Creative writing sounds inherently as though it should be easy—after all, the word “creative” expresses a sense of freedom and possibility that other, more restrictive forms of writing don’t have. However, sometimes the lack of boundaries makes it even more difficult to begin writing.
Kids are sometimes confused by assignments that don’t have many rules, and they may struggle to begin writing creatively. The following five tips get the creativity flowing and encourage kids to think outside the page.
1. Promote New Experiences
Encourage kids to pursue other interests besides writing. While it might seem counter-intuitive that the first creative writing tip suggests doing anything but writing, alternative experiences actually promote greater creativity once students return to their desks. Kids who struggle with writing can find inspiration by enjoying their favorite activities and trying new things. Exposure to a different group of people or a fresh sport offers new perspectives for writing.
2. Don’t Worry about Perfection
Perfection is the greatest enemy of creative writers everywhere. When a person writes about things that matter deeply to him or her, it’s only natural to care about the quality of the finished product. However, people shouldn’t worry about perfection during the early stages of writing. Students who worry too much about getting a sentence exactly right may become frustrated easily and associate the negativity they feel with writing as a whole. Instead, encourage students to write freely at first and to get as many ideas down as possible. They can go back later and correct mistakes during the editing process.
3. Write about What You Love
Though you might be tempted to give students a particular writing assignment, sometimes it’s best to sit back and let them write about whatever they love most. Allow students to take a general topic and spin it in any direction that interests them. Most kids will have much more to say and will feel more comfortable writing when they are able to discuss familiar and enjoyable topics.
4. Focus on the Senses
Sensory writing is interesting writing—and focusing on the senses can also help students who are struggling to get started. Give students a setting or situation and ask them to describe what a character experiences through the lens of the five senses. What does the view look like? What noises does the character hear—shouting or the rustling of leaves? Are there any smells in the air? Can the character taste anything—flavored lip balm or perhaps a delicious apple pie? What is the character touching?
5. Set Small Goals
Small, realistic goals for assignments also help kids who are struggling with creative writing. Encourage kids to write for 10 minutes daily or to compose one or two paragraphs. With an end goal in sight, even students who dislike writing will know what they can expect and will have an easier time completing the task. As students get more comfortable with writing, you can slowly increase the length of assignments—and watch as their creativity increases at the same time.