How to Improve Creative Writing Skills: 10 Fun Ways for Kids!

Allowing someone else to read your work can be brutally difficult for some writers, especially when they’re just starting out, but it’s crucial that you develop good habits from the outset and learn to accept constructive criticism about your work. Remember – writers are desperately needy creatures who need to be constantly reassured that they’re the creative geniuses they believe themselves to be, but you’ll need to develop a thick skin if you’re serious about your work, and a good editor is invaluable when it comes to toughening up.

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How to Improve Creative Writing Skills: 10 Fun Ways for Kids!

Want to be a novelist when you grow up? But worried that your English skills may not be up to scratch. Or maybe you just can’t seem to find the right inspiration to get you started! Here’s a list of 10 ways to improve your creative writing skills this summer. Guaranteed to leave you inspired and ready to write your next big novel or a super sweet short story!

Before we tell you how to improve your creative writing skills, you need to know what exactly this means. Creative writing refers to fictional writing or storytelling. Take, for example, a newspaper article is not an example of creative writing, as it must include facts about a situation. While with creative writing you can use your imagination to make stuff up. Generally, the purpose of creative writing is to produce something which is entertaining, engaging and even personal.

Many writers use creative writing as a way of expressing their feelings and thoughts. It is a type of art form which uses words instead of pictures to connect with people. Examples of creative writing may include:

10 Ways to Improve your creative writing skills

1. Read everything you can find!

Let’s start with the obvious one! Read a lot! Read anything you find lying around your house from old storybooks to newspapers. While reading this stuff, pay attention to the words being used by the writer, the use of metaphors, adjectives, characters, the plot, the conflict in the story etc. If you come across a word you don’t understand, use a dictionary to find its meaning and then practice using it in a sentence to gain a better understanding of that word. For more ways to get kids reading, check out this cool article.

2. Find inspiration in everyday things.

The world around you is full of interesting events. Go for a walk and ask yourself questions, such as what is that person doing? What is that dog looking at? Why are those people arguing? Write a summary of something that is happening on the TV or a video game you just finished playing. Write about everything and anything you see, hear, smell or feel! You’ll be surprised at what pops up in your head.

3. Use writing prompts to inspire you.

There are tons of resources on the internet that can inspire you, in magazines, newspaper headlines and any other words you find lying around. Why not check out our writing prompts for kids or sign-up for our newsletter for monthly creative writing resources.

4. Criticise the work of others.

When reading a book, try to identify the flaws in that story and list a couple of improvements. Also, note down the best parts of that story, what did you enjoy while reading that book? This can help you to understand the elements of a great story and what to avoid when writing. You can aim to do weekly or monthly book reviews on the books you read. Soon you’ll be able to master the secrets of great creative writing like a master!

5. Keep a journal and write something in it every day.

Even if you think your life is boring and nothing interesting ever happens in it. You can write about your goals and inspirations or what you did for lunch today. Anything is better than nothing! One day you’ll look back at these notes and they’ll inspire you to write an awesome story – you never know.

6. Play imaginative games.

Games such as cops and robbers or pretending to be a character from your favourite TV show or movie can be really inspirational. You can use our printable Red Riding Hood paper finger puppets to role-play the story of Red Riding Hood! Link a writing activity with these games, such as writing a day in the life story for a character you are playing or sending an imaginary letter to your favourite character in the story.

7. Rewrite a famous story.

Sometimes creating new characters or a story plot from scratch can be difficult. To improve your creative writing skills you can take a well-known story, such as Cinderella or any other fairy tale and change it slightly, so it has a different ending or comes from a different character’s perspective. For example, you can write from the point of view of the ugly stepsisters and how they felt when Cinderella found her Prince Charming! Or what if Prince Charming chose the stepsisters over Cinderella, what would she have done to escape?

8. Use image prompts to inspire you!

Image prompts, such as photographs, paintings, or a picture in a magazine can be great. You can even take your own pictures when on a day out or on holiday. When you come home, for each picture you can write an interesting caption to describe it. You can even try creating a whole story from all your holiday photos!

