Start with a story.
Once upon a time there was a homeschool mom with three children who needed to learn how to write.
In a world of emojis, text messaging, and chat, this mom wanted her kids to have the skills to eloquently "say what they mean" (and the character to "mean what they say").
But she had a problem.
Since she wasn’t a writer herself, the thought of teaching her kids how to write overwhelmed her.
Get a FREE writing exercise from Creative Freewriting Adventure that features a winged pony from a scene from The Wise Woman.
There were three little students ...
With each of her children, she had a different obstacle to overcome.
Her youngest child loved to write and write and write …. (She loved writing so much that it was hard to get her to stop.) Unfortunately, her stories were difficult to understand.
Her middle child finished her writing assignments — but not without making it quite clear she thought writing was boring.
And her oldest child, well … he hated writing so much he said he’d rather scrub their toilets.
What's a mother to do?
The mom felt discouraged and a bit insecure.
She wanted her children to be excited about writing and wondered if there was any way to make it fun?
One day, while she sat staring at a blank page in her lesson planner, trying to decide which English composition textbook to use next, she heard a sizzling sound coming from the kitchen.
Rising from the dining room table, she wondered, What in the world is making that sound?
She discovered ... Bacon.
As she turned the corner and entered the kitchen, she found her oldest son busy flipping bacon in a skillet.
"Mom, you're not going to make me write again, are you? I made your favorite breakfast for you!"
He grabbed a paper towel and diligently wiped grease spots from the stove top.
"Mom, please don't make me write today!!!"
His pitiful expression—coupled with the smoky aroma—strengthened her resolve.
That's it, she decided. Whatever it takes, I will find a way to make writing fun!
Stories are easier to read.
Most people find stories easier to read and understand than non-fiction articles. They're generally a bit more fun to write, too.
So, instead of opening this article with a boring introduction, I invited you into the world of a struggling homeschool mom.
Can you relate to her?
Sometimes you just need to have fun!
I'm not going to lie to you. Learning to write well requires perseverance, focused effort, and hard work.
But in the midst of formal writing lessons, it's good to cut loose occasionally and simply make writing fun!
If you want to transform your student's writing experience from drudgery to something they anticipate with excitement, try using these writing exercises:
1. Become a character in one of your favorite stories
When you're not sure what to write about, here's an easy way to get started:
Pick a character from one of your favorite storybooks.
Next, pretend that you are that character—and give yourself an important mission.
Perhaps imagine that you, as the character, have to deliver a secret message to the president of your country.
Now tell me a short story about what happens.
(Don't worry about making it perfect. Just have fun!)
2. Write about something you care about.
What are some people, places, or activities that are important to you?
My sons told me the best way to make writing fun is to let them write about things that interest them.
They wrote about robots, cars, and their own creative cartoon characters.
Go ahead and pick something that you care about, and start writing.
3. If you're an artist...
If you're an artist, draw a picture, and then write about it.
What story is unfolding in the scene you illustrated?
Did you draw an object? Where did it come from? Tell me about it.
If you draw a person, tell me a story about him (or her).
4. If you're not an artist...
If you're not an artist, take a photograph and write about it.
Why did you snap that picture? What makes it special to you?
Is there a story you can tell about it?
5. Write with the help of a writing prompt.
One of the hardest parts of writing can be simply getting started. That's why writing prompts can be so helpful.
Actually, the four previous exercises can be categorized as "writing prompts." Each offers a way to jumpstart your writing.
I'm a big fan of synergy (which Google defines as the interaction or cooperation of two or more ... agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects).
It's important to develop writing skills, and it's helpful to incorporate a bit of play into the process of learning how to write. But I think it's especially important—whenever possible—to weave critical thinking into every learning experience.
That's why Creative Freewriting Adventure combines critical thinking with playful writing prompts.