• Writing Activities

105 Creative Writing Exercises To Get You Writing Again

You know that feeling when you just don’t feel like writing? Sometimes you can’t even get a word down on paper. It’s the most frustrating thing ever to a writer, especially when you’re working towards a deadline. The good news is that we have a list of 105 creative writing exercises to help you get motivated and start writing again!

What are creative writing exercises?

Creative writing exercises are short writing activities (normally around 10 minutes) designed to get you writing. The goal of these exercises is to give you the motivation to put words onto a blank paper. These words don’t need to be logical or meaningful, neither do they need to be grammatically correct or spelt correctly. The whole idea is to just get you writing something, anything. The end result of these quick creative writing exercises is normally a series of notes, bullet points or ramblings that you can, later on, use as inspiration for a bigger piece of writing such as a story or a poem. 

Good creative writing exercises are short, quick and easy to complete. You shouldn’t need to think too much about your style of writing or how imaginative your notes are. Just write anything that comes to mind, and you’ll be on the road to improving your creative writing skills and beating writer’s block . 

Use the generator below to get a random creative writing exercise idea:

List of 105+ Creative Writing Exercises

Here are over 105 creative writing exercises to give your brain a workout and help those creative juices flow again:

  • Set a timer for 60 seconds. Now write down as many words or phrases that come to mind at that moment.
  • Pick any colour you like. Now start your sentence with this colour. For example, Orange, the colour of my favourite top. 
  • Open a book or dictionary on a random page. Pick a random word. You can close your eyes and slowly move your finger across the page. Now, write a paragraph with this random word in it. You can even use an online dictionary to get random words:


  • Create your own alphabet picture book or list. It can be A to Z of animals, food, monsters or anything else you like!
  • Using only the sense of smell, describe where you are right now.
  • Take a snack break. While eating your snack write down the exact taste of that food. The goal of this creative writing exercise is to make your readers savour this food as well.
  • Pick a random object in your room and write a short paragraph from its point of view. For example, how does your pencil feel? What if your lamp had feelings?
  • Describe your dream house. Where would you live one day? Is it huge or tiny? 
  • Pick two different TV shows, movies or books that you like. Now swap the main character. What if Supergirl was in Twilight? What if SpongeBob SquarePants was in The Flash? Write a short scene using this character swap as inspiration.
  • What’s your favourite video game? Write at least 10 tips for playing this game.
  • Pick your favourite hobby or sport. Now pretend an alien has just landed on Earth and you need to teach it this hobby or sport. Write at least ten tips on how you would teach this alien.
  • Use a random image generator and write a paragraph about the first picture you see.

random image generator

  • Write a letter to your favourite celebrity or character. What inspires you most about them? Can you think of a memorable moment where this person’s life affected yours? We have this helpful guide on writing a letter to your best friend for extra inspiration.
  • Write down at least 10 benefits of writing. This can help motivate you and beat writer’s block.
  • Complete this sentence in 10 different ways: Patrick waited for the school bus and…
  • Pick up a random book from your bookshelf and go to page 9. Find the ninth sentence on that page. Use this sentence as a story starter.
  • Create a character profile based on all the traits that you hate. It might help to list down all the traits first and then work on describing the character.
  • What is the scariest or most dangerous situation you have ever been in? Why was this situation scary? How did you cope at that moment?
  • Pretend that you’re a chat show host and you’re interviewing your favourite celebrity. Write down the script for this conversation.
  • Using extreme detail, write down what you have been doing for the past one hour today. Think about your thoughts, feelings and actions during this time.
  • Make a list of potential character names for your next story. You can use a fantasy name generator to help you.
  • Describe a futuristic setting. What do you think the world would look like in 100 years time?
  • Think about a recent argument you had with someone. Would you change anything about it? How would you resolve an argument in the future?
  • Describe a fantasy world. What kind of creatures live in this world? What is the climate like? What everyday challenges would a typical citizen of this world face? You can use this fantasy world name generator for inspiration.
  • At the flip of a switch, you turn into a dragon. What kind of dragon would you be? Describe your appearance, special abilities, likes and dislikes. You can use a dragon name generator to give yourself a cool dragon name.
  • Pick your favourite book or a famous story. Now change the point of view. For example, you could rewrite the fairytale , Cinderella. This time around, Prince Charming could be the main character. What do you think Prince Charming was doing, while Cinderella was cleaning the floors and getting ready for the ball?
  • Pick a random writing prompt and use it to write a short story. Check out this collection of over 300 writing prompts for kids to inspire you. 
  • Write a shopping list for a famous character in history. Imagine if you were Albert Einstein’s assistant, what kind of things would he shop for on a weekly basis?
  • Create a fake advertisement poster for a random object that is near you right now. Your goal is to convince the reader to buy this object from you.
  • What is the worst (or most annoying) sound that you can imagine? Describe this sound in great detail, so your reader can understand the pain you feel when hearing this sound.
  • What is your favourite song at the moment? Pick one line from this song and describe a moment in your life that relates to this line.
  •  You’re hosting an imaginary dinner party at your house. Create a list of people you would invite, and some party invites. Think about the theme of the dinner party, the food you will serve and entertainment for the evening. 
  • You are waiting to see your dentist in the waiting room. Write down every thought you are having at this moment in time. 
  • Make a list of your greatest fears. Try to think of at least three fears. Now write a short story about a character who is forced to confront one of these fears. 
  • Create a ‘Wanted’ poster for a famous villain of your choice. Think about the crimes they have committed, and the reward you will give for having them caught. 
  • Imagine you are a journalist for the ‘Imagine Forest Times’ newspaper. Your task is to get an exclusive interview with the most famous villain of all time. Pick a villain of your choice and interview them for your newspaper article. What questions would you ask them, and what would their responses be?
  •  In a school playground, you see the school bully hurting a new kid. Write three short stories, one from each perspective in this scenario (The bully, the witness and the kid getting bullied).
  • You just won $10 million dollars. What would you spend this money on?
  • Pick a random animal, and research at least five interesting facts about this animal. Write a short story centred around one of these interesting facts. 
  • Pick a global issue that you are passionate about. This could be climate change, black lives matters, women’s rights etc. Now create a campaign poster for this global issue. 
  • Write an acrostic poem about an object near you right now (or even your own name). You could use a poetry idea generator to inspire you.
  • Imagine you are the head chef of a 5-star restaurant. Recently the business has slowed down. Your task is to come up with a brand-new menu to excite customers. Watch this video prompt on YouTube to inspire you.
  • What is your favourite food of all time? Imagine if this piece of food was alive, what would it say to you?
  • If life was one big musical, what would you be singing about right now? Write the lyrics of your song. 
  • Create and describe the most ultimate villain of all time. What would their traits be? What would their past look like? Will they have any positive traits?
  • Complete this sentence in at least 10 different ways: Every time I look out of the window, I…
  • You have just made it into the local newspaper, but what for? Write down at least five potential newspaper headlines . Here’s an example, Local Boy Survives a Deadly Illness.
  • If you were a witch or a wizard, what would your specialist area be and why? You might want to use a Harry Potter name generator or a witch name generator for inspiration.
  • What is your favourite thing to do on a Saturday night? Write a short story centred around this activity. 
  • Your main character has just received the following items: A highlighter, a red cap, a teddy bear and a fork. What would your character do with these items? Can you write a story using these items? 
  • Create a timeline of your own life, from birth to this current moment. Think about the key events in your life, such as birthdays, graduations, weddings and so on. After you have done this, you can pick one key event from your life to write a story about. 
  • Think of a famous book or movie you like. Rewrite a scene from this book or movie, where the main character is an outsider. They watch the key events play out, but have no role in the story. What would their actions be? How would they react?
  • Three very different characters have just won the lottery. Write a script for each character, as they reveal the big news to their best friend.  
  • Write a day in the life story of three different characters. How does each character start their day? What do they do throughout the day? And how does their day end?
  •  Write about the worst experience in your life so far. Think about a time when you were most upset or angry and describe it. 
  • Imagine you’ve found a time machine in your house. What year would you travel to and why?
  • Describe your own superhero. Think about their appearance, special abilities and their superhero name. Will they have a secret identity? Who is their number one enemy?
  • What is your favourite country in the world? Research five fun facts about this country and use one to write a short story. 
  • Set yourself at least three writing goals. This could be a good way to motivate yourself to write every day. For example, one goal might be to write at least 150 words a day. 
  • Create a character description based on the one fact, three fiction rule. Think about one fact or truth about yourself. And then add in three fictional or fantasy elements. For example, your character could be the same age as you in real life, this is your one fact. And the three fictional elements could be they have the ability to fly, talk in over 100 different languages and have green skin. 
  • Describe the perfect person. What traits would they have? Think about their appearance, their interests and their dislikes. 
  • Keep a daily journal or diary. This is a great way to keep writing every day. There are lots of things you can write about in your journal, such as you can write about the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of your day. Think about anything that inspired you or anything that upset you, or just write anything that comes to mind at the moment. 
  • Write a book review or a movie review. If you’re lost for inspiration, just watch a random movie or read any book that you can find. Then write a critical review on it. Think about the best parts of the book/movie and the worst parts. How would you improve the book or movie?
  • Write down a conversation between yourself. You can imagine talking to your younger self or future self (i.e. in 10 years’ time). What would you tell them? Are there any lessons you learned or warnings you need to give? Maybe you could talk about what your life is like now and compare it to their life?
  • Try writing some quick flash fiction stories . Flash fiction is normally around 500 words long, so try to stay within this limit.
  • Write a six-word story about something that happened to you today or yesterday. A six-word story is basically an entire story told in just six words. Take for example: “Another football game ruined by me.” or “A dog’s painting sold for millions.” – Six-word stories are similar to writing newspaper headlines. The goal is to summarise your story in just six words. 
  • The most common monsters or creatures used in stories include vampires, werewolves , dragons, the bigfoot, sirens and the loch-ness monster. In a battle of intelligence, who do you think will win and why?
  • Think about an important event in your life that has happened so far, such as a birthday or the birth of a new sibling. Now using the 5 W’s and 1 H technique describe this event in great detail. The 5 W’s include: What, Who, Where, Why, When and the 1 H is: How. Ask yourself questions about the event, such as what exactly happened on that day? Who was there? Why was this event important? When and where did it happen? And finally, how did it make you feel?
  • Pretend to be someone else. Think about someone important in your life. Now put yourself into their shoes, and write a day in the life story about being them. What do you think they do on a daily basis? What situations would they encounter? How would they feel?
  • Complete this sentence in at least 10 different ways: I remember…
  • Write about your dream holiday. Where would you go? Who would you go with? And what kind of activities would you do?
  • Which one item in your house do you use the most? Is it the television, computer, mobile phone, the sofa or the microwave? Now write a story of how this item was invented. You might want to do some research online and use these ideas to build up your story. 
  • In exactly 100 words, describe your bedroom. Try not to go over or under this word limit.
  • Make a top ten list of your favourite animals. Based on this list create your own animal fact file, where you provide fun facts about each animal in your list.
  • What is your favourite scene from a book or a movie? Write down this scene. Now rewrite the scene in a different genre, such as horror, comedy, drama etc.
  •  Change the main character of a story you recently read into a villain. For example, you could take a popular fairytale such as Jack and the Beanstalk, but this time re-write the story to make Jack the villain of the tale.
  • Complete the following sentence in at least 10 different ways: Do you ever wonder…
  • What does your name mean? Research the meaning of your own name, or a name that interests you. Then use this as inspiration for your next story. For example, the name ‘Marty’ means “Servant Of Mars, God Of War”. This could make a good concept for a sci-fi story.
  • Make a list of three different types of heroes (or main characters) for potential future stories.
  • If someone gave you $10 dollars, what would you spend it on and why?
  • Describe the world’s most boring character in at least 100 words. 
  • What is the biggest problem in the world today, and how can you help fix this issue?
  • Create your own travel brochure for your hometown. Think about why tourists might want to visit your hometown. What is your town’s history? What kind of activities can you do? You could even research some interesting facts. 
  • Make a list of all your favourite moments or memories in your life. Now pick one to write a short story about.
  • Describe the scariest and ugliest monster you can imagine. You could even draw a picture of this monster with your description.
  • Write seven haikus, one for each colour of the rainbow. That’s red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. 
  • Imagine you are at the supermarket. Write down at least three funny scenarios that could happen to you at the supermarket. Use one for your next short story. 
  • Imagine your main character is at home staring at a photograph. Write the saddest scene possible. Your goal is to make your reader cry when reading this scene. 
  • What is happiness? In at least 150 words describe the feeling of happiness. You could use examples from your own life of when you felt happy.
  • Think of a recent nightmare you had and write down everything you can remember. Use this nightmare as inspiration for your next story.
  • Keep a dream journal. Every time you wake up in the middle of the night or early in the morning you can quickly jot down things that you remember from your dreams. These notes can then be used as inspiration for a short story. 
  • Your main character is having a really bad day. Describe this bad day and the series of events they experience. What’s the worst thing that could happen to your character?
  • You find a box on your doorstep. You open this box and see the most amazing thing ever. Describe this amazing thing to your readers.
  • Make a list of at least five possible settings or locations for future stories. Remember to describe each setting in detail.
  • Think of something new you recently learned. Write this down. Now write a short story where your main character also learns the same thing.
  • Describe the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen in your whole life. Your goal is to amaze your readers with its beauty. 
  • Make a list of things that make you happy or cheer you up. Try to think of at least five ideas. Now imagine living in a world where all these things were banned or against the law. Use this as inspiration for your next story.
  • Would you rather be rich and alone or poor and very popular? Write a story based on the lives of these two characters. 
  • Imagine your main character is a Librarian. Write down at least three dark secrets they might have. Remember, the best secrets are always unexpected.
  • There’s a history behind everything. Describe the history of your house. How and when was your house built? Think about the land it was built on and the people that may have lived here long before you.
  • Imagine that you are the king or queen of a beautiful kingdom. Describe your kingdom in great detail. What kind of rules would you have? Would you be a kind ruler or an evil ruler of the kingdom?
  • Make a wish list of at least three objects you wish you owned right now. Now use these three items in your next story. At least one of them must be the main prop in the story.
  • Using nothing but the sense of taste, describe a nice Sunday afternoon at your house. Remember you can’t use your other senses (i.e see, hear, smell or touch) in this description. 
  • What’s the worst pain you felt in your life? Describe this pain in great detail, so your readers can also feel it.
  • If you were lost on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere, what three must-have things would you pack and why?
  • Particpate in online writing challenges or contests. Here at Imagine Forest, we offer daily writing challenges with a new prompt added every day to inspire you. Check out our challenges section in the menu.