9. Incentivise your writing!

When writing, try setting yourself some small goals. For example today I will aim to write 100 words. Once you achieve this goal, give yourself a reward. This can be anything you like, such as going out with your friends, watching your favourite film or playing your favourite game. The important thing is that you stay motivated when writing. This is most important when trying to improve your creative writing skills.

10. Connect writing with your interests.

If you love football, why not write about your favourite footballer? How would you feel if you met them? What would you say to them? Why not write an imaginary letter to them? Whatever you enjoy doing, you can link any writing activity to it!

Dissect Writing That You Admire

Find a handful of recent blog posts you really like, then print them out. Next, just like your high school English teacher did, take a red pen and highlight things you liked: certain sentences, turns of phrase, even entire paragraphs. Examine why you like these elements, and see if there are any common threads in your favored reading material. See how writers take one subject and transition into another. Apply these techniques to your own work.

Improve my writing skills copyblogger example

Improve my writing skills copyblogger example 2

Immediately, you’re hooked by Morris’ opening. You can’t not read to see what happens next. The pacing is excellent, it grabs your attention, and best of all, it keeps you reading. This piece was first published back in June, and I still remember it. Read the full post here, and see how Morris masterfully tells the story of a band named Death and how this relates to writing content.

Interesting details about setting and location

Another way of keeping your reader interested is to bring your essay to life with details about setting and location, just as creative writers do. Essays can become quite dry if you focus solely on the academic problems, but you can make them more interesting by peppering them with details. This may not work quite so well for a scientific essay, but it’s certainly relevant for some humanities subjects, in particular English literature, history and archaeology. For example, an essay about the Roman emperor Augustus could mention that he lived a famously modest lifestyle, quoting details from Roman writers and archaeological evidence that support this: Suetonius mentions his “low bed” (interesting because of what it says about accepted standards of Roman beds!) and coarse bread and cheese diet, and the relatively small and non-lavish remains of his house on the Palatine Hill in Rome back up the idea of his having lived a modest life.
Incidental details like these can actually prove to be more significant than you initially realise, and you can use them to build your argument; in the case of Augustus, for example, his modest lifestyle is particularly important when seen in the context of Rome’s troubled history with kings. As he gradually acquired more power and became Rome’s first emperor, he had to avoid coming across as being too ‘regal’, and the little details we know about his way of life are significant in light of this. So, not only have you brought your essay to life, but you’ve raised an interesting point, too.

Few writers get it right first time. Once you’ve written a first draft, read through it and think about whether the order of your points is optimal and whether what you’ve written actually makes sense. It’s easy in the age of computers to chop and change – you can simply copy and paste part of your essay into another part where it might fit better, and then make minor changes to your wording so that it flows. After you’ve finished editing, have a final read through and check that you’re happy with the wording. Don’t forget to proofread to ensure that your spelling and grammar is impeccable!

And finally… record your ideas

Image shows someone writing in a notebook.

Keeping a notebook to hand helps you gather good ideas when they come to you.

Creative writers swear by having a notebook with them at all times, ready to jot down any ideas that suddenly spring to mind. You can adopt the same principle for your essay-writing, because you never know when the inspiration might strike. Have a think about your essay topic when you’re out and about; you’d be surprised what occurs to you when you’re away from your normal place of study.
As you can see, there are more similarities between two apparently unrelated kinds of writing than you might have realised. It is, of course, possible to go too far with the creative writing idea when you’re essay-writing: literary devices aren’t always appropriate, and your essay still needs to retain objectivity and conform to the more formal conventions of academic writing. But there are certainly techniques to be borrowed from creative writing that will help your essays stand out from the crowd and give your teacher or lecturer a welcome break from the monotony of essay-marking.

Sources:

https://www.imagineforest.com/blog/10-ways-improve-creative-writing-skills/
https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/08/07/improve-writing-skills
https://www.oxford-royale.com/articles/techniques-creative-writing-improve-essays/

How to Be More Confident

Rather than being judgmental or hostile toward other people’s success, confident people celebrate others and feel genuine happiness for them rather than envy or comparison. They are inspired to learn what they can about how others succeed. They don’t rationalize others’ successes or their own failures.

