Putting the Fun in Writing: Three Ideas to Make Writing Fun

Let’s face it. Learning a new skill is hard work. For an elementary school student, learning to write requires practice, practice and more practice. It involves worksheets, workbooks, spelling and grammar. With a little thought, we can turn that into fun, fun and more fun.

Yes, it’s important to learn the rules of writing, but it’s also important to let kids see how much fun it is.

Here are three ideas to turn reluctant writers into enthusiastic wordsmiths.

1. Does your child love arts and crafts? After creating her own characters and writing a couple of sentences describing them, she can illustrate them. Using yarn and buttons, she can glue on hair and eyes. The hair can be long, short, curly or straight and whatever color she wants. Look at all of the adjectives there are to choose from. Try to set realistic goals such as writing two sentences or three adjectives.

2. Does your child love action heroes? Let him create his own. The sky is the limit here. He can stretch his imagination as he decides which special powers to give his creation. Can he fly? Time travel? See in the back of his head? The possibilities are endless. Of course, no superhero would be complete without an illustration. You can cut out fabric swatches from old clothes and glue them on construction paper to create a superhero costume. Just make sure to include a few lines on the bottom of the page for writing.

3. What about the setting? When you create the characters you also get to decide where to put them. Are they going to live on the moon? Way up high in a skyscraper? In the mountains? Playdoh is perfect here. Take a piece of construction paper and draw a horizontal line in the middle. With a ruler and pencil, draw a couple of lines on the bottom. This is for using words to describe the setting. The top half is to create a three dimensional world with playdoh. Write one sentence for each different color of playdoh.

Writing is like drawing a picture with words. When children understand that they can create with words just like they can create with crayons, they will have a lot more fun writing. By putting some of the arts into language arts, you can encourage creativity and writing at the same time. Make sure your artist and illustrator signs his or her creations.


3 Things Make the Biggest Difference in Moving Your Writing Forward

As writers, we all want to continuously be moving along in our goals. Think of it as a river. A river constantly flows. There may be places where it looks very calm and barely moving, but if you look close enough, you’ll see a current.

At times, your project feels like it’s a rushing river; other times, it’s trickling along like a small stream.

We have to manage our energy, time, and resources in both places – and everything in between – along the project spectrum. It’s easy to get caught up in your own writing and let it pull you along. The problem with that, though, is that when the torrent is done, you may feel as if you’ve been deserted. And that can lead to self-doubt. “What’s wrong with me? Yesterday, I cranked out 5000 words! Why can’t I write anything today?” And that leads further to “Oh, maybe this is an awful idea, and I should stop.” Or “No one is going to read this. Who the heck do I think I am?”

If we find ourselves in the slow and steady part of the meandering writing river, we may question if we’re ever going to get there. It seems as if everyone else you know is passing you by, full steam ahead.

Here’s the thing… life, business, writing, you name it… is a cycle. We have our high energy states, and that’s followed by a low energy state. We have our low energy states, and that’s followed by a high energy state. What can confuse it even further is when our creative energy doesn’t match our physical energy. Then we’re even more frustrated because we have all these ideas without the physical ability to put them into play. Or, worse in my opinion, plenty of energy and not one creative idea in sight.

What’s the key to managing your writing project, without getting caught up in the negative mind chatter, and keep it sailing along? Three things… Kindness, small steps, and celebrations.

First, recognize that there are cycles. BE in those cycles. Feel the gift that they bring. If you’re moaning that you have all these ideas, but you’re exhausted from a 10-day business trip and can’t possibly write a word, understand that you need rest and rejuvenation. The physical energy will come later. Capture the ideas so that you don’t lose them, and know you’ll come back to them when your physical energy is more in alignment with your creative energy.

Part of that recognition means being kind and understanding – to yourself. Most of us fall down in that area. We have such high expectations of ourselves, and we think we should be writing books, running businesses, raising kids, cooking healthy, gorgeous meals, training for a marathon, going to spinning class, volunteering in the PTA… Um, no.

