The other day I was approached by a mom of a pre-teen who had, on her own time, written a short story. The mom asked me to read it over (with her daughter’s permission) to see what I thought. Here was my first thought – what an amazing mom to take this step! To all the adults out there who notice the talents of our young ones and bring them to the light – great job!!
My second thought, without even reading the story, was this girl is totally a writer. The fact that she wrote this on her own time shows that she has an affinity for writing and that, in some way, this is her gift that will serve her purpose. Maybe she’ll become a full-time writer, maybe she’ll use her writing to heal herself or others, maybe her writing will allow her to be a perceptive, sensitive individual in whatever vocation she chooses, in her relationships, in the way she views the world, and in the way she leaves her mark in it. Whatever way the gift takes shape, it’s there; our children are truly evidence of this phenomenon.
My third and fourth and fifth thoughts all collided as ideas started taking shape on how I could respond to this opportunity to mentor a young writer. I generated a list of fun ways for any emerging writer to explore this gift. If you have ideas to add to this list, I’d appreciate it if you did in a comment below!
- Start a journal – this could be a book of observations, daily record of the details of the day, a feelings log, clippings of newspaper or magazine articles with personal responses, doodles, gratitudes, story ideas, character sketches, favourite quotes etc
- Keep an eye out for writing contests – public libraries or local writers groups hold them year-round for all ages. The non-profit I work with, Pandora’s Collective, has 3 poetry contests a year that are open internationally. *As the supportive adult, please focus on the act of writing and sharing one’s words rather than the prizes involved. I know, this is obvious, but even adult writers need to remind ourselves of this and I just want to gently mention it here.
- Start or join a book club. Good writers read…a lot! A book club is a great way to foster friendships that value the same activities.
- Start or join a writers group. All it takes is a kitchen table, more than one person, and some helpful prompts to get writing. You can look online for writing prompts for all ages (try google) or ask me. I’d love to help! I do this once a month with a group of adults and it’s a blast!
- Attend book launches, particularly in the preferred genre. Usually the author does a reading, and answers the audience’s questions.
- Play word games during family night. Anyone have any favourites?
Do you know a child with an interest in writing or something other than? How are you fostering this interest? Please share your thoughts – we would all benefit!