Many of the children who come to my creative writing club start out as reluctant writers. They have absolutely no problem talking, funnily enough, and that’s fine if they’re sharing ideas. But when it comes to actually writing these ideas down, it’s often a different story.
‘I don’t know what to write.’
‘I can’t do it.’
These are phrases I hear all the time. I tell them being negative won’t get them anywhere and encourage them to just go for it. More often than not, once they get over the barrier of the first few sentences, it’s difficult to get them to stop. I often have to kick them out because the next class is due to start!
The blank page syndrome is a tricky one though isn’t it? Writers of all ages and experience can suffer from this. We know we should just get on and write, but sometimes, the getting going is the difficult bit.
Writing is generally a solitary process, but working in groups of six, as we do at Storymakers, can really help with the creative process, especially, I think, for children. During next term at the Story Writing Course, we will be really taking advantage of this.
Instead of the children working individually on their own stories, we will be working together as a team, with everyone contributing ideas, discussing characters, order of events and plot.
This, I hope, will encourage those reluctant writers by taking the pressure off the actual writing itself. This barrier is what puts children off even trying in the first place, but I want them to see and enjoy the process of creating a story, bringing characters to life and producing something magical.
We will take turns to be the nominated writer, guided by the rest of the group, so that between us we put together a story – one we’re all agreed on. Once we’ve constructed the initial draft, I will give them each a copy to read through and allow them to add their own personal touches.
Perhaps they might like to add a little twist to the plot, perhaps they’d like to take the ending on a different turn. That is up to them. The important lesson here is, once they have the initial draft in their hands, they have something constructive to work from, something that will hopefully spark ideas and encourage them to add their own words to without the fear of having to build a whole story from scratch.
If you think your child might benefit from this type of approach, or you’d like to discuss what we do at Storymakers, please feel free to get in touch.
You can book a place on the Story Writing Course via the website at a cost of £37.50 for a five-week term. The course runs every Saturday, 2.20-3.20 p.m. at the Storymakers studio in Sevenoaks.