Do you have any more fun creative writing exercises to share? Let us know in the comments below!

creative writing exercises

Marty the wizard is the master of Imagine Forest. When he's not reading a ton of books or writing some of his own tales, he loves to be surrounded by the magical creatures that live in Imagine Forest. While living in his tree house he has devoted his time to helping children around the world with their writing skills and creativity.

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4 Engaging Writing Tasks for High School Students

Short, authentic writing tasks can encourage high school students to compose richer long pieces.

creative writing exercises for high school students

It’s quite likely that many of your students dislike writing. After all, they’re often expected to compose lengthy pieces that typically require lots of brainstorming, researching, planning, outlining, drafting, revising, and editing—and that can be exhausting. My class of high school boys had the same attitude, and their short, underdeveloped, and passionless pieces were most telling. I had to overhaul my approach.

During my quest for an alternative practice, I quickly learned that by building students’ knowledge about the topic on which they are expected to compose, and by initially assigning them shorter and more authentic writing tasks, we can successfully motivate them to write longer, richer, and more compelling multiparagraph pieces. Yes, baby steps—from a creep to a stable walk—can work wonders.

Incorporate Knowledge-Building Activities

Judith Hochman and Natalie Wexler said it best in  The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades : “Writing and content knowledge are intimately related. You can’t write well about something you don’t know well. The more students know about a topic before they begin to write, the better they will be able to write about it.”

Documentaries, podcasts, TED Talks, and other authentic and engaging audiovisuals can facilitate this knowledge building. Field trips, as well as interviews with relevant community-based experts, can also offer students significant fodder for their writing.

Moreover, when students have interesting discoveries to share, they’ll be excited about the writing tasks, and their compositions are likely to be longer, more detailed, more affecting, and more compelling. Because they have a rich knowledge bank, they’re less likely to get stuck and frustrated as they write. Knowledge stimulates ideas.

But information gathering is not all. It’s also important to show students how to use the newly learned content. We don’t want them to plagiarize information or inadvertently silence their own voices by over-quoting others. Their research should enhance what they write, not substitute for their initial thoughts or suppress their creativity.

What can you do then?

Go beyond lessons in citation format. Model, through write-aloud, how to make decisions about the content included in written work, how to paraphrase and summarize from the original source, and how to ensure that the added content actually strengthens what you already have.

Offer Authentically Rooted Writing Assignments

Finally, make sure that the writing assignments are authentic—with realistic, real-world communicative goals and true-to-life audiences (not just the classroom teacher). Here are some suggestions that you can implement in your teaching practice:

Travel blogs:  Take students on virtual field trips. Nearpod , Google Earth, and YouTube are excellent for this. Following this activity, have students write a blog post to describe the place they visited. If your students have visited resorts or attraction sites locally, they could write about that experience, recommend activities for prospective visitors, and simultaneously persuade them to visit when it is safe to do so.

Their insights might even persuade others to travel to this site. Students could use pictures to supplement their writing. They could also convert their written piece into a mini-video production for a real or imagined YouTube channel that promotes exotic getaways. Their composition would become the audio narration, and, with some background reggae, R & B, or any other culturally popular music, their piece would be beautifully transformed into a riveting marketing pitch.

Movie reviews:  Due to the pandemic, we know that many of our students may be watching far more movies than ever before. Therefore, let’s repurpose this social activity and use what they love or do for pleasure to help them refine a key academic skill. Have students write a review of their most recently watched or favorite film.

Prompt them to provide a summary of the movie, share their impressions of major characters and the plot’s unfolding, and examine the techniques used to create suspense and mounting tension. Later, when they’re writing their own narratives or putting on drama productions, they can adopt and adapt some of these techniques.

Song or music video reviews: Some students enjoy listening to music, so a song or music video review could also motivate them and facilitate interest-based differentiation. State where the review may be published—a local tabloid, a social media page, etc. Have students keep that in mind as they write so that their finished pieces are authentic and fitting for the context and audience intended.

