I don't know why I am surprised. Kids are like this when it comes to writing. And these fourth and fifth graders in the writing program I've been teaching for the past few weeks, are particularly smart and creative.
Open to trying new methods, happy to use pen or pencil on paper or whatever I give them. Although, one girl has brought her laptop and another tells me she writes all of her novels on her phone. Only a couple of the kids are stuck, asking me to clarify the directions, stumped for a moment about how to start, but with just a little push, off they go.
One surprise: the majority of their stories are dark. Evil government conspiracies and dead parents. Kidnappings. Murder. It's all presented matter-of-factly, though, and I try not to bat an eye. Hmm, okay, so in Act Two the main character finds the dead body? All-righty-then. Let's write that scene.
Who am I to judge the mind of a nine year old? They're the ones finding joy in this exercise.
Contrast this with adult writers. Contrast this with, um, me, daily on the phone with my critique partner whining about how hard it is to sit down and get to work.
Maybe the word "work" is the issue here. The fourth and fifth graders write because they want to. They signed up for this class. Two hours every Saturday for five weeks. I'm not sure what I can teach them. The most important lesson is one they already know:
If you want to be a writer, you write.
Take out a piece of paper or open a file on your computer (or phone?) and go.