Want to encourage your pupils to try creative writing?

Share these top tips – from the author of the Darcy Burdock series – with your class to get them excited about the process…

1 | Just write!

If you’re worried about where or how to begin, quite simply – don’t! Enjoy having fun being creative, playing about on the page with words and language.

Writing should always be fun, even if you’re writing something tricky or challenging or a story that is sad, it should never feel like homework.

You don’t need a fancy posh pen or a brand-new notebook to get started – you can write with crayons, pencils, pens, a phone and any paper will do!

Just get it down and get it done! (Remember you can still tell an amazing story with few words or even no words – drawing, painting, cutting and sticking are all wonderful ways to tell a story.) 

2 | There are no rights or wrongs

There are no good or bads. All writing is good writing. And the great thing about writing is that everyone can do it. Forget ‘perfection.’

Forget lovely handwriting. Don’t worry about trying to ‘sound’ like an ‘author’, or ‘write’ like a ‘writer’. Write like you. If you are writing, then you can call yourself a writer!

And as for spelling or grammar – forget perfection! It can block your creativity, so if you can’t find a word you’re looking for? Invent it! Create new languages and have fun exploring words.

Writing certainly doesn’t have to make sense! Enjoy the experience of writing how you talk rather than trying to sound like somebody else or if you’ll get top marks for anything.

So long as you’re writing from your brain and heart, you’re doing it right and you can’t go wrong!

3 | Play!

Live and get out in the wild! You can’t write if you don’t have anything to write about, can you? So, experience life in all its rich juiciness.

Be curious, be adventurous, be nosy and playful. Read as much as you can, reading is the best way to open a door in your mind, but you have to live too! Live out loud!

Ask questions, listen, watch, taste, touch and smell. Tromp about outdoors, go swimming, get near the sea, a lake or river (or a puddle will do), bake for no reason, meet up with a friend, hang out with an animal, watch a film, take a nap, phone a loved one – say hello!

Make a wish upon a star, smell a flower, taste something different. Something new. Read the newspaper. Go for a walk. Go to a gallery or museum. What do you see?

Learn a new word. Make up a new word and teach it to your family. Have a go at playing an instrument. Be close to nature, put your hands in the soil, watch bugs, put your hand on the bark of a tree, look up at the sky.

Laugh – really belly laugh. Dance around the kitchen. Jump on your bed. Immerse yourself in a busy place, how does that feel? Get outdoors, it’s all waiting…

4 | Keep a notebook…

...and scribble everything down. This doesn’t have to be a diary. These are your ideas. Don’t cross anything out, don’t throw anything away.

Try writing down simple things, like how does brushing your teeth feel? What did you have for breakfast? What do your shoes look like?

Write down your dreams, what you see when you look out of your bedroom window? Try jotting bits down on your journey to school. Colours, sounds, texture.

Practise looking at the big picture and then zooming into something small. Detail is everything. Take a pencil with you and sketch too, to help you remember.

Add to the notebook as you go. It might not be useful now but one day it could have just the very idea you’re hunting for. 

5 | Write for yourself

Don’t worry what anybody else will think or say, this is your work and not to be judged by anybody. Write for yourself, from your brain and heart about it all.

You never have to show anybody what you write. As long as you are having fun or you are moved, or you find yourself time-travelling to escape to a new land, then you are doing it and it belongs to you. Always.

If you do ever share your work (very well done) and somebody does not quite like it or say ‘that’s amazing’ that is ok. Sometimes people don’t always say what they mean. Plus, not everybody has to like what we write. And that is no reason to stop or give up.

If you like it, or feel better for getting it down, then that is all that matters. And you should feel very, very, very proud of yourself.

Laura Dockrill is the author of many children’s books, including the popular Darcy Burdock series. Her new title, The Dream House (Piccadilly Press, £9.99) is out now. Find out more at lauradockrill.co.uk or follow Laura on Twitter at @LauraDockrill.