Social media:  Based on your content area, you could have students make discipline-specific posts and write related captions. For instance, if you are looking at rocks in geography or soil types in science, have students photograph different types and post related descriptive or explanatory captions. They’ll be learning and teaching concurrently.

Provide Mentor Texts

These activities are exciting, but before you scuttle off to assign them, find or create models of the kinds of writing that you want your students to produce. Discuss the sample by prompting students to keenly attend to the content and the writer’s craft (style and techniques) throughout the piece.

Finally, make arrangements to have your students publish their pieces—through a safe online space or through an in-school magazine or newsletter—for authenticity at its finest.

creative writing exercises for high school students

55 Creative Writing Activities and Exercises

Creating writing activities

Have you ever heard these questions or statements from your students?

  • I don’t know where to begin.
  • How can I make my story interesting?
  • I’m just not creative.
  • What should my story be about?

If so, you won’t want to miss these creative writing activities. 

What Are Creative Writing Activities?

Activities that teach creative writing serve as drills to exercise your student’s writing muscle. When used effectively, they help reluctant writers get past that intimidating blank paper and encourage the words to flow. 

When I think of creative writing exercises , writing prompts immediately come to mind. And, yes, writing from a prompt is certainly an example of a creative writing activity (a highly effective one). 

However, writing prompts are only one way to teach creative writing. Other types of activities include games, collaboration with others, sensory activities, and comic strip creation to name a few.

Unlike writing assignments, creative writing activities aren’t necessarily meant to create a perfectly polished finished project. 

Instead, they serve as more of a warmup and imagination boost.

Picture-based writing exercises are especially fun. You can download one for free below!

Creative Writing Exercises

get this picture prompt printable for free!

How to use creative writing exercises effectively.

When teaching creative writing , the most effective exercises inspire and engage the student. 

Remember that worn-out prompt your teacher probably hauled out every year? 

“What I Did This Summer…” 

Cue the groaning. 

Instead of presenting your student with lackluster topics like that one, let’s talk about ways to engage and excite them. 

For Kids or Beginners

Early writers tend to possess misconceptions about writing. Many picture sitting down for hours straight, polishing a story from beginning to end. 

Even for experienced writers, this is next-to-impossible to do. It’s preconceived ideas like these that overwhelm and discourage students before they’ve even started. 

Instead of assigning an essay to complete, start with simple, short writing exercises for elementary students such as:

  • Creating comic strips using a template
  • Talking out loud about a recent dream
  • Writing a poem using rhyming words you provide
  • Creating an acrostic from a special word

Creative writing exercises don’t have to end in a finished piece of work. If the exercise encouraged creative thinking and helped the student put pen to paper, it’s done its job. 

For Middle School

Creative writing activities for middle school can be a little more inventive. They now have the fundamental reading and writing skills to wield their words properly. 

Here are some ideas for middle school writing exercises you can try at home:

  • Creating Mad Lib-style stories by changing out nouns, verbs, and adjectives in their favorite tales
  • Storyboarding a short film
  • Writing a family newsletter
  • Creating crossword puzzles

For High School 

Your high school student may be starting to prepare for college essays and other important creative writing assignments. 

It’s more critical than ever for her to exercise her writing skills on a regular basis. 

One great way to keep your high schooler’s mind thinking creatively is to have her make “listicles” of tips or facts about something she’s interested in already. 

Another fun and effective creative writing exercise for high school is to have your student retell classic stories with a twist. 

List of 55 Creative Writing Activities for Students of All Ages

No matter what age range your students may be, I think you’ll find something that suits their personality and interests in this list of creative writing ideas. Enjoy! 

  • Using only the sense of hearing, describe your surroundings. 
  • Write a paragraph from your shoes’ point of view. How do they view the world? What does a “day in the life of a shoe” look like?
  • Imagine what the world will be like in 200 years. Describe it. 
  • Write a letter to someone you know who moved away. What has he or she missed? Should he or she move back? Why? 
  • Make up an imaginary friend. What does he or she look like? What does he or she like to do?
  • Create a story about a person you know. Use as many details as possible.
  • Write a poem that describes a place you have been.
  • Soak up the season you’re in with seasonal creative writing prompts. Here are some ideas for fall and winter .
  • Write a song where each line starts with the next letter in the alphabet. 
  • Create a list of words related to something you love.
  • Write a short story based on a true event in your life.
  • Rewrite a chapter of your favorite book from the antagonist’s point of view. 
  • Write a letter to your future self. What do you want to make sure you remember?
  • Go on a five-senses scavenger hunt. Find three items for each sense. Create a story using the items you found. 
  • Create a story around an interesting picture ( try these fun picture writing prompts! )
  • Find an ad in a magazine or elsewhere and rewrite the description to convince people NOT to buy the advertised item.
  • Write a story using the last word of each sentence as the first word of the next.
  • Describe everything you’re sensing right now, using all five senses.
  • Write a list of animals A to Z with a one-sentence description of each one. Feel free to include imaginary animals.
  • Design your dream room in detail.
  • Write a script of yourself interviewing a famous person. Include his or her answers.
  • Describe what high school would be like if you lived on the moon. What would you be learning about? How would you be learning it?
  • Describe a day in the life of a famous person in history. Include both mundane and exciting details of things they may have experienced on a normal day.
  • Pick up something on a bookshelf or end table nearby. Now write a commercial script for it to convince your audience that they absolutely must own this thing.
  • Plan a birthday party for your best friend. Describe the decorations, food, and everything else.
  • Write a very short story about three siblings fighting over a toy. Now rewrite it twice, each time from a different character’s perspective.
  • Tell a story from the point of view of a pigeon on a city street.
  • Create a menu for a deli you’ll be opening soon. Name each sandwich after something or someone in real life and list the fillings and type of bread.
  • Pretend you just became famous for something. Write 3 exciting newspaper headlines about the topic or reason behind your newfound fame.
  • Keep a one-line-a-day journal. Every day, write down one thought or sentence about something that happened that day or how you felt about the day.
  • Have you ever had a nightmare? Write what happened but with a new ending where everything turns out okay (perhaps the monster was your dad in a costume, preparing to surprise you at your birthday party).
  • Write a “tweet” about something that happened to you recently, using only 140 characters. 
  • Take an important event in your life or the life of someone in your family. Write one sentence answering each of the 6 journalistic questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.
  • Set a timer for 5 minutes and write nonstop, starting with the words “I remember.” If you get stuck, write “I remember” again until you get unstuck.
  • Pick something you use often (a toothbrush, your desk, etc). Then tell the story of how it was invented. If you don’t know, make something up.
  • Choose a princess or hero and write a one-paragraph story about him or her traveling to a distant land.
  • Pretend you are a tour guide for a local attraction. It can be a library, a park, or a museum, but it could also be a place that wouldn’t normally hold tours (such as an arcade). Write a speech about what you tell your tour group as you walk around the attraction.
  • Create a marketing brochure for your favorite activity or fun place to go.
  • Make a list of 10 future story settings. Write one sentence describing each. For example, “ in the dark, musty cellar of my grandmother’s house, surrounded by dried-up jars of canned peaches… ”
  • Make a list of foods included in a dinner party catered by the world’s worst cook, describing how each course looks, smells, and tastes. Include your reactions while eating it.
  • Write out your own version of instructions for playing your favorite game.
  • Pretend you’ve lost your sight for one night. Describe going out to eat at a restaurant, using smells, textures, and sounds to tell your story.
  • Write a script for an interesting phone conversation in which the reader can only hear one side. 
  • Tell the story of an object someone threw away from the perspective of the person who tossed it out. Then tell the story of that same object from the perspective of a person who finds it and deems it a treasure.
  • List your 3 least favorite chores. Pick one and write a one paragraph detailing why you can’t possibly complete that chore ever again.
  • Write an excerpt from your dog’s diary (pretend he keeps one).
  • Write the script for a movie trailer—real or imagined.
  • Create an acrostic for a holiday of your choice. 
  • Pretend you’re the master of a role-playing game, describing a sticky situation in which the other players now find themselves. Describe the scenario in writing.
  • Compose a funny or dramatic caption for a photo.
  • Parents, place a textured object in a box without letting your student see it. Have him or her reach in, touch the object, and then describe how it feels.
  • Write lyrics for a parody of a song.
  • Make a list of 10-20 songs that would be played if a movie was made about your life.
  • Describe the sounds, smells, sights, and textures you’d experience if you went to the beach for the day.
  • Write an election speech with ludicrous and impossible campaign promises.

One of the best ways to encourage students to write regularly is by providing fun creative writing activities . 

They serve to encourage both the habit and mindset of writing with imagination. If you need extra help with that, check out Creative Freewriting Adventure :

Creative Freewriting Adventure

bring excitement into your student’s writing – no prep required!

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Jordan Mitchell


Teach Creative Writing In High School With 10 Fun Activities

Creative writing is a meaningful aspect of literature that mandates you to utilize your expertise, ingenuity, and story to depict a critical message, emotion, or plot. It defies the traditional bounds of other forms of writing and is completely subjective to our preferences and experiences. In creative writing, it’s all about imaginativeness!

Using creative imagination and originality to convey feelings and concepts in a unique way is at the heart of creative writing. Simply stated, it’s about infusing your own ‘flair’ into your writing, moving beyond academic or other technical kinds of literature. 