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Confidence and Behavior

Confident Behavior Behavior Associated With Low Self-Confidence
Doing what you believe to be right, even if others mock or criticize you for it. Governing your behavior based on what other people think.
Being willing to take risks and to go the extra mile to achieve better things. Staying in your comfort zone, fearing failure, and avoiding risk.
Admitting your mistakes and learning from them. Working hard to cover up mistakes and hoping that you can fix the problem before anyone notices.
Waiting for others to congratulate you on your accomplishments. Extolling your own virtues as often as possible to as many people as possible.
Accepting compliments graciously. “Thanks, I really worked hard on that prospectus. I’m pleased you recognize my efforts.” Dismissing compliments offhandedly. “Oh, that prospectus was nothing, really. Anyone could have done it.”

Self-confidence is vital in almost every aspect of our lives, yet many people struggle to find it. Sadly, this can become a vicious cycle: people who lack self-confidence are less likely to achieve the success that could give them more confidence.

For example, you may not be inclined to back a project that’s pitched by someone who’s visibly nervous, fumbling, or constantly apologizing. On the other hand, you’re persuaded by someone who speaks clearly, holds their head high, and answers questions with assurance.

Confident people inspire confidence in others: their audience, their co-workers, their bosses, their customers, and their friends. And gaining the confidence of others is one of the key ways to succeed. In the following sections, we’ll see how you can do this.

What Is Confidence?

Confidence can refer to a general sense of belief and trust in your own ability to control your life or it might be more situation-specific. For example, you might have high self-confidence in an area of expertise but feel less confident in other areas.

Having a healthy level of self-confidence can help you become more successful in your personal and professional life. Research has found, for example, that people who are more confident tend to achieve more academically.

Confidence can also play a role in the motivation to pursue your goals, with studies linking higher levels of self-confidence in athletes with increased motivation to practice their sport of choice. Your level of confidence even affects how you present yourself to others.

Ways to build confidence:

Figure out where your lack of confidence stems from.

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Understand what self-confidence feels like for you.

Take some time to figure out what confidence feels like in your body. A good question to ask is “How will you know that you’ve reached a satisfactory level of self-confidence?” Perhaps you will start speaking up more at work. You might finally wear that outfit you’ve always wanted to. You may even introduce yourself to your crush at your co-working space. This will be different from person to person, so it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else. This is your personal measurement of confidence.

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Align with yourself.

If you find yourself frequently using the word “should,” (for example, I should be married by 30, I should have a house by next year, or I should have my life together by now), take a step back and reflect. Where is this “should” coming from?

Start small.

Shirin Eskandani, life coach and founder of Wholehearted Coaching, says one way to build self-confidence is to make small promises to yourself and then follow through. “And the key word is small. Do things that are a stretch but also realistic for you. So perhaps if you’re not a morning person, not committing to waking up at 6 a.m. every day to do a morning routine but instead trying out an evening routine.”

Adopt a growth mindset.

A growth mindset encourages you to explore beyond your current skills and knowledge, keeping the possibility of improvement open. Instead of using phrases like “I’m not confident,” just add “yet” to it, which transforms the old belief into “I’m not confident yet.” This adds the qualifier that you are in the process of gaining skills to become confident.

A 2019 study found that growth mindset interventions led to better math grades for high schoolers and improved even more when students were immersed in environments that encouraged growth mindset principles. So it’s worth exploring your new growth mindset with like-minded people.

Know you will fail, and that’s OK.

We live in a failure-averse culture where people mostly just talk about their accomplishments. Rarely do you ever get to hear about people’s accounts of failure. Understanding that failure happens and is a part of the process of living will help you to live more fully.

“For a lot of us, we were usually taught that self-confidence comes from achievements,” certified life coach and leadership coach Nicole Cruz tells mindbodygreen. “However, this means that when we achieve, we feel great about our abilities, but when we fail, our self-confidence takes a hit. I truly believe that self-confidence comes from our own thoughts about our abilities rather than external achievements. So that regardless of whether we succeed or fail, we have the power to retain our self-confidence.”

