Does Your Child Want To Be A Writer

Supporting Your Child’s Writing Development

In the first part (entitled Encouraging Children To Write) of this guest post by author Jean Cross, she talked about her own writing when she was a child. In the conclusion below, Jean talks a little about writing as an adult and then offers insights on how to encourage your child in his or her writing pursuits.

Jean’s thoughts:
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So what have I been writing since I was a child? Well, if anyone in my family wanted a serious letter written, they turned to me. At work I doddled off reports and sometimes wrote to the papers when moved to do so. But the imaginative stuff found its was out on rare occasions too.

Over the years I have written some poetry, humorous and otherwise. I take a delight in composing letters such as the one I wrote to the people who operate the speed cameras, asking for a photograph of me in my car. But by and large I have not written much.

Until lately that is. I finally made it to writing my own book. At fifty two, I know I have to keep writing. Nothing else satisfies.

Why didn’t I start to write earlier? The answer is simple. Nobody thought of it.

My parents or teachers never translated my school abilities into a possible career opportunity. I don’t blame them. The scope just didn’t exist back there, back then.

My own expectations were very limited. It never even crossed my mind that I could be a writer. I had no confidence regarding my place in the world.

The few options that faced me on leaving school scared me because I knew I wouldn’t fit in. I suppose I had always been more of an observer, quiet, on the outskirts, ill at ease with strangers.

Perhaps the single biggest factor holding me back was lack of information. I just didn’t know what possibilities were out there. This might seem bewildering in our information age, but, as they say, if I knew then what I know now., things may have been different.

So, to come full circle, what of the little writer of today? Surely an array of opportunity has blossomed with the rise of technology? Perhaps not.

You may, or may not have given some thought to the possibility of your
child growing into a writer. You may, or may not welcome some advice from someone who was once a little writer themselves. But here it is anyway.

Be gentle. You are dealing with a delicate sapling. Too much attention will kill the shoot as surely as too little. Let the talent evolve organically.

Try to find an outlet outside of school. Chances are, if you have a writer, they are already ahead of what is being asked of them in English class. Guide them to writing for themselves.

Perhaps start a family newsletter, ask them if they could write a funny article or poem about dad, or mum, not siblings. See if they want to send an email to grandparents – (encourage a reply).

If the little writer you know is being cared for outside of the family setting, same thing applies. Follow their lead, try to see where their interest is taking them and then try to facilitate it.

Listen. Find out what matters to them, what moves them to write. Don’t freak at teenage outpourings of angst and doom. And… and I am sure there are other thing you could do.

But you might find a good start in there somewhere. If you do nothing else, at least entertain the possibility that you may have a young writer on your hands.

If you do, and even if you don’t, best of luck with everything you do for them. I know it’s not easy. But, I suppose, what is wonderful cannot be easy.

For my part, my book is a children’s story. I didn’t set out to write one. But that is what came out and honestly, as I wrote I got the same feeling as all those years ago on a Sunday afternoon when I was glad I had finally sat down to do my essay and was one with my pen and paper. Bliss.

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Jean’s book is called The Boots of Saint Felicity and is available on Amazon.



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