In this post, we will explore the various activities which would be advantageous for a high schooler who wishes to indulge in creative writing!

creative writing exercises for high school students

What Happens When Creative Writing Is Put To Use?

Creative writing is any form of writing that deviates from traditional professional, investigative journalism, educational, or technological forms of literature. It is typically distinguished by emphasizing narrative craft, character development, literary tropes, or various poetic traditions.

Here are the few ways how high schoolers can benefit from creative writing –

1. Imagination

When you write creatively, you expand your imagination by creating new environments, scenarios, and characters. This way, you are also boosting and stretching your imagination, as well as “thinking out of the box.” This allows you to concentrate your energy on many other things and improve your ability to find fresh ideas and alternatives to problems you’re having. Whether you’re a researcher or a businessman, creative writing will increase your imagination and help you think more creatively, and push the boundaries.

2. Empathy and Communications skills

When you create characters, you’ll be constructing emotions, personalities, behaviors, and world views that are distinct from your own. Writers must conceive personalities, emotions, places, and walks of life outside of their own lives while creating universes with fictional characters and settings.

This can give children a good dose of empathy and understanding for those who aren’t like them, who don’t live where they do or go through the same things they do daily. Writers are better equipped to communicate when they have a greater understanding of other points of view. They can come up with creative ways to explain and debate subjects from multiple perspectives. This ability is crucial in both professional and personal situations. 

3. Clarification of Thoughts 

Creating structures in creative writing allows you to organize your impressions and emotions into a logical procedure. You may express both your thoughts and your sentiments through creative writing. For example, if you’re a marketing executive, you could create a short tale in which your clientele reads your promotional emails. You can guess what they’re up to, where they’re seated, what’s around them, and so on.

This enables you to focus on the language and strategies you employ. Alternatively, if you’re a technical writer writing on a new desktop platform, you could create a creative scenario in which a user encounters a problem. 

4. Broadens Vocabulary and gets a better understanding of reading and writing

You’ll learn a larger vocabulary and a better understanding of the mechanics of reading and writing as you begin to practice writing exercises regularly. Even if you’re writing a budget report, you’ll know when rigid grammar standards work and when they don’t, and you’ll know what will make your writing flow better for your readers. Exploring different ways of expressing yourself when writing creatively allows you to extend your vocabulary.

You’ll notice a change in your use and range of language as you improve your writing over time, which will be useful in any professional route and social scenario. You’ll be able to bend and break the rules when you need to, to utilize your voice and make what you’re writing engaging without coming off as an amateur, dull, or inauthentic once you’ve grasped the fundamentals of writing professionally and creatively.

5. Building Self-Belief 

When you write creatively, you’re actively involved in an activity that allows you to fully develop your voice and point of view without being constrained. You have a better chance to investigate and express your feelings about various issues, opinions, ideas, and characters. And you’ll feel more at ease and secure stating your thoughts and perspectives in other things you write as a result of this.

Writers who don’t write creatively may be concerned about appearing authoritative or trustworthy. They accidentally lose their voice and sound like drones spouting statistics by omitting to include their perspective on the topics they’re writing about. As a result, they miss out on using their distinct voice and presenting themselves as an expert with real-world expertise.

Creative Writing Activities That Will Strengthen Your Writing Skills  

Short spurts of spontaneous writing make up creative writing activities. These writing exercises push a writer to tackle a familiar topic in a new way, ranging from one line to a lengthy tale. Short, spontaneous projects are common in creative writing programs, but any writer should make them a regular practice to extend their abilities and learn new tactics to approach a series of stories.

These activities must be performed for ten minutes at a time, several times a week – by creative writers. They’re designed to help you improve your writing abilities, generate fresh story ideas, and become a better writer.

1. Free Writing

Writing is the first and foremost activity that is going to give your creative writing a boost. Start with a blank page and let your stream of thoughts and emotions flow. Then simply begin writing. Don’t pause to think or alter what you’re expressing. This is known as “free writing.” This writing activity is referred to as “morning pages” by Julia Cameron, the author of ‘The Artist’s Way.’ She recommends that authors do this every day when they first wake up. Stream of consciousness writing can provide some intriguing concepts.

Allow your intellect to take the lead as your fingers type. Or write a letter to your younger self.  Consider a topic you’d like to discuss, such as a noteworthy event, and write it down. Give guidance or convey a message that you wish you had heard as a youngster or a young adult.

2. Modify a Storyline – Read

Most of us like to read. However, just reading won’t really help augment your creative writing skills. While reading bestows insight into the deeper meanings of numerous things, you need a more concrete approach to better your aptitude. To do this, you can modify any storyline. Take an episode from a chapter, if you’re feeling brave—from one of your favorite books and recreate it. Write it from the perspective of a different character. Swap out the main character in this exercise to examine how the story may be conveyed differently.

Take Percy Jackson’s thrilling conclusion, for instance, and rework it with Annabeth as the primary character. Another way to approach this creative activity is to keep the primary character but switch viewpoints. Rewrite a scene in the third person if the writer has told a story in the first person. 

3. Add Creative Writing Prompts or Create Flash Fiction

Use writing prompts, often known as narrative starters, to produce writing ideas. A writing prompt is a sentence or short excerpt that a writer uses to start composing a story on the spot. You can look up writing prompts online, pick a sentence out of a magazine at random, or use a brilliant line from a well-known work as the start of your short scene.

creative writing exercises for high school students

Another thing you can do to accentuate your writing is to create flash fiction. Sit down at your desktop or pick up a pen and paper and write a 500-word story on the spur of the moment. This isn’t the same as just writing whatever comes to mind. With no fixed guidelines, free writing generates a stream of consciousness. All of the basic components of a story arc, such as plot, conflict, and character development, are required in flash fiction, albeit in a shortened form.

4. Create a Fictitious Advertisement

Pick a random word from a nearby book or newspaper and create a fictitious commercial for it. Write one ad in a formal, abbreviated newspaper classified format to require you to pay special attention to your word choice to sell the item. Then write one for an online marketplace that allows for longer, more casual text, such as Craigslist. Describe the item and persuade the reader to purchase it in each one.

5. Engage in Conversations 

Engaging in conversations with your friends/family – or simply communicating can help brush up your writing skills. Talk to your loved ones about their hobbies, career, views on societal issues – any suitable topic for that matter. This helps implement others’ points of view and expands your mental ability. Another useful thing that you can do is – make another person’s tale and create it by implementing your own thoughts. Then talk about it in an impeccable manner. Also, talk in complete sentences. This goes to show your Linguistic intelligence proficiency – and helps augment your creative writing skills.

6. Create Your Own Website/Blog

Start your search for blogging. There are a million writing suggestions out there, but they all boil down to the same thing: write. Blogging is excellent writing practice because it gives you a place to write regularly.

creative writing exercises for high school students

To keep your fingers and mind nimble, write a post every day. Like most bloggers, you’ll want to restrict your subject—perhaps you’ll focus on parenting or start a how-to site where you can tell stories from your point of view.

7. Participate in Debates/Extempores  

Participating in debates, extempores – anchoring for your school function, giving a speech, all of these activities help boost your creative spirit. These group events make you understand what other people are envisioning, which in turn helps you generate new ideas, approaches, and methods. Not only do they improve your articulation and research skills, but they also develop critical thinking and emotional control abilities. All of these promote a better creative writing aptitude.

8. Start a YouTube Channel or Podcast 

Starting a YouTube channel or podcast will definitely level up your creative game. YouTube is a never-ending platform, covering myriads of topics. Choose a particular niche for your channel.

creative writing exercises for high school students

Then do your topic research, create content, manage SEO, approach brands, talk to clients and influencers – do all the good stuff. Communicating with other influencers and creating content will take your creative writing skills to another level. Starting a podcast will have a similar impact. 

9. Love them? Say it with your words!

We have many festivals, occasions, birthdays, parties, anniversaries and whatnot! You can employ these special days and boost your creative writing skills. You can make a token of love for them – writing about your feelings. You can also make gift cards, birthday cards, dinner menus, and so on. So let’s say, it’s your mother’s birthday, you can write her a token of love, elucidating your feelings and letting her know what all she’s done for you and that you’re grateful. Do this for all your near and dear ones. This not only spreads positivity and love but helps you develop your creative aptitude.

10. The What-if Game

The What-If game is an incredible way to upgrade your creative abilities. You can play this game with your friends, cousins, relatives, or solo. Here, you need to find links to many interesting hypothetical questions. For instance, what if the sun doesn’t rise for a week? What if there’s no oxygen for one minute? Play it with your peeps, or ask these questions to yourself. It can be anything random but concrete. If you don’t know the answers to the questions, look them up on Google. This way, you’re training your mind to learn new concepts all the while enhancing your visualization process. 

We can conclude that creative writing encourages students to think creatively, use their imaginations, imply alternatives, expand their thinking processes, and improve their problem-solving skills. It also allows the child to express themselves and grow their voice. Besides, it enhances reasoning abilities. The principle behind the creative writing concept is that everyone can gain the qualities that are needed to become a successful writer or, rather become good at writing. Creative writing is all about using language in new and innovative ways.

creative writing exercises for high school students

Sananda Bhattacharya, Chief Editor of TheHighSchooler, is dedicated to enhancing operations and growth. With degrees in Literature and Asian Studies from Presidency University, Kolkata, she leverages her educational and innovative background to shape TheHighSchooler into a pivotal resource hub. Providing valuable insights, practical activities, and guidance on school life, graduation, scholarships, and more, Sananda’s leadership enriches the journey of high school students.