Stand up to your inner critic.

Sometimes you might hesitate to trust yourself because you’ve received critical feedback from authority figures earlier in life, like parents, teachers, or community leaders, and you have adopted their criticisms as your own beliefs. But there comes a point when this feedback no longer serves your current life. Standing up to those old criticisms can unlock a new level of confidence.

“Confidence can also be built by rewriting the narratives in our heads about our worthiness. This involves identifying self-limiting beliefs and reframing them,” Shanmugavelayutham explains. “Often the voice in our head that tells us we are not good enough is not our authentic voice but an aggregate of all the voices of those who have criticized us in the past. When we talk back to the inner critic enough, the confident inner-child that we lost touch with can reemerge.”

Understand that emotions and feelings are temporary.

Emotions go through a cycle of beginning, middle, and end. Although emotions can feel really intense in the moment, they are only temporary. At the very basic level, emotions are physiological responses to stimuli in your environment. If your Wi-Fi goes out right before your work presentation, you may experience an acute pang of stress. If you receive a surprise package from your sister, you may be overcome by heartfelt joy. If you get a text from your ex, you may feel a sharp streak of hot sadness. Whatever the stimuli and paired emotion, they’re all data points to inform your next action step.

In terms of confidence, any emotion like anxiety, stress, or fear that is holding you back from taking action is only temporary. Once it subsides, you can make your next move. As the saying goes, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

Focus on what you can control.

“A lot of times, we base our self-confidence on things we actually have no control over—what other people think, the outcome of a project, others’ reactions, etc.,” Cruz explains. “To build self-confidence, we need to release our attachment to the things we can’t control and start basing our self-confidence on what we do have control over.”

Self-confidence and self-esteem: Are they the same?

We often use self-confidence and self-esteem interchangeably because they’re closely related. Self-confidence is most genuine and durable when it derives from healthy self-esteem. While they share similarities, there are distinct differences between the two.

Self-confidence is outward-facing. It’s what you put out to the world and what people around you see. Self-esteem is inward-facing and not always noticeable from the outside. Your confidence can come from knowledge and experience, whereas self-esteem is more about knowing yourself and valuing your self-worth. Low self-esteem or low self-confidence can cause self-doubt and negatively impact your mental health, well-being, and performance.

Often, people tend to rely on their self-confidence for happiness in life. Instead of working on their self-esteem, which is about knowing and loving yourself, strengths and weaknesses, and developing an internal sense of worth, people work on their projected image and how others perceive them. This focus on projected confidence in order to seem successful can backfire without also developing self-esteem. People may not realize you have low self-esteem, but eventually, those you connect with will see through your self-confidence.

It’s crucial to note that self-confidence won’t endure without healthy self-esteem. It will be shaken when you find yourself in unfamiliar terrain. But with both, you’ll thrive. When your self-esteem is steady and your well-being is good, your self-confidence shines brighter. If you love and value yourself, you’ll embrace your strengths and weaknesses in any situation, and your self-esteem will motivate you to be a more confident person.

What are some tips to be more confident?

Be proud of yourself

You should also celebrate your smallest victories however you’d like. If a big bowl of ice cream will do that for you, go for it. As you track your progress, make sure to think back to where you started. Think about how that version of you would be proud of where you are today.

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Don’t be afraid to open up

It can be scary to be vulnerable with new people and within your surroundings. But as you’re learning new things and stepping outside of your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to let yourself open up. Be present with where you are and what you’re doing. As you grow, you can acknowledge your fear and worries, but don’t let that prevent you from exposing yourself to new things.

Be specific

You have to hone in on yourself to figure out what aspects you want to be more confident in. Where do you lack confidence? Where are you super confident? Identifying these aspects will help you be specific with your goals. Once you have a plan, you won’t feel overwhelmed. Discover what would give you confidence and start making purposeful actions towards obtaining it.

References:

https://www.mindtools.com/selfconf.html
https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-boost-your-self-confidence-4163098
https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how-to-build-confidence
https://www.betterup.com/blog/how-to-build-confidence