Motivating your teens can be a challenge. Motivating them to put their thoughts down in writing is, well, priceless. Do you have a strong writer who simply doesn’t like to write? Here are practical ways to make the writing task more appealing and motivate your teens to write.
It Pays to Write
Many teenagers get part-time jobs with a single end in mind—earning money that they can spend however they choose. They are even willing to do distasteful or boring jobs to have an opportunity to fill their wallets with spending cash. So how does their yearning for earning relate to writing? Well, you can tap into your teen’s desire for cash by leading them toward writing assignments that pay.
- Some online publications and blogs pay for submissions.
- Check your local library for poetry and story writing contests that award cash prizes.
- Stone Soup, a publication written entirely by young people, pays writers for work that is published in the print magazine.
Does your high school student have a heart for a cause? Writing assignments take on new meaning when they’re fueled by passion. Non-profit organizations are always on the lookout for volunteer help. Your teen can help compose social media posts, write a personal testimonial, or draft copy for for promotional flyers or brochures. Call the local headquarters of your favorite mission and see how your teen can help as a wordsmith.
Have Byline, Will Write
Having their name in print can motivate some teens to write. For children who prefer to tell it like it is, writing news stories for a student-run newspaper might be exactly the inspiration they need. Does your homeschool group have a yearbook staff? That’s another way to put journalistic skills to use. A small local newspaper might be interested in featuring the work from prospective young journalists.
Take a Novel Approach
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, held each November) gives kids accountability to stay on task and keep writing. The event also stresses creativity over editing, so your student has permission—and consequently, the freedom—to create. The NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s Program, developed specifically for writers ages 17 and younger, has all the pizzazz of the adult event without the word count requirements. Word count goals are left up to the individual writers, so participating is fun instead of work! Writers can even pair up with a fellow writer and collaborate on the next great novel.
Motivating your teenagers to write can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. The best way to get teens writing—and help them to keep the words coming—is to create a positive environment for them to do so. Point out their strong points first. Try to keep critiques positive and constructive. Then offer pragmatic suggestions, gently and with respect. And, remember, teenagers are vulnerable before they even write one word. A positive attitude can do wonders; your encouragement can help them find their voice.
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