Explore a plethora of invaluable resources and insights tailored for high schoolers at TheHighSchooler, under the guidance of Sananda Bhattacharya’s expertise. You can follow her on Linkedin

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10 Creative Writing Activities That Help Students Tell Their Stories

Lower the stakes and help them get started.

Share your story message written on three post it notes

“I don’t have a story. There’s nothing interesting about my life!” Sound familiar? I don’t know a teacher who hasn’t heard students say this. When we ask our students to write about themselves, they get stuck. We know how important it is for them to tell their own stories. It’s how we explore our identities and keep our histories and cultures alive. It can even be dangerous when we don’t tell our stories (check out this Ted Talk given by novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and share it with your students for more on that). Storytelling is essential for every subject, not just English Language Arts; students dive deeper and engage when they practice thinking about how their own stories intersect with historical events, civic engagement, and the real-world implications of STEM. These 10 creative writing activities can work in every subject you teach:

Here are 10 of our favorite story telling activities that inspire students:

1. write an “i am from” poem.

A students I Am From creative writing activities

Students read the poem “I am From” by George Ella Lyon. Then, they draft a poem about their own identity in the same format Lyon used. Finally, students create a video to publish their poems. We love this one because the mentor text gives a clear structure and example that students can follow. But the end result is truly unique, just like their story.

2. Design a social media post to share an important memory

collage of historical images creative writing activities

How can you use your unique perspective to tell a story? We want our students to learn that they are truly unique and have stories that only they can tell that other people want to hear or could relate to or learn from. In this activity, students watch two Pixar-in-a-Box videos on Khan Academy to learn about storytelling and perspective. Then, they identify an interesting or poignant memory and design a social media post.

3. Create an image using a line to chart an emotional journey

creative writing exercises for high school students

How do you show emotion using a single line? In this activity, students watch a Pixar in a Box video on Khan Academy to learn about how lines communicate character, emotion, and tension. Then they experiment with these aspects as they write their story. We love using this for pre-writing and to help students explore their story arc. Also, for students who love to draw or learn visually, this can help them get started telling their story and show them that there are many different ways to tell a story.

4. Tell the story behind your name

creative writing exercises for high school students

Sharing the story behind our name is a way to tell a story about ourselves, our culture, and our family history. And if there isn’t a story behind it, we can talk about how we feel about it and describe what it sounds like. In this activity, students use video to introduce themselves to their classmates by discussing the origin of their name. This project asks students to connect their names (and identities) to their personal and familial histories and to larger historical forces. If you’re looking for a mentor text that pairs well with this one, try “My Name” by Sandra Cisneros .

5. Develop a visual character sketch

Give students the time to create a character sketch of themselves. This will help them see how they fit into their story. In this lesson, students create a visual character sketch. They’ll treat themselves like a character and learn to see themselves objectively.

6. Create a webpage to outline the story of your movie

creative writing exercises for high school students

Building a story spine is a great way to show students how to put the parts of their story in an order that makes sense. It’s an exercise in making choices about structure. We like this activity because it gives students a chance to see different examples of structure in storytelling. Then, they consider the question: how can you use structure to set your story up for success? Finally, they design and illustrate an outline for their story.

7. Respond to a variety of writing prompts

Sometimes our students get stuck because they aren’t inspired or need a different entry point into telling their story. Give them a lot of writing prompts that they can choose from. Pass out paper and pencils. Set a timer for fifteen minutes. Then, write 3-4 writing prompts on the board. Encourage students to free-write and not worry about whether their ideas are good or right. Some of our favorite prompts to encourage students to tell their story are:

  • I don’t know why I remember…
  • What’s your favorite place and why?
  • What objects tell the story of your life?
  • What might surprise someone to learn about you?

8. Create a self-portrait exploring identity and self-expression

creative writing exercises for high school students

Part of what makes writing your own story so difficult for students is that they are just building their identity. In this activity, students explore how they and others define their identity. What role does identity play in determining how they are perceived and treated by others? What remains hidden and what is shown publicly?

9. Film a video to share an important story from your life

creative writing exercises for high school students

Encourage students to think about how to tell the story of a day they faced their fears. Students consider the question: How can you use different shot types to tell your story? They watch a video from Pixar in a Box on Khan Academy to learn about different camera shots and their use in storytelling. Then, they use Adobe Spark Post or Photoshop and choose three moments from their story to make into shots. We love using this to help students think about pace and perspective. Sometimes what we leave out of our story is just as important as what we include.

10. Try wild writing

Laurie Powers created a process where you read a poem and then select two lines from it. Students start their own writing with one of those lines. Anytime that they get stuck, they repeat their jump-off line again. This is a standalone activity or a daily writing warm-up, and it works with any poem. We love how it lowers the stakes. Can’t think of anything to write? Repeat the jump-off line and start again. Here are some of our favorite jump-off lines:

  • The truth is…
  • Some people say…
  • Here’s what I forgot to tell you…
  • Some questions have no answers…
  • Here’s what I’m afraid to write about…

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Academic Insights: Revisiting Creative Writing in High School

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My name is Debbie, and I am passionate about developing a love for the written word and planting a seed that will grow into a powerful voice that can inspire many.

Academic Insights: Revisiting Creative Writing in High School

The Importance of Creative Writing in High School Education

Exploring the benefits of incorporating creative writing in the curriculum, nurturing imagination and expression through creative writing, enhancing critical thinking and problem-solving skills through creative writing, fostering empathy and emotional intelligence through creative writing, strategies for implementing effective creative writing programs in high schools, supporting and encouraging creative writing talent in high school students, frequently asked questions, concluding remarks.

Creative writing is an invaluable component of high school education, fostering a wide range of skills that extend far beyond the realm of literature. By encouraging students to explore their imaginations, express their thoughts and emotions, and develop their own unique voice, creative writing helps students to develop vital communication skills that are applicable in every sphere of life. It nurtures creativity and originality, allowing students to think outside the box and approach problems with fresh perspectives.

Engaging in creative writing also enhances critical thinking skills, as students learn to analyze and evaluate their own work and the work of their peers. It encourages self-reflection and self-expression, helping students to understand and articulate their own thoughts and feelings more effectively. Through writing and receiving feedback, students develop the ability to think critically and improve their own writing, an essential skill in any academic or professional pursuit.

Moreover, creative writing fosters empathy and understanding by encouraging students to develop characters and narratives that differ from their own experiences. By exploring diverse perspectives and cultures, students broaden their horizons and gain a deeper appreciation for different viewpoints. Creative writing provides a safe space for students to explore difficult topics and grapple with complex emotions, enabling them to develop empathy and compassion for others.

In conclusion, cannot be overstated. It equips students with crucial communication and critical thinking skills while fostering empathy and understanding. By allowing students to unleash their creativity and explore new ideas, high schools can empower students to become well-rounded individuals with a lifelong love for learning and self-expression.

Exploring the Benefits of Incorporating Creative Writing in the Curriculum

Introducing creative writing into the curriculum brings a plethora of benefits that extend beyond just honing writing skills. This expressive form of writing opens up new doors that encourage students to think critically, enhance their communication abilities, and foster their creativity. Here are some key advantages of incorporating creative writing in the curriculum:

  • Development of Self-Expression: Through creative writing assignments, students are provided with a platform to effortlessly express their ideas, thoughts, and emotions. This can significantly contribute to their self-confidence and overall emotional well-being.
  • Cultivation of Critical Thinking Skills: Engaging in creative writing exercises challenges students to think outside the box, leading to improvements in their analytical and problem-solving abilities. As they explore different perspectives and concepts, students become better at generating innovative ideas and making connections.

With the incorporation of creative writing, educators will witness an improved classroom environment that encourages collaboration and nurtures imagination. Moreover, students will discover the joys of crafting something uniquely their own, allowing their creativity to flourish alongside their academic growth.

Creative writing is a wonderful avenue for nurturing the imagination and fostering self-expression. Through the power of words, individuals are transported to worlds beyond their wildest dreams, exploring new ideas, characters, and emotions. Whether it’s penning a captivating short story, constructing vivid poetry, or crafting a compelling screenplay, creative writing provides an outlet for artistic expression like no other.

When engaging in creative writing, it’s essential to embrace the freedom that comes with it. There are no limits to what one can create on the blank canvas of a page. Encourage your imagination to soar by delving into various genres and experimenting with different writing styles. From whimsical fairy tales to gripping thrillers, let your creativity roam free, unbound by convention. Unleash your unique voice and infuse your writing with your own personal experiences and insights. By doing so, you not only develop your writing skills but also harness the power of storytelling to connect with others on a deeper level.

