Friday Freewrite: Shoe on the Other Foot

Friday Freewrite

You walk all day in the same pair of shoes. After you trudge home and kick them off, the left shoe starts a conversation with the right shoe. What do they say to each other?

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.

Podcast: Avoid the Meltdown

Brave Writer Podcast

It feels like a natural part of teaching to look at our child’s work and note where it could be improved. Yet oftentimes, giving suggestions can often leave young writers feeling judged, inadequate, or underappreciated.

The good news? It’s possible to offer your young writer editorial feedback without triggering a meltdown. On today’s podcast, I’ll share some tips you can use to give your kids helpful feedback that will help retain their confidence and independence.

Show Notes

Principles and practices that may help:

  • Kids need to know that they are the authors who have the final say over their writing.
  • The positive feedback can’t be seen as “buttering up” before delivering the “real feedback” which will then be critical.
  • Remember that your feedback makes an impact even when she doesn’t take your advice.
  • Not every piece of writing needs to be improved. 
  • Finally, don’t worry if it appears that she’s resistant to feedback for a long time.

It takes time to build trust between writer and editor.

If your child senses that you consistently are on her side, that you affirm what works well, and that the feedback you offer is for her consideration, not as a command, she will come to trust you. If the feedback you give results in a wonderful change that makes the writing spring to life, she will then be likely to ask for your input the next time, rather than being suspicious of it.


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Brave Writer Podcast

Make Writing Less Painful

Brave Writer

Writer’s block means the child doesn’t have access to the words inside. When words are hidden behind anxiety, fear of failure, or a vague sense of the topic, give oodles of empathy and hugs, offer a snack, and talk about how to make writing less painful. Remind yourself of the goal – a free, brave writer who is at ease when writing.

Don’t do it!

Don’t yell at your child to write or to just get three sentences on the page.

We’ve all done it (even me). Sometimes it’s exasperating to watch your child simply not put the pencil to the page. You think to yourself: If this kid would just scrawl a few words onto the page so you could MOVE ON with the day…! Grrrr. And so, you lose your cool on your child. Sigh. It happens.

When the Writing Won’t Come

When a child experiences “writer’s block,” it means there’s something in the way. At that point, the lesson shifts. Your task now is to understand what’s in the way, to provide support and a context that might ease the pressure to allow the words to bubble up.

Remember: even writing “I’m stuck, I’m stuck, I’m stuck” counts! That’s the transcription of the ticker tape in the mind. Start there: notice it and write it.

Sharing a story of your own experience of writing blocks helps too. When I was seventeen, I was in a competition for an award that required writing an essay under timed pressure. I froze for 50 whole minutes. Nothing came! The more I panicked, the fewer words I had available to write. Finally the bell rang and I was released from my misery.  I lost the competition and learned a big lesson: pressure to write makes writing more challenging.

I’ve shared that story with my kids. Dig up the time when writing was hard for you. Talk about it over cookies. Give permission to not write today, or to write poorly—to in fact welcome their truth.


Today may not be a good writing day. Another day may present differently once you make room for the hard days too.

This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!

Brave Writer Online Classes

Mechanics & Literature: October 2022

Brave Writer

This month’s Quill is all about Art! Infuse your child’s day with a burst of color and a dash of design as you explore familiar concepts from a fresh new angle!

And October’s Dart, Arrow, and Boomerang selections inspire dynamic discussions. Use these stories to dig deep and examine topical issues while you explore:

  • writing,
  • mechanics,
  • and literary devices together! 

[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]

Brave Writer Quill
Quill (ages 5-7)

In this Quill, we’ll get wordy with as we read artwork through shapes, see art styles come to life through a thematic art study, tell a new story through art edits, bring silent subjects to life with captions, tickle our imaginations with tessellations and tangrams, and play with scale and proportion!

NOTE: You can use any wordless picture books you have in your stacks or find at your library.

Some Suggestions:

  • A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
  • The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon: The True Story of Alan Bean by Dean Robbins, illustrated by Sean Rubin
  • Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist by Julie Leung, illustrated by Chris Sasaki
  • Aaron Slater, Illustrator by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts 
  • I Spy Shapes in Art and other books by Lucy Micklethwait
  • Art Lab for Kids by Susan Schwake (activity book)

Get the Quill.

Brave Writer Dart
Dart (ages 8-10)

Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliot

You won’t believe what happens if you a let a dragon out of a bag and feed it sweet treats.

It’s time to “let the cat out of the bag.” We’re about to “spill the beans!” You guessed it, this month’s Literary Device is the idiom!

We’ll also:

  • investigate writer’s craft,
  • poke around some prepositions,
  • assemble question marks for a game of Twenty Questions,
  • unpack the power of a particular prefix,
  • inject excitement into our writing with interjections (oh boy!),
  • eyeball the em dash, and so much more!

Purchase the book.

Get the Dart.

Brave Writer Arrow
Arrow (ages 11-12)

Loyalty by Avi

Explore the American Revolution from a fresh new perspective!

The Literary Device is imagery. Explore the wondrous ways words paint pictures that we see, smell, hear, taste, and touch! 

We’ll also:

  • dabble in dialogue punctuation,
  • step back in time to highlight historical context,
  • explore our interest in possessive adjectives,
  • count on an opportunity to discuss writing numbers,
  • wait for it—entertain the em dash,
  • show you dazzling descriptive verbs, and so much more!

Purchase the book.

Get the Arrow.

Brave Writer Boomerang
Boomerang (ages 13-14)

The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga

This powerful novel affirms the ways deep friendships provide strength to help us navigate the most difficult of times.

In this Boomerang, we’ll:

  • examine epistolary writing down to the letter,
  • consider characterization and ponder point of view,
  • dissect dialogue,
  • spice things up with specific details,
  • tackle titles,
  • notice the narrative arc and the emotional arc, and much more!

Purchase the book.

Get the Boomerang.

For ages 15-18, check out the Slingshot.

Brave Writer

Friday Freewrite: Zero Gravity

Friday Freewrite

All of a sudden gravity no longer affects you when you’re inside your house! What happens next?

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.