Opening up the world of writing to kids.

childrens-writing-SATsA while back I talked about how a trip to Cuba had really inspired me, and how travelling in general really motivates me to want to write more. Well, it looks like it’s not just adults who benefit from new experiences when it comes to improving their writing. Some new studies from England are showing that the writing skills of kids who go on memorable field trips at school improve dramatically.

Schools participated in a program called “Improving Writing Quality,” where children were taken on day trips to exciting venues like zoos, castles, caves, for example. Afterwards they would have sessions where they’d write about the experience. Then they tracked their writing skills over nine months, and guess what?  Dramatic improvements!

This is great news, and I’m excited to read it. I really hope that schools here in Canada will follow England’s lead on this one. Because I think one of the most important things to remember when it comes to education, is that not everything can be learned from a book. And even if it can be learned in a book, imagine how much more exciting the learning process is if you actually get to see and experience the things you’re reading about!

And the more experiences children have, the more of the world they’re exposed to, the more their imaginations will grow, they more their horizons will broaden. So if you really want to do your children or grandchildren a favour, share an adventure with them! Not only will you have the pleasure of spending quality time with them, but you’ll be helping to improve their futures. And who knows, you may be helping to create the next J.K. Rowling!

All the internet’s a stage?

wattpadThere is nothing new under the sun when it comes to the act of writing, right? I mean, despite technological advances at the end of the day we’re all setting either pen to paper or fingers to keyboard to bang out are creations. We all have to go through the same processes of researching, drafting, editing, and redrafting again and again, usually sharing our work with friends and family to see if we’re “on the right track.” Well it seems I might be wrong about that one! Check out this article I read about a woman who took advantage of new technology to help her through that whole process!

I was particularly interested in her story because she was making the leap from non-fiction to fiction, which is the same move I made after I’d written An Elk in the House. And taking that leap to creating entire worlds and characters all by yourself can be pretty scary.

She used a new writing platform called from Toronto-based Wattpad, that lets people post their writing on the site so that people (both strangers and friends) can read and comment on your work while you’re still in the process of writing it.

I can also see a lot of benefits to doing it, too. You can post your writing in a section designed just for your genre, so that means you’re getting feedback from fans of the type of book you’re writing. People who are knowledgeable about your genre can give you valuable advice. And you’re probably going to get more honest feedback than you would normally. Because our friends and family love us so much, sometimes they’re not as honest about what they think as we need them to be. And it never hurts to have a fresh pair of eyes look at what we’re doing.

I think it is an incredibly brave thing to do, and scary! I mean, you’re literally sharing a work-in-progress with people all over the world. And some big writing names use Wattpad, people like Margaret Atwood, which means writers like her could be reading your work!

What do my fellow writers out there think about this? Would you do it?