These ideas have been written with teenagers in mind (see my earlier blog post ‘Four ways Creative Writing can help your teenager’), but in truth these activities can be used by anyone who can pick up a pencil and write!
I often find it helps to set a timer for these activities (Ten minutes should be about right, although I find students often feel that nine or eleven minutes is more rebellious!). If you still want to write after the timer goes off, that’s fine. The time limit just works to spur you so you don’t see a blank page and panic.
(1) ‘What’s in a name?’ poem
Write your name down the left side of a piece of paper. Then try to think of a word (it can be a noun, verb, adjective, whatever you like!) for every letter of your name. Do not spend too long on this; just write down whatever you think of!
So Emily might write:
Then write a poem (it doesn’t have to rhyme) using all the words in the correct order.
(2) “Happy Birthday to you!”
It’s your birthday today and you have just opened the worst present ever. What is it?
(3) “But Daisy, blue bananas don’t exist.”
You are walking through a busy supermarket when you hear this sentence. Create a script (For Eastenders? Or The Archers? Or TOWIE?) which features this conversation.
(4) Story prompts
Write a story for eight minutes. You must use all the words in this list (If someone else can read the list out to you over the course of your eight minutes then that is even better, but otherwise just write out your story whilst adding in the words every sentence or so).
Happy Theatre Bounce
Jacket Lemon Strictly
Sister Jewel Catastrophe
(5) The Argument
Bob hates Jim. Why? Well, write a letter from Bob telling Jim why he can’t forgive him. Then write Jim’s response.
(6) “We were eating cheese sandwiches…” : A story starter
Copy that sentence down into your book. Now complete the story!
You can use each or all of these triggers, it’s up to you. But whether you’ve “hit a block” or are putting pen to paper for the first time, any of these tips should prove useful.
I am currently working for a Pupil Referral Unit in the south, having previously taught in comprehensives in Oxford and London. My particular interests are History and (English) Literature, but as a mum of two small boys I am also increasingly interested in debates surrounding primary education in general and parenting in particular.