Archive for the ‘Writing Exercises’ Category

7-Day Writing BLITZ!

Brave Writer's 7-Day Writing Blitz

Introducing the 7-Day Writing Blitz!

What is a 7-Day Writing Blitz? It’s about EXPLODING the dynamics around language and helping your kids take that deep plunge into writing in an invitational, fun, enchanted way. Because writing is not about performing for school; it’s about life and self-expression.

For seven straight days, your kids will write, but it’s going to surprise them. Our FREE PDF comes with seven days of manageable writing projects appropriate for all writing ages. These daily prompts will encourage your kids to

  • play with language,
  • use unconventional writing utensils and surfaces,
  • and cultivate good writing habits.

Also in our free packet we give you directions for how to build a Writing Blitz Jet Pack (pictured in the image above) to help you enchant the writing experience for your kids.Brave Writer's 7-Day Writing Blitz

Download the guide HERE

Starting on Sept. 25th we will all do the activities together while updating each other on our progress at the hashtag #BW7DAYBLITZ on Instagram and Twitter.

The 25th doesn’t work for you? It’s okay! You can do the Writing Blitz whenever you want. You can start early and simply wait to post your progress, or you can start late because the Writing Blitz will remain available.

And if your child decides they want to change the prompts? Excellent! There are no rules in Brave Writer. This is about being brave.

Get your free 7-Day Writing Blitz PDF HERE

Nature Journaling

Best of the Brave Writer Blog: Nature Journaling

The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful. ~e.e. cummings

Nature Journaling is an important part of the Brave Writer Lifestyle. Turn the exploration of the great, messy outdoors into a joyful writing opportunity!

The Basics

  • Walk together.
  • Collect little rocks, leaves, twigs, mosses, acorns, flowers, and feathers.
  • Bring them home.
  • Set a few of them on a large sheet of white paper in the center of the table.
  • Using drawing pencils and paper, sketch one or more of the items.
  • Then record a few details about the object or the day. One good sentence about the color, or texture or the memory of collecting it or what it looks like, or what it reminds the writer of, is perfect.

Branch Out!

Here are three blog posts full of tips that will enhance your nature journaling experience.

If You are New to Nature Journaling

Nature Journaling Wherever You Are

Writing Exercise: Make Your Nature Walk a Color Walk!

Also, Brave Writer offers an online class each spring and fall that is designed to make nature journaling a natural part of your life. Click on the image below to learn more.

Brave Writer Online Writing Class Nature Journaling

Ten 30-Second Writing Exercises

Ten 30-second writing exercises
Here are ten writing exercises that will take about thirty seconds each. The aim is not to create a masterpiece or change your entire writing life–the aim is to write for at least thirty seconds.

Also, for children in the Jot It Down or Partnership Writing stages, parents should feel free to transcribe their kids’ thoughts for 30-seconds.

Pick an exercise, set the timer, and GO!

1. One Sense

Sit down and pick ONE of your senses–sight, smell, hearing, taste, or touch. Then describe everything you feel with that sense, right now. Do you see the sky out of the window and your dogs on the sofa? Do you hear the clock ticking and traffic outside? Whichever sense you choose, write down as much detail as possible in thirty seconds. Go!

2. Song

Put on a song you love and write as the first thirty seconds play. How does it make you feel? Happy, sad, moved, inspired, impassioned? Why do you like it? Do you have strong memories linked with that song? Jot it down.

3. One word

Open a dictionary, close your eyes, pick a random word, and write about it. Go on, see how much you can write about one word in thirty seconds. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s great or silly or you think it’s a beautiful word that everyone should use in every conversation. Write it!

4. Special memory

Pick a favorite memory, a day that was special to you. Why was it special? What did you do? Who was there with you? What was the best moment? List those out.

5. Sum it up

Think about the previous day of your life and sum it up in one phrase. Something like “Best day ever,” “A total drag,” or “Dull but productive.” Then do the same for the day before yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that, until you run out of time.

