Tomorrow, April 10, is Encourage a Young Writer Day. People – especially educators – are encouraged to support the minds of young writers. While I know things are a little different right now, we can still encourage young people around us to tap into their creativity and write.
I was blessed by an educator at an early age who encouraged me to write. Not just once a year, but throughtout our class-year together. Mrs. Rosemary Mitchell encouraged all of us to use our imaginations to their fullest each week in a course she called Imagery, and it was what I looked forward to the most each week. The lights would be turned off, we would put our heads on our desks, and she would walk us through scenes and scenarios to picture in our minds. Once her prompt story was told, we would write.
At the end of that school year when it came time to present our class awards, I was given the Longfellow Award, for my poetry and stories. I was also given the lasting encourgement to keep writing, which I still do to this day. It is my strongest passion. I love sitting down with a pend and paper, or screen and keyboard, and putting words to the stories I can make play in my mind. I don’t have Mrs. Mitchell talking me through it anymore, but the lessons on conjuring up those imaginary worlds stuck, and I still use her methods today.
Putting thoughts and feelings to paper can be a scary thing, especially for young writers, which is why it’s so important we encourage them to share their words. Not only is it often an emotional release for the writer, it is so often greatly rewarding for the reader as well. Who hasn’t experienced the pull of heart strings when written tragedy strikes, or the soaring pride over a favorite character’s success? Who doesn’t have a favorite line of prose or a song lyric (song writers!) they can pull from memory? Those emotional attachments we make to imaginary people and places and things are because someone encouraged a writer to write.
You don’t have to be an educator to encourage a writer. Give a writer in your life a journal. A blank journal is like giving them a whole book of opening lines and new characters for them to create. Another great way is through prompts. Prompts, like Mrs. Mitchell’s imagery stories, are the first spark in a story. There are countless sites online with free prompts. Add them to lunches, tape them to bathroom mirrors, send them in a text, and then wait to see what your young writer can do with a simple opening line!
To get everyone started I’m going to share a few original prompts by me starting tomorrow and for the next six days on my Facebook page. So follow me there at Natalie Dumas-Heidt Books. Let me know if you or a young writer in your life uses them! I will be!