When you write, you purge. Everything you have to say is being expressed via pen, pencil, paper, or device. The words are like tears in a way: they can only come out…Unlike tears, they can be expressed in actions as as well.
People may interpret purging as ridding themselves of something bad. Maybe that’s true. Others may be unable to contain their feelings or thoughts. That’s what makes writing a good emotional outlet or exercise. It’s highly recommended it for the repressed, depressed, and oppressed. The paper, pen, or PC will not judge or criticize you harshly. A variable exception would be the results of the grammar or spelling checker. Before the red pen arrives, you run the world in your mind.
Writing is cathartic. That’s nothing new for a reason. It’s the point of having a diary or journal. For teenagers, emotions are a major focus. Trying to balance their new emotions with their maturity can be hard. That can be due to the growing pains caused by inexperience. Misunderstandings can lead to trouble, even unintentionally.
The adults in their lives may still see them as children. There’s driving, dating, and college to consider. Becoming an adult represents many things. But the day is right in front of them. They have to get through the moment or a recent disappointment. That’s the beauty of a journal. It can be used to capture sensitivities and honesty in a private space without judgement or standards.
This post focuses on creative writing and what it does for students. For a start, it:
Allows them to express themselves without judgement or criticism. Surrounded by so many rules and limitations, kids need this.
Sharpens their use of proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. This is always good for grades and job skills.
Makes them think. Once they start doing this, anything can happen.
Allows them to dream. They begin to imagine their future lives, among other things.
Helps them plan. The adults in their lives have expectations. Children learn to expect from themselves as well.
Grows their self-esteem. Fearless, confident kids are always a plus.
Encourages their creativity. This is used in play and problem-solving.
Gives them liberty. Their final draft of a successful upbringing is an independent, self-sufficient adult.
Gives them courage. Those who are afraid yet still move forward into a positive outcome is just one possibility of this scenario.
Develops a useful skill. Practice improves execution.
Gives them access to like-minded peers. Writers’ groups are another possibility. If nothing else, they can socialize with others who write and form their own.
Empowers them. This speaks for itself.
Makes them leaders. Most people are followers.
Produces innovators. Expanding on a current process or product is a large part of business.
Generates inventors. Without the new, what would people anticipate?
Forms authors and writers. Many new books were released this year. Like the number of first-time novelists, it grows exponentially. The same can be said for new magazines and other print media, online and offline.
Crafts poets. Communicating in a brief, written form is an underappreciated art. It will put them in touch with their emotions and other people.
Builds playwrights. Who writes all of those great Broadway shows and visual feasts? Actually, a lot of people do.
Constructs storytellers. This is a skill used in every aspect of life. It may begin with an idea and culminate in the review of a full life.
Hones them into teachers. This is a synonym for parent, elder, older sibling, etc.
Lots of people only read when they must. That’s conditioning. Almost all our reading begins, ends, and is associated with basic schooling. After high school graduation, reading is completely optional. Many adults choose not to do it. It’s no surprise when their kids don’t, either.
Reading is the backbone of the book report. In it, a story is reviewed. The chosen book is usually from a recommended reading list or of the student’s own choice. The skills learned by writing these is so important that the SAT includes them.
Magazines are satisfactory as well.
Many simple things we take for granted are taught by reading. Despite lessons and tests on language arts, books demonstrate knowledge students may or may not have applied.
Storytelling. Since reading starts at a minimal point at an early age, it advances to more complex dramas as they grow and mature.
Different dialects and accents from other regions or countries. This is typically how someone discovers that an Irish brogue, Southern drawl, or Cockney accent refers to just that.
How people from other cultures think. A story of Mexican life told from the native viewpoint gives an insight that is missed by vacationing there.
Their values and morals. Anyone who reads novels that investigate the minds of criminals, e.g., sociopaths, psychopaths, etc., will learn quite a lesson.
How the various classes of people sound and behave. This would reflect education, the lack thereof, and the work ethics of the lower, middle, and upper-class.
The less obvious differences in romance or between genders. It could be here that a young man discovers why the object of his affection doesn’t return his calls or is constantly too busy to talk.
Writing skills. A well-written book is a great example of how to write correctly.
Proper grammar. What sense would it make to teach kids language arts without having it displayed somewhere?
Spelling. See #8.
Punctuation. See #9.
Capitalization. Newspaper articles, book titles, names, proper nouns, and names—among many others—are shown as they should read in print.
Consequences or a lack thereof
How to write dialogue. Many children and adults wonder where exactly quotation marks go. When they start writing stories, they really need to know.
Paragraph usage. The average book avoids long block paragraphs except as a style. That’s because they drive readers nuts. General advice says to divide them based on topics and responses. Books and articles show how it’s done.
Importance of the serial or Oxford comma. Enemies form over this little detail. Not using it is fine until the meaning of the series is misunderstood. It was standard. Times change. Classics still include them.
Vocabulary. They research a word because it’s new to them. Maybe they never knew the meaning of a term heard millions of times. With reading, their word knowledge will grow.
Word definitions by context. This is one of the best things about reading. Noticing how the word is used can reveal the definition of it.
History. Historical novels and stories teach. The details are rich and vivid, right down to the speech, era, and landscape descriptions. It’s like going on a brief trip. Such books are preferable to history lessons any day.
Industry. Reading about the adventures of race car drivers, stunt pilots, business moguls, or other celebrities is a rush. Being too young to drive or vote can draw a kid to those accounts.
How to experience the good and the bad indirectly. One method of weighing options is the see the pros and cons on paper. Mentally watching someone else do the dirty work saves experimenting in real life. Sometimes theory is enough.
Another bonus of reading is exposure to books that are potentially (or actually) great films.