A Brave Writer mom asked on BraveScopes:
Any suggestions for easing a reluctant (but very capable and creative) writer into Friday Freewrites?…He’s just about 11.
Not all kids love the timer or freewriting. I like to suggest that you freewrite yourself (with which ever kids in the family will participate) and pair it with brownies. You can also try freewriting at a local Starbucks, the library, outside on a picnic table, or inside UNDER a table. You might try “midnight” freewrites where everyone gets up at midnight and freewrites by candle light.
Noah, my oldest, was this way. He even today (28 years old) says that the timer is too much pressure for him. We got to a place where we didn’t set a timer for him. I also taught him how to keep a “special events” journal where he only wrote when there was a special event to remember. He has one journal from an entire childhood and it has probably 15-20 entries. It was enough. It helped. Stay open to who your child is. Don’t listen to me! Listen to him.
And for an 11 year old—remember that they need to be shown that you really are okay with what they write (telling doesn’t always convince them). You might scrunch up the page first, you might ask them to assign you a topic, you might freewrite first and ask your son to read yours to you and give you feedback, you might offer gel pens and black paper… And of course, you can catch him in the act of thinking and jot down HIS words as he says them to you spontaneously in an unplanned moment. That counts too!
Let him create his own list the day before you freewrite. Set the timer for a minute and ask him to write in a list down the page ALL the things he loves and knows a lot about. Any topic. Then when you go to freewrite, he can choose from the list or just write what comes to mind. His choice.
Mix it up! Get rid of the schoolish element. See what happens.