To nurture imagination and expression through creative writing, consider the following techniques:

– **Brainstorming**: Kickstart your creative process by brainstorming ideas or themes that intrigue you. Jot down words, phrases, or images that come to mind and let your imagination make connections between them. – **Free Writing**: Allow your ideas to flow freely without any judgement or editing. Set a timer and write continuously, exploring different tangents and ideas. This practice helps overcome writer’s block and taps into the subconscious mind. – **Character Development**: Create multidimensional characters by giving them unique traits, backstories, and desires. Explore their motivations and conflicts, allowing them to come alive in your writing. – **Setting the Scene**: Paint a vivid picture by describing the setting in detail. Engage the reader’s senses to transport them to the world you have created. – **Revision and Feedback**: Don’t shy away from revising your work multiple times. Seek feedback from trusted friends, writing groups, or online communities. Constructive criticism can help refine your storytelling skills and enhance your writing.

In the realm of creative writing, the possibilities are endless. By conquering your inhibitions and embracing the world of imagination, you can embark on a thrilling journey of self-discovery while captivating others with your words. So, grab your pen, open your mind, and let your creativity flow onto the pages – there’s a captivating story waiting to be told!

Creative writing is not just a form of self-expression; it is also a powerful tool for enhancing critical thinking and problem-solving skills . Through the act of creating stories, poems, and other forms of written expression, individuals are encouraged to think critically and analyze situations from different perspectives. This process allows them to develop valuable problem-solving skills that can be applied to various aspects of their lives.

When engaging in creative writing, individuals are required to think deeply and imaginatively. They must analyze characters, plot developments, and conflicts, evaluating the consequences of different choices and decisions. By doing so, they begin to develop a greater understanding of cause and effect, honing their critical thinking abilities. Furthermore, creative writing encourages individuals to think outside the box and explore unconventional solutions. This type of thinking can be extremely beneficial in problem-solving scenarios, as it opens up new avenues and possibilities.

  • Through creative writing, individuals learn to ask critical questions and challenge assumptions, further strengthening their critical thinking skills.
  • By experimenting with different writing styles and techniques, individuals develop their ability to analyze and solve complex problems creatively.
  • Creative writing allows individuals to practice empathy, as they deeply connect with various characters and explore different perspectives, fostering a more nuanced approach to problem-solving.

Ultimately, incorporating creative writing into one’s routine can have a tremendous impact on their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. It not only allows individuals to explore their own creativity but also equips them with valuable skills that can benefit them in academic, professional, and personal domains.

In today’s fast-paced and technology-driven world, fostering empathy and emotional intelligence has become crucial. One effective way to develop these skills is through creative writing. By engaging in the art of storytelling and self-expression, individuals can better understand and connect with the emotions and experiences of others.

Through creative writing, individuals can learn to identify and explore their own emotions, as well as develop a deeper understanding of the diverse range of human experiences. This process encourages self-reflection and introspection, allowing individuals to gain insights into their own emotional world.

  • Enhanced empathy: Creative writing allows individuals to step into the shoes of different characters, experiencing their joys, sorrows, and challenges. This practice prompts a more empathetic and understanding attitude towards others in real life.
  • Improved communication skills: Writing creatively involves finding the right words to express complex emotions and ideas. This exercise develops effective communication skills that can be utilized in various personal and professional settings.
  • Increased self-awareness: By writing about their thoughts and feelings, individuals gain a deeper understanding of themselves. This self-awareness can lead to personal growth and improved emotional intelligence.

Whether through poetry, short stories, or journaling, creative writing provides a platform for individuals to tap into their emotions, expand their perspective, and cultivate empathy. It offers a unique opportunity to explore the human condition and foster meaningful connections with others.

Strategies for Implementing Effective Creative Writing Programs in High Schools

Implementing an effective creative writing program in high schools can greatly enhance the writing skills and creativity of students. Here are some strategies that can be employed to create a thriving creative writing environment:

  • Encourage freedom of expression: Allow students the freedom to explore their own unique writing styles and ideas. Avoid limiting them to strict guidelines and encourage them to think outside the box.
  • Provide diverse writing prompts: Offer a wide range of writing prompts to cater to different interests and inspire creativity. Include prompts related to various genres, such as fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, to give students the opportunity to explore different writing styles.
  • Create a supportive community: Foster a sense of community among aspiring writers by organizing workshops, writing groups, or open mic sessions where students can share their work and receive feedback from peers. This creates an environment that is conducive to growth and learning.

An effective creative writing program should also focus on skill development. Here are a few strategies to develop and enhance the writing skills of high school students:

  • Incorporate grammar and language exercises: Dedicate some time to reinforce grammar rules, punctuation, and syntax. Provide exercises and worksheets to help students practice and improve their understanding of the English language.
  • Introduce writing techniques: Teach students various writing techniques, such as storytelling, descriptive writing, and character development. Explore different literary devices and encourage students to experiment with their usage in their own writing.
  • Review and provide constructive feedback: Regularly review students’ writing and give constructive feedback that focuses on both strengths and areas for improvement. Encourage students to revise and edit their work based on feedback received.

At [Organization Name], we believe in fostering and nurturing the creative writing talents of high school students. We understand the importance of providing a platform for young writers to express their thoughts and ideas through the power of words. Through our various initiatives and programs, we aim to support and encourage these budding authors, helping them unlock their full potential.

1. Workshops and Writing Labs: Our organization hosts regular workshops and writing labs conducted by experienced authors and poets. These sessions provide students with the opportunity to enhance their writing skills, learn different writing techniques, and receive valuable feedback on their work. By participating in these interactive sessions, students can develop their unique writing style and improve their storytelling abilities.

  • Gain insights from professional writers
  • Learn techniques to enhance creativity and imagination
  • Understand the nuances of different genres

2. Writing Contests and Scholarships: To recognize exceptional talent, we organize annual writing contests exclusively for high school students. These contests encourage students to push their boundaries, experiment with different writing styles, and showcase their literary prowess. Winners of these contests not only receive recognition for their skills but also have the chance to win scholarships to further their education or attend writing programs, fostering their passion for creative writing even more.

  • Opportunity to compete with other young writers
  • Promote healthy competition and self-improvement
  • Potential funding for future educational endeavors

Q: What is the importance of creative writing in high school? A: Creative writing in high school is invaluable as it enhances students’ communication skills, fosters creativity, and encourages critical thinking. It allows students to express themselves freely and develop their unique voices.

Q: How does creative writing benefit students? A: Creative writing provides students with a platform to explore their imagination, develop empathy, and gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them. It also helps improve their writing and storytelling skills, which are essential in various academic and professional fields.

Q: What are the key elements of a successful high school creative writing program? A: A successful creative writing program in high school should offer a wide range of genres and writing styles, provide ample opportunities for feedback and revision, and encourage experimentation and risk-taking. It should also expose students to contemporary and diverse voices while promoting a supportive and inclusive learning environment.

Q: How can creative writing be integrated into the high school curriculum? A: Creative writing can be integrated into the high school curriculum by dedicating specific classes or modules to it. Additionally, it can be infused into other subjects, encouraging students to write creatively as part of their assignments or projects across disciplines like history, science, or even mathematics.

Q: What role should teachers play in fostering creative writing skills? A: Teachers play a crucial role in fostering creative writing skills by providing guidance, constructive feedback, and encouragement. They should create a safe space for students to express their ideas and creativity, while also introducing them to various literary works and writing techniques.

Q: How can technology support creative writing in high school? A: Technology can support creative writing in high school by providing students with easy access to online resources, writing communities, and digital tools for drafting, editing, and publishing their work. It can also facilitate collaborative writing projects and allow for peer feedback and discussions through online platforms or writing software.

Q: How can high schools collaborate with local writers and authors to enhance creative writing programs? A: High schools can collaborate with local writers and authors by inviting them as guest speakers, organizing workshops or writing contests, or establishing mentorship programs. Such collaborations provide students the opportunity to learn from professionals, gain insights into the publishing industry, and receive valuable feedback on their work.

Q: How can creative writing competitions and publications motivate high school students? A: Creative writing competitions and publications provide high school students a goal to strive for and a platform to showcase their talent. They create a sense of accomplishment and recognition among students and can serve as a catalyst for further improvement and engagement in the field of creative writing.

Q: Are there any long-term benefits of studying creative writing in high school? A: Absolutely! Studying creative writing in high school can have long-term benefits. It can help students develop their passion for writing, discover career paths in writing and publishing, and improve their college admission prospects. Furthermore, creative writing skills are transferable and applicable in various professional domains, fostering critical thinking and effective communication.

Academic Insights: Revisiting Creative Writing in High School

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How to Teach Creative Writing to High School Students

How to Teach Creative Writing to High School Students

Creative Writing was forced onto my schedule; I didn’t ask for it. But it ended up becoming my favorite class period of the day. While academic English courses can feel high-stakes and always short on time, Creative Writing can be a refreshingly relaxed elective class. In many districts with loose curriculums, Creative Writing is what you make of it. In this post, I outline six steps to show you how to teach creative writing to high school students.

Why Teach Creative Writing

Before we get into the how , let’s first address the why . Why bother teaching Creative Writing in the first place? Students’ basic skills are lower than ever; is now really the time to encourage them to break the rules?

If you want to get really deep into why you should teach Creative Writing, I have a whole post about it here.

But think about why you love reading. Is it because you were made to annotate or close read a bunch of classic novels? Probably not. You probably fell in love with reading while you were reading something that was fun. And because it was fun, you read more, and your skills as a reader grew.

The same principle applies to writing. If we can make it fun for our students, perhaps we can foster a love for it. And passion is what leads, eventually, to mastery.

