Every Tuesday and Thursday I post a writing prompt for kids of all ages both here on my website and on my instagram account @anndeecandy. Sometimes the prompts are memory based (write about your favorite teacher, write about your pet). Sometimes the prompts will be fiction/imagination based (write about a world you would create, write about turkeys that can talk). The point of the exercise is to help kids write for fun on a regular basis, encourage them to record the things they think about so they can look back and reflect, and to learn to write about their life and their dreams and their weird thoughts and their triumphs and their setbacks and their favorite underwater sea animals without worrying about what others think or worrying about what they are writing is “right” or “wrong.”
For these reasons I encourage the kids to do the following:
- Write whatever they want. If they end up going off topic, that’s fine. If your child is too little to write on their own, have them dictate to you what they would write. You do the typing for them. Make sure to write it exactly as they say it to preserve their voice–I promise it will be worth it.
- Draw pictures to go along with what they’ve written if they want. Whatever comes to their head is fair game.
- Let themselves go. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar too much—it should be legible of course.
- Play around, have fun, don’t stress.
- Set a timer and be okay with stopping when the eight (or four or two—whatever you think is best for them) minutes are up. If they want to keep going, great. If eight minutes is enough, good too. If they stop way early and end up only writing one sentence, no problem. One sentence 104 times a year is a lot of sentences.
- When they feel like it, share their writing with others. This helps them practice being vulnerable and connecting with people.
If you/they want, you can post any of their pieces on instagram and tag them #8minutememoirkids. Then other kids can read what they’ve written.
Also, once a quarter, like the regular 8 minute memoir prompts (better suited to teens and adults though many of them overlap), we’ll have a memoir sharing night at my house or a nearby space. Kids who have written on at least one prompt are invited to come read what they’ve written out loud, eat food, tell stories and laugh their faces off. If you don’t live in the area, you can facilitate these gatherings in your part of the world.
I love to write and I love to hear other people’s writing—including my own children’s poems, stories, notes, KEEP OUT signs, birthday lists, letters and journal entries. I hope by sharing more and writing more and being brave more, we’ll all be closer and happier. Fingers crossed.
You can start on Day 1 here. Or you can join us where we are.