A fellow writer and I are doing an assembly this week. We will be talking to children about why writing can be challenging and how to face these challenges. Here is an excerpt from our talk.

Challenges can be hard, but they are also a lot of fun to handle. I think one thing that can be challenging for all of us is writing. As a writer and former teacher of writing, I’m very familiar with how challenging writing can be. How do we face the challenges of writing and become better at it?

1. Be a reader. To be a good writer, you need to all also be a good reader. Some of us love reading, and for us, writing’s a little easier. If you like writing, read even more! If you don’t enjoy writing, read books about subjects that interest you. Then, when you have an assignment to write something, talk with you teacher to see if there’s some way you can somehow link the assignment with something you like.

2. Show effort. Writing’s also hard because it takes discipline. But did you know that the disciplines of reading and writing can make you more a more creative person? It’s like the water in this bottle. Pretend the water is creativity. If I tried to throw the water on someone, it wouldn’t go very far. Throwing it from the bottle is like me not reading or writing very much. Not much creativity comes out. (Then I put the top on the squeeze bottle). But putting the top on this bottle is like me disciplining myself to read and write more. The discipline helps me channel my creativity. And when you channel water (or your creativity) it’s much stronger and comes out a lot better!

3. Make a plan. Writing takes planning. Often we want to get writing tasks done the first time we sit down, but writing can take several sittings. Before you start writing, do some preplanning.

First, pick a topic or experience you know a lot about.

Second, gather materials and brainstorm ideas.

Third, set a goal to write your draft in a couple of sittings.

4. Share your writing. You’ve just finished a huge writing assignment. You never thought it would be done, but you did it. Pat yourself on the back. You are done. Give yourself a hand. Wait, you’re not done.

After you’ve put a lot of time and effort into a piece of writing, share it with someone. Let someone enjoy what you’ve done. Ask a partner to give you ideas on how to improve your story or essay. Sharing is part of the writing process.