changing that place can help. Try writing under the table, in your favourite tree, or another secret place. I know writers who use a special pen or book for their writing. I have a notebook I carry everywhere so I can quickly jot down any ideas that pop up.

* Music can help too. I like to play music to suit the story I'm writing. If I'm working on a picture book for young kids, I'll play something fast and fun. Music helps me to dream, and dreaming is important for writers.

* Be on the alert for good writing ideas. Writers find them everywhere. Maybe you'll be watching a movie, and think, “But what if the aliens only wanted to be friends?” Jot that idea down. When your little brother gets his thumb stuck in a tap, think how to use that scene in a story. If you're lying on the grass watching a cloud shaped like a two-headed whale, let your thoughts wander and see if an idea for a story jumps into your head. When you're stuck, pull those ideas out and see what happens.

* Ask the question “what if...?”. That's probably the most important question a writer can use. Perhaps you've written a great start to your story and run out of ideas. Think “what if...?” What if the pirates' boat starts to leak? What if the teacher's wig flies off? What if the girl makes friends with the baby monster?

* By thinking like a writer, by keeping an eye out for good ideas, by acting out and playing with ideas, you'll build those writing skills. Read lots of books and above all, don’t forget to dream!


Parents and teachers might also be interested in my Lists, Encouraging Children to Read, Write and Create, and Great Ideas for Teaching Kids to Write.

Clipart Credit: Phillip Martin

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