Giving our students the opportunity to fall in love with writing is a gift that might help them grow in their academic writing later.

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Teach Creative Writing to High School Students Step #1: Decide on Your Standards or Goals

Your school or district may have a mandated syllabus or curriculum. Mine did not. 

Whether you’re given student goals or have to create them, you must have an overall vision for what your Creative Writing class will accomplish. 

Is this a laid-back, engaging course designed to help students discover the fun in writing? Or is it a supplement to rigorous academics for college-bound high school students? 

If you know your school’s student population well, I encourage you to think about their needs. Some students just need to write more–more of anything, but lots more. Some students are high achieving and ready to write their first novels! If possible, design your course around the needs and interests of the general student population in your school or district. 

Regardless of how rigorous your Creative Writing course will be, deciding on these goals first will help you in backwards planning. 

Teach Creative Writing to High School Students Step #2: Choose Your Final Assessments and Big Projects

Before we can start planning our lessons, we have to decide what skills or knowledge our students will need. And to know what they need, we have to decide on their summative assessments.

Cover for It's Lit Teaching Resource: Fairy Tale Retelling Creative Writing Project

Will your final assessment be a short story? A collection of poetry? Are you required to offer a final exam?

Once you know what students will need to do, you can make a list of the skill they’ll need. This list will become a list of lessons you’ll need to teach.

Fairy Tale Retelling Project

My Fairy Tale Retelling Project is a great Creative Writing assessment. For this project, students had to first choose a fairy tale. Then, they rewrote the story from the perspective of the villain.

This project works really well because students have structure. They can pick any fairy tale they want, but they can’t write about just anything.

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Secondly, students already know the story, so they don’t have to worry about a beginning, middle, and end. The open-endedness of writing a story completely from scratch has paralyzed my students before. Structure allows students lots of creative freedom without the excuse of “I don’t know what to write.”

Author Study Project

If you’d like your Creative Writing class to help beginner writers have fun and just get some practice with fiction writing, a Fairy Tale Retelling Project would probably be perfect for your class.

Another project I’ve done with my students is an Author Study . In this project, students choose one author to study in-depth. Then, they attempt to replicate that author’s style in an original work.

creative writing exercises for high school students

If you’d like your class to also include lots of exposure to other writers or classic literature, then this might be a great assessment for your class.

Learn more about doing an author study in this step-by-step post.

Test or Final Exam

I also gave my students a final exam focused on literary terms.

This Literary Terms Test allowed me to test students on the academic knowledge they gained throughout class instead of their writing ability. This test also helped me fulfill my district’s requirement of having a final exam at the end of each course.

Once you’ve decided on your class’s major projects and assessments, you can begin designing the rest of your class.

Teach Creative Writing to High School Students Step #3: Backwards Plan

Now that you know what your students will need to do at the end of this class, you can list out everything you need to teach them in order for them to be successful.

For example, if you opt for an author study as a final project, you know what you will need to cover. You will need to teach students some literary terms so that they can describe an author’s style. You’ll need to show them how to analyze a poem.

During the course of your class, you’ll also want to expose students to a variety of authors and mentor texts. Students will need to practice basic writing techniques in order to replicate those of their chosen authors.

If you need some inspiration for what kinds of lessons to teach, check out this post on essential Creative Writing lessons.

Teach Creative Writing to High School Students Step #4: Decide on Your Class Structure

Once you’ve decided on the end goals for your Creative Writing class, you can use them to help create day-to-day plans. 

What will your class look like? Will it be full of lots of quiet and independent work time? Will it be full of frenetic energy with students working in collaborative groups? Are students writing in notebooks or on laptops?

Cover of It's Lit Teaching Resource: Creative Writing Journal Prompts for High School

Of course, a successful class will most likely include a mixture of all of the above. But it’s up to you to decide on your ratio. 

Again, I encourage you to think about your school’s population. If you’re on ninety-minute blocks, is it realistic for students to be quietly writing that whole time? If you have high-achieving students, might they benefit from working independently at home and then getting and giving peer feedback during class time?

Use your goals to help decide on a general class structure. 

Warm-ups for Creative Writing

You’ll need a consistent way to begin each class.

When I initially began teaching Creative Writing, I just wanted to provide my students with more time to write. We began every class period with free writing. I gave students a couple of prompts to choose from each day, and then we’d write for about ten minutes. 

( Those journal prompts are right here . Every day includes two prompts plus a third option of freewriting.)

Students were given the option to share part of their writing if they wanted to. Every couple of weeks I’d flip through their notebooks to make sure they were keeping up, but I only read the entries they starred for me in advance. 

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Later, I wanted to add some rigor to my Creative Writing class and leverage more mentor texts. I created a Poem of the Week activity for each week of the course. 

This gave students the opportunity to study professional writing before using it as a mentor text for a new, original piece. 

(You can read more about using these Poem of the Week activities here.) 

As my goals for the class and my students change, so did the way we began class. 

How can you begin your class in a way that supports the end goals or teaches the desired standards? How often will peers work together?

Teach Creative Writing to High School Students Step #5: Focus on Engagement Strategies

Now you can actually start planning lessons and projects!

But as you do so, focus on creating engaging ones–especially if your class is meant to be a fun elective.

Need more tips? Check out this post full of Creative Writing teaching tips!

Use Mentor Texts and Lots of Examples

Have you ever tried putting a puzzle together without knowing what the image was going to look like? It would be pretty difficult! Similarly, students need lots of examples of strong writing to aspire to. 

Without clear models or mentor texts , students will happily turn in unread drafts. They’ll choose the first word that comes to their mind instead of searching for a better one. 

But if you surround students with great writing, highlight strong technique when discussing the writing of others, and challenge them to notice the details in their own writing, they’ll naturally become better at self-editing.

I don’t believe that you can provide students with too many mentor texts or examples of strong writing. As you teach Creative Writing, keep or take pictures of strong writing samples from students to use as examples later. 

Nearly all of my lessons and projects include an example along with instruction.

Model and Create with Your Students

You can even use your own writing as an example. When I had students free write to creative writing prompts, I always wrote with them. Sometimes I would then put my notebook under the document camera and model reading my own work.  

I would cross out words and replace them or underline phrases I thought were strong enough to keep. Model for students not just great writing, but the process of strengthening writing.

And then give them plenty of time to edit theirs. This is when having students engage in peer feedback is a game-changer. 

Without great writing to aspire to, however, students easily become lazy and turn in work that is “good enough” in their eyes. Don’t let them get lazy in their writing. Keep throwing greater and greater work in front of them and challenge them to push themselves. 

(This is another reason I love using Poem of the Week warm-ups –they expose students to a new writer every week!)

Set Clear Expectations

Creative writing causes a lot of students anxiety. There’s no “right” answer, so how will they know if they creatively wrote “correctly?”

Help them out by setting clear expectations. Offering a rubric for every project is great for this. If you can, give them specifics to include. “At least 500 words” or “three or more similes” are nice, concrete guidelines that students can follow.

Give Students Choice

Offering students choice always boosts engagement. It lets students take charge of their learning and pursue something that interests them.

For example, when I teach odes , students are given the opportunity to write about something they love.

With an author study , students can study a writer whose style and work they admire.

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Teach Creative Writing to High School Students Step #6: Use Clear and Structured Expectations

While showing students excellent prose or perfect poetry should help inspire students, your writers will still need some hard parameters to follow. 

Academic writing is often easier for students than creative writing. Usually, academic writing follows a structure or certain formula. The rubric dictates exactly how many quotes need to be included or how long an essay needs to be. MLA or APA formats tell students how to punctuate quotes and citations. 

These rules don’t apply to creative writing. And while that’s exactly what makes creative writing awesome, it’s often overwhelming. 

So do your students a favor and give them some clear expectations (without, of course, entirely dictating what they need to write about).  

The project also includes a rubric, so young writers know what should be included in their stories.

Don’t give your students so much creative freedom that it paralyzes them! Your writers are still students; give them the same level of structure and organization that you would in any other class. 

creative writing exercises for high school students

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Teach Creative Writing to High School Students Step #7: Give Students Choices

So how do you give students frameworks, requirements, and uphold high expectations without stifling their creativity?

Give students choices. You can write about A, B, or C, as long as you meet requirements 1, 2, and 3. 

Offering choices works with small one-day assignments or lessons as well as bigger, longer-term projects. 

Cover for It's Lit Teaching Resource: Show. Don't Tell Creative Writing Mini Lesson Workshop

The previously mentioned Fairy Tale Retelling Project is a great example of offering a narrow selection of choices that uphold expectations without dictating what students write. 

Another one of my favorite examples of offering students choices is my “Show. Don’t Tell” Mini-lesson . This lesson touches on everything students need to successfully learn creative writing. 

First I teach them the concept of showing vs. telling in writing through direct instruction. I show them lots of examples of expanding a “telling sentence” into a “showing paragraph.”

Then I model for students how I would write a paragraph that shows crucial information, rather than telling it. 

Lastly, I have students pick a strip of paper from a hat or a bag. Each strip of paper contains a “telling sentence” that they must then write as a “showing paragraph.” Students are limited by the sentences I provide, but they still have complete freedom over how they achieve that detailed paragraph. 

If you wanted to give students even more freedom, you could let them pick their sentences or trade with a peer rather than blindly choosing. 

