Tips for Children Writing

1 Try to write something everyday for pleasure, even if it’s only a few lines.

2 You might like to keep a diary to record what you’ve done or how you feel at the end of the day.

3 Carry a small notebook and pen to jot down ideas or things that you notice. Then you won’t forget them. Some notes will come in handy later in surprising ways.

4 Keep a notebook and pen at your bedside. When you wake up, you may remember a dream or an image that appeals to you. Record it. Otherwise it will disappear.

5 If you have an idea for a story or any piece of writing, try making a collage of it. To make a collage collect cutouts from magazines, fabric, old photos or whatever seems to suit your idea. Stick them on a large piece of paper. The collage can stimulate further ideas for your writing.

6 Try different kinds of writing: poems, stories, what you notice around you, real events and things you care about, such as your pets or things you love to do.

7 Read, read, read. You’ll see how other people write and be able to pick up tips from them. Gradually you’ll learn to read as a writer, not only as a reader.

8 Once you get a feel for writing poetry, you can try writing patterned poems if you feel adventurous. Patterned poems are different poetic forms such as acrostics, or villanelles. They can be trickier than free verse, but you don’t have to stick strictly to the pattern. Many poets don’t. It’s much better to capture a feeling, or the spirit of your idea than to stick to specific lines or syllables. You can also try to make up your own patterned poem and create a new form.

In the green box is one I made up. I called it a septina because each verse has seven lines, but I’ve never been able to repeat it to the standard I’d like to. Perhaps you can have a go.

A Bit of Blue, a Scrap of Black


I drew a skylight
With a bit of blue,
And made the clouds drift.
I pinned it to my ceiling
And saw my bit of blue,
A space above,
A gateway to the sky and the clouds.

I drew some midnight,
With a scrap of black,
And mixed some moonshine.
I pinned it to my ceiling
And saw my scrap of black,
A space above,
A gateway to the night and the moon.


© Mary Green
First published, 2000, in Poetry Works Book 4 Folens

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