Creative kids are everywhere. I’m astonished at the sophistication of some young people’s writing. In this post Creative Writing Ideas for Children and Teenagers, you'll find some great inspiration.
How do writers write?
How do you write?
Where do creative writing ideas come from?
Do You Like to Write?
Even if you think you don’t like writing or that you don’t write, think about this: do you write emails? Text messages? Assignments? Do you post on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest? Do you write a blog? Without even realising it, you are writing all the time.
We all write even if we think we don’t.
So How do Writers Write? Where do their Ideas Come from?
I’m going to show you rather than tell you. ‘Showing’ rather than ‘telling’ is also a technique in writing that you may have heard about. You can read more about that here.
As writers, it's important we read and make use of the richness of language. I’ve also mentioned this in a previous blog:
- In 1974, there were 475,000 words in common use in the English language
- That decreased to 215,000 commonly used words by 1995
- In 2006, it was believed to have reduced further to 90,000 words.
What does this mean? The people who write dictionaries use the words that are in common use, i.e. the words that most people know and understand. That means that the less common words – words that actually make our language richer – are being left out. That means they might eventually be forgotten. How can we make a difference and help to reverse this trend? By reading a lot and using a richer vocabulary. By using the dictionary to look up words we don’t know. Everyone needs to use a dictionary throughout their life. I am a professional writer and editor, yet I use a dictionary every day, to check on spellings and the correct use of words.
And this might sound strange, but the OLDER the dictionary – especially a very good one like the Oxford dictionary – the better. Why do you think that might be? One reason is that the older the dictionary, the more of these ‘lost’ words you can find.
How do you write?
When do you write? What time of the day, and how often?
Where do you write?
What do you write about? Do you write creative pieces, or emails and texts, or posts on Facebook or other social media?
Practise Creative Writing
Create a QUIET space to write.
Keep a JOURNAL or a DIARY of your inspired thoughts. Write in it regularly. No one else needs to read this. It can be your private thoughts and feelings, a vivid dream you’ve had, a description of a beautiful sunset …
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Join a writing group. Many writing associations have groups for young writers. Join an online writing community.
Most of all, YOU WRITE BY WRITING!
Writing is a Creative Process
Don't place too many rules or restrictions on yourself. Each writer has a different 'how', 'when' and 'where'. Read about the writing habits of famous authors, and you'll see each of them has different ways of working.
There's no right or wrong way.
Why We Write
Most writers would agree it’s something we need to do, almost as much as we need to eat and breathe, but on a soul level rather than a physical one. I love this quote from Pearl S. Buck, which expresses so well the powerful drive behind a writer’s need to write.
The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanely sensitive. To them ... a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create – so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off ... They must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating. (Pearl S. Buck)
Pearl S. Buck was an American writer and novelist (1892–1973). The daughter of missionaries, she spent most of her life before 1934 in China. Her novel The Good Earth was the best-selling fiction book in the U.S. in 1931 and 1932, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1932. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1938 for her depictions of peasant life in China. She was an amazing woman and it's well worth Googling her to find out more!
‘Writer’s block’ means when you just can't seem to get any words down. You can read more about writer's block here.
Here's an exercise that might not only unblock your creativity, but also lead to a great story!
Unblock the Writer Inside You
Ten Short Sentences
Write ten short, easy sentences – write them one by one, using a KEY WORD or a KEY IDEA for each sentence. It’s best to use SIMPLE words, and to write just ONE SHORT SENTENCE for each key word.
Just write. Don’t think too much. Here are some examples. You can use these or make up your own.
- Key word - weather
- Key word - an inanimate object. Example: a rock
- Key word - an article of clothing. Example: a pair of shoes
- Key word - what is the weather doing now? Example: raining
- Key word - a sound. Example: a continuous background sound, like a bell ringing
- Key word - a mood or feeling. Connect the mood or feeling to the inanimate object. Even if it’s the rock, just go with it! Keep your creative mind open
- Key word - an outstanding character trait. Example: blackened and missing teeth. This is the first glimpse of one of your characters
- Key word - a sound. The same as before; make it happen again. In the example above, the bell ringing
- Key word - another article of clothing. Example: a woollen jacket. Link it to a physical action; a character may put it on or take it off
- Key word - first piece of dialogue. Make it unexpected. Simple. A question or a statement.
Now, start with a PREMISE – an IDEA for your story. Choose one of the following premises – just one – or make up your own:
- On a dark night you’re returning home from violin practice when you’re stopped by …
- Your best friend calls to tell you she’s watching a scary movie …
- A black cat crosses your path and …
- Mary Poppins turns up at your door and says …
- You go for a walk in the mountains and can’t find the path back …
- You win $10,000,000 in the Lotto
- Write about a picture you like.
Put it All Together
Now start writing, using your PREMISE and the KEYWORDS and KEY IDEAS you came up with earlier.
Write no more than two pages.
If you find your idea expanding, write some more tomorrow, and the next day, and the next …
Before you know it, you might even find yourself writing a novel!
Client Testimonial: Children’s Author Trish Teske
Recommending Gail of editors4you is my pleasure! Throughout the entire process of manuscript appraisal and editing, Gail’s positive and constructive feedback at each review of Gruntz made the task of fine-tuning certain elements easy to achieve. She listens to your reasoning on particular characters and themes and offers clear and concise suggestions to progress the story for readability and consistency.
Thank you again, Gail, for your professional attention and time with Book One!—Trish Teske, Gruntz: Finding zO
Photo credit Drew Perales Unsplash