Any time you can give students a choice, you give them permission to use their creativity and allow them to take some of the initiative in their own learning.

Teach Creative Writing to High School Students Step #8: Encourage Peer Collaboration and Feedback

We can tell students something a hundred times, but they won’t listen until a peer says the same thing. Us educators know the value of positive peer interaction, so don’t limit it in a creative writing class!

There are a ton of ways to implement peer interaction in a creative writing class. I often do this on the first day of class with a writing game. You’ve probably heard of it: everyone writes a sentence on a piece of paper, then everyone passes the paper and adds a sentence, and so on. 

I highly encourage you to use peer feedback throughout the class. I usually start having students share their work from day one with my free “I Am” Poem Lesson so that they can start getting used to having their work read by others immediately.

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Make getting feedback so routine in your room that students don’t even question it.

It’s really tempting to let students get away without sharing their work. We don’t want to make shy or anxious students uncomfortable. I mean, what better way to completely ruin creative writing for a student than to make them feel embarrassed all the time, right?

But keep trying to encourage shy students to share. Even if that means you share it anonymously or read it aloud for them. 

I recommend including some kind of peer feedback with every writing assignment . Yes, even short practice assignments. This will work as a kind of “immersion therapy” for receiving feedback on more involved work.

After some time, you might find that your students even begin to share their work without your prompting! 

I like to organize the desks in my Creative Writing class so that students are in little groups. I’ve found that at least half of my classes will begin talking and sharing with one another in their little groups while working on projects. 

They’ll ask each other questions or to remind them of a word. They’ll read sentences aloud and ask if they sound right. Personally, I would much rather hear this kind of chatter in my class than have a dead silent room of boring writers!

However you decide to allow students to work together, be sure to provide the opportunity. Reading and getting feedback from peers could possibly teach students more about writing than any of your instruction (sorry!).

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One of the truly great things about teaching creative writing to high school students is that there often isn’t a rigid curriculum. Of course, this is also sometimes one of the worst things about teaching creative writing to high school students!

You have total freedom over the assignments you give, the standards you teach, and how you organize and structure your classroom. After a few years of teaching Creative Writing, however, I’ve found that sticking to these six steps is a great way to have a successful semester.

If you’re excited about teaching your Creative Writing class, but are running low on prep time, check out my complete 9-week Creative Writing course ! Included are two different types of warm-ups, poetry analysis activities from well-known authors, mini-lesson, projects, and more!

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6 Winning Creative Writing Exercises for Secondary School Students

Posted on 8 April 2019 by Laura Slingo in General

You can make a strong practical case that creative writing is more important to young people than ever before. Social media invites them to share their thoughts, the internet connects them to people from across the globe, and the rise of personal branding in a competitive employment market drives them to set themselves apart. But it’s more than that. It’s a vital component of reaching maturity — of knowing yourself, how you think, what you want, and what matters to you. It nurtures imagination and optimism.

Of course, with so many adolescent distractions swirling around, it can be difficult to get secondary school students interested in creative writing. That’s why it’s vital to set out compelling exercises to hook them while you have their attention. Here are 6 that are particularly worth trying:

1) Collaborating on a story

If you’ve ever played a simple game of taking it in turns to contribute a word , ultimately resulting in a comical sentence, then you’ll know how easily you can be swept up in something that requires only sporadic effort. Students love to socialise, naturally, so why not take advantage of that eagerness to team up by assigning a collaborative exercise?

Instead of contributing a word, each person can contribute a sentence at a time, and the beauty of it is that it can work even if the participants don’t entirely get along. After all, each fresh sentence can radically change the direction of the story, supporting or sabotaging its predecessor. This flexibility is great for creativity.

2) Taking a different perspective

It’s natural to write as yourself — it’s the only perspective you truly know, after all — but it can be creatively limiting. When we think of alternatives, though, we often baulk. We don’t really feel comfortable taking other perspectives, because we assume, we’ll get them wrong, and it’s quite strange to try writing as someone else.

Consequently, it’s ideal for taking someone out of their comfort zone and forcing them to adapt as they go. Many of the assumed perspectives (if not all of them) will be wildly inaccurate, inevitably, but that doesn’t matter. The objective isn’t to reflect the real world — in fact, it’s less useful if it does. The goal is to get people thinking. If you think it will help, you can even mandate that only fictional characters are used.

3) Fleshing out a prompt

Writing prompts are hugely useful for aspiring writers everywhere, because they force you into a corner and task you with writing your way out. Given that students can easily get distracted by the sheer range of potential directions for their writing, this type of focus saves a lot of time and more rapidly yields meaningful results.

While you can certainly create some from scratch, it’s really easy to find suitable prompts online. There are plenty of huge lists just a Google search away. Let the students know that they can go in whatever direction they prefer or give them a goal to strive towards. Either approach is viable.

4) Writing without structure

Sometimes the best way to get creative with writing is simply to start writing and keep going with no particular aim in mind. You can take the “stream of consciousness” approach, or just make a completely relaxed effort at telling a particular story (forgetting about the need to be succinct, or even intelligible). The point is to completely be yourself ( everyone else is taken , anyway).

This is a great exercise because it can concern little more than small chunks of language. Phrases the students like, or particular constructions they want to experiment with. When you’re locked into a given brief, you can’t fully embrace your lexical preferences — and you might find that, given the chance to toy with them, many students will develop great affection for words.

5) Outlining a novel

Writing a novel can easily sound like an impossibly-arduous task, particularly to a young student with a nascent notion of hard work and dedication. That slog of working through hundreds of pages can dampen the creative appeal of designing an entire fictional continuity, but you don’t need to write a novel to introduce that appeal: you can simply plan one.

This is because there’s a clear story outline template that appears again and again in books. You can deviate from the structure, of course, just as you can deviate from grammatical norms — but only when it’s justified. Jericho Writers provides a comprehensive plot outline template, complete with example subplots and actional tips: you can use it as a building block.

6) Targeting a specific emotion

Creative writing is typically about evoking emotion . Horror seeks to scare you, to set you on edge and fill your mind with nightmarish scenarios. Comedy attempts to lift your spirits, leaving you chuckling and filled with renewed optimism. Romance pulls on your heartstrings and because of this, there’s a lot of value in tasking students with targeting specific emotions.

How does this work? It’s simple: you ask a student to write something sad, happy, wistful, regretful, or angry. It could be a poem, a fictional story, an account of a real event. It could even be a character description. The only requirement is that they take aim (full-force) at the emotion they’ve been assigned. No half-measures.

Creative writing is a fantastic addition to anyone’s set of skills, but it’s also an excellent way to deal with the stresses of everyday life and making it a worthwhile pastime for secondary school students. 

Laura Slingo is a writer and editor that regularly pens career, marketing and lifestyle advice for leading publications across the globe. Looking for inspiration for your next creative writing project? Perhaps learning more about William Shakespeare and his legacy of work will give you the creative drive you need!

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creative writing exercises for high school students

Home › Study Tips › Creative Writing Resources For Secondary School Students

Creative Writing Resources For Secondary School Students

  • Published July 28, 2022

creative writing exercises for high school students

Table of Contents

Do you LOVE writing? Do you wish you could learn more about creative writing and what it takes to be a creative writer? Do you know what career prospects you’d have as a creative writer?

It’s one of our most popular courses, and that’s why our creative writing summer course students demanded we release a guide!

We’ve put together this guide to give a detailed overview of everything you need to know about creative writing.

You’ll learn about:

  • What is creative writing?
  • Creative writing tips and how to use them
  • Creative writing examples and why they’re good
  • Creative writing exercises (over 30!)
  • Creative writing prompts
  • Creative writing prompts for middle school students
  • Creative writing prompts for high school students
  • What is the difference between prose and poetry?
  • A Level Requirements for Creative Writing
  • Best UK Universities For Creative Writing and what makes them good
  • Career choices that creative writers have and what their salaries are
  • & much more

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creative writing exercises for high school students

Teaching Creative Writing with High School Students

Are you looking for how to teach a creative writing class? Teaching creative writing can benefit reluctant writers. Teach creative writing and meet narrative writing standards. Included are free creative writing assignments for high school.

Teaching creative writing will stretch you as a person and as a teacher. If you’re looking for h ow to teach a creative writing class, I hope my refection process benefits you. 

This past semester, I was tasked with teaching creative writing for the first time. Before I dive into the second semester, I want to reflect on my experiences. This sort of class is one that I will never teach the same way twice because my writers will always have different needs. Still, I need to process what approaches worked and did not work.

If these ideas help another teacher, great! Below is what I learned from teaching creative writing with high school students. As I consider h ow to teach creative writing, I realize that much of the process includes diverse learning tools and encouragement from me to students. 

Also! I have a freebie in this post that you can hand students tomorrow! Sign up for Language Arts Classroom’s library to receive the handout and other freebies:

Are you looking for how to teach a creative writing class? Teaching creative writing can benefit reluctant writers. Teach creative writing & meet narrative writing standards with creative writing activities. Included are free creative writing assignments for high school. Creative writing lessons for high school English classes can add pictures & computer programs to ELA classes. Creative writing assignments high school scaffold the writing process in ninth grade through twelve grade English.

Now, here are my ideas for h ow to teach creative writing with high school students. 

Encourage peer collaboration and feedback.

High school students don’t always value interaction, brainstorming, and creating with peