How to Fuel Your Children’s Writing Passion

Writing is one of the most creative and peaceful arts an individual can get into. There are many benefits to writing, and these benefits have been studied and confirmed over the course of several years. For example, journaling is inspiring and good for your health. Even juvenile offenders have expressed themselves and learned to gauge empathy through writing. Here’s just a sampling of the research that revolves around the written craft:

  • New Zealand researchers have found that writing can actually help wounds heal faster—both emotionally and physically. These findings were then published in Scientific American.
  • Psychology Today found that writing down what you’re thankful for can actually help you sleep better.
  • Expressive writing has been proven to decrease depressive symptoms, relieve stress, and even lower blood pressure.

With so many benefits, if you find that your children have taken on a writing hobby, there are several ways you can encourage it. Here are a few ideas:

Send Them to Writer’s Camps

Research local camps for summer writing programs that your children can benefit from. Some camps are overnight-based, while others operate just like school, and teach children during the day. For teens, you may even be open to sending them away for writing camp at reputable programs around the country (or world).

For example, Writopia Lab is a national community of young writers that hosts classes and programs all around the world. You can check out their website for a full list of programs. Additionally, you should conduct a Google search for local writing camps by searching the term “writers camps [Insert City].”

Submit to Magazines

If your kid loves to write, then there’s nothing quite like seeing their name in print. Fortunately, there are plenty of children’s publications that accept work from children, giving them an opportunity to experience this. For example, Cricket Mag accepts stories across different genres from writers 14 and up. And with Stone Magazine, children 13 and under can get published. And lastly, for short stories and small poems, Highlights magazine is a great option.

Let Them Start a Blog

Allowing your children to start a blog is a great way for them to take publishing into their own hands, as well as get creative. Today’s children are very familiar with computers, so they already understand the navigational basics of using a computer and accessing the Web. Your child will have complete control over the way their website looks, and will see their digital byline with each post they make.

Fortunately, as a parent, it’s very easy to get set up. Work with your child to choose the perfect domain name. Then, choose shared hosting to keep costs low (since your child’s website likely won’t have traffic in the thousands-range, you wouldn’t need a virtual private server or dedicated server). Finally, choose from the hundreds of themes available to your children. To give you a headstart, check out these children’s blog themes for WordPress.

If your kids are on the younger side, you can use WordPress drag-and-drop plugins to make website design even easier. With these plugins, kids can create and edit their layouts and texts without having to deal with any “code” or Settings pages that might be little complex.

Enter Them Into Contests

Encourage your children to enter their work into writing contests. After all, there are hundreds of writing contests for kids. Kid Pub is a great platform for children, and they can submit essays, short stories, and poems there. Sign up for a membership to gain access to their contests year-round. Additionally, The Betty Award hosts two contests per year for kids between the ages of 8-12. Here’s a more comprehensive list of writing contests for children.

Self-Publish Their Work

Self-publishing, unlike traditional publishing, is the process of paying for your work to be published. This is a great way for children to cement their writing efforts, and also feel like a true, successful writer.

Having your very own book or published pamphlet, with your name and cover art, can increase the confidence of any child with writing chops. When you self-publish with a traditional self-publisher (not just a printer), your child’s book will have an ISBN number just like any other book, and even be available for purchase on the publisher’s website.

If you’re interested in self-publishing for kids, there are many different pricing points. If you plan to give away a decent amount of your kid’s published work to friends and family (or to sell it), you can use many self-publishing presses. Otherwise, you can use a regular printer service like VistaPrint.

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