Imagine that you’re talking to a friend who’s being awfully hard on herself. What would you say to her? Now turn that kindness and compassion inward.

Next, nobody ever writes “Write my book” on their to-do list on Monday and then crosses it off on Friday. It just doesn’t happen. Break down your writing project into as many small steps as you can think of. Your steps should be as concrete as find two competing books, research statistics on fuel usage in New York City from 1950 – 1990, brainstorm chapter titles, write the introduction. Put each step on an index card. Then put the cards in order. Take the top three, and that becomes your current to-do list for this project.

Finally, and this is the important part that almost everyone misses… When you complete one of those action steps, celebrate it. Give yourself a pat on the back. Call your staunchest supporter and crow!!! Cross it off the list with glee. Put a gold star on that index card. Truly let it sink in that you’re making strides in this project.

Following these three steps will keep you moving, and eventually, you’ll get to your destination.

You Want to be a Successful Writer: Make Your Writing Pay

How many books have you read about “understanding the magazine market”, “writing a book proposal” or “how to make your articles sell”? It isn’t easy for unpublished authors to break into the market. Even trying to get an agent to represent you is difficult.

You know you can write, though. You know there is a market for what you have to say.

There is an avenue, however, that is virtually untapped by many writers and it is open to EVERYONE who wants to see their works in print. You can finally take control over your own writing destiny. The best part is that you don’t have to share the profits from your works with anyone else. You keep it all.

It’s self-publishing, but on a whole different scale.

Millions of people will have access to your authored pieces. Will publishers come looking for you? It’s a definite possibility. Will you have more credibility in the publishing world? Oh, yes. You will also have solid proof of your ability to reach your target audience, too.

Before I tell you how successful you can be, let me tell you the caveats.

First, it takes some time and effort. If you are a serious writer, you already know what that is all about, though. Second, you will be writing more than you otherwise would. In fact, you will very likely be writing every day for the next couple of months. At least that is what I found myself doing. If you love to write as much as I do, though, it will not be an issue at all.

Last, it will most likely become your favorite thing to do. (Read: Prepare to become obsessed with your success) I am absolutely serious when I say that you will enjoy it so much you won’t want to do anything else. My kids can’t drag me away from the computer some days. I just love what I’m doing. I have spoken with many other people, just like you and me, who have done this and they have had the same reaction. It’s just plain fun.

So, those are the pitfalls.

Now, I can tell you the good news. You have a myriad of ways to earn money with your writing. For less than $1 per day, you can reach hundreds of thousands of potential readers “buyers” of your works. You can also sell your material in a variety of ways. In addition to this, there are a variety of other ways to make money that don’t even have anything to do with writing.

Ok, enough of that. You can read more of the details if you’re interested. For now, let’s focus on how you can accomplish this.

If you’re like me, you have probably been writing for awhile. I have two books, both of which have been rejected by big-name publishers. I can handle rejection pretty well, so that’s not a real problem for me. What bothered me was that I knew I had good material and no way to reach my intended audience. Sound familiar? You have probably been there, too.

Why should I be limited in what I can do just because someone else doesn’t see things the same way I do?

My answer? Find another way to reach my audience. That’s exactly what I have done, too. I created a web site dedicated to one of my books. I intend to do the same for the other book, too.

I am living my dream of being published. Not only am I reaching my target audience, but I am also having numerous articles published on other sites. I have been contacted by two other sites to write for them as well. A third site asked (and I agreed) to provide advice to the members of its site on the very subject I wrote about. I am an instant expert.

Less than $1 per day and I am published, in demand and am starting to receive checks from my site.

It is a work in progress. My book, which will soon be available on the site, is being turned into an e-book. Guess who gets to keep all the profits? Yes, that would be me.

Just think about it. It might work for you. I just know that as writer, it is extremely hard to get your name out there for the right people to see it. This gives you one more opportunity to make a name for yourself.