6. Alteration

Write a sentence of five words. Now quickly change the sentence one word at a time. For example:

“I love my fluffy cat.”
“I love my fluffy slippers.”
“I lost my fluffy slippers.”
“I miss my fluffy slippers.”

See where it takes you in half a minute!

7. A conversation

Pick up two nearby objects, put them side by side, and write a short conversation between the two of them. What would your pencil case say to your hairbrush if they were in love? What would an argument between your pen and your eraser be like? Or imagine that they met for the first time.

8. Forward in time

What do you plan to do as soon as you’re done writing? Then what after that? And after that? Keep going till the timer stops.

9. One letter

Pick the letter of the alphabet that your name begins with then write down ten different words that begin with that letter. Give your vocabulary a 30-second workout!

10. It’s a fact

Write a fact about yourself–the more interesting, the better. Then change ONE word. For example, “I love wearing hats” could become “I hate wearing hats,” or “I love wearing earrings.” Once you’ve got your new statement, write down a name you like that’s not yours. That is the name of a character you’ve just created.

Enjoy! Later you might expand some of these freewrites into writing projects.

Brave Writer Online Class Middle School Writing Projects

A word play tip

Does it smell good?Image by Savannah Lewis (cc)

Ask your kids to find the nuance differences between synonyms.

Example— all the words for “smell”


How are they used? Can you use ‘odor’ for flowers? Can you use ‘scent’ for a skunk’s spray?

Can ‘aroma’ be paired with anything besides food? Why or why not?

What’s the difference between a ‘bouquet’ and ‘perfume’? Which is lovelier, easier to breathe in?

How much worse is a ‘stench’ than an ‘odor’? Can you think of two different items and why one would be paired with ‘stench’ and another with ‘odor’?

This is how you build vocabulary far better than using a workbook that makes kids identify definitions or put the words correctly into sentences.

Focus on complexity—nuances, subtlety, relationships, contexts, situations, habits, contradictions in language. These practices help the words “stick” and enrich a child’s writing as you find that some of them will “pop through” to their own work.

Cross-posted on facebook.

Keen Observation

TomatoImage by Steve Hankins

Here’s a fabulous description of the Keen Observation process! This is precisely what is supposed to happen when you use the exercise.

Brave writer mom, Kellie, writes:

Hi Julie,

I’m new to BWL, just printed Writers Jungle Sunday and read through to chapter 6, prowled your website and blog and am now dabbling in some of your recommended pre-free-writing exercises. I’m blown away with the keen observation exercise experience that we had today and felt like I needed to express my gratitude for your insightful, common sense approach to breaking the writing process down into manageable, fun activities.

My daughter 8, and I explored a garden tomato today. She has never been a lover of this fruit mind you. Ketchup and spaghetti sauce, forget about it. But, for some reason she was looking forward to slicing it open and sampling it’s flavor. Maybe it has something to do with the theory she’s subscribing to about how every 7 years you grow new taste buds so your taste in food may change. Whatever her reasons, I’m glad she was a go.

She was so quick to start describing the ruby red tomato with super tiny yellow dots on top that makes it golden red with “green crown  that I didn’t get to ask her the first few questions you supply us with.  Okay, so she was excited to play this “game” but the kicker was after she took a considerable sized  bite out of it and tasted the seeds separate from the flesh. The bite was described as “Yuck it tastes sour and tart”  the seeds as “at first it’s the yuck of the tomato but then it’s a little burst of sweet” There was a goodly amount of juice left on the plate “juice went flying out of it” when sliced, so I asked her to slurp some up.  Moments later she was sprawled on the ground with a puckered up face declaring “I thought it would be bland but it was so powerful it blew my head right off.  My tongue was bursting with strong tart and sour”  She was such a good sport that even after the assault on her mouth she was game for tackling the skin which was “smooth and tough with a bland flavor”.

We thoroughly enjoyed this exercise. We laughed, we joked, we bonded, we praised. Thank you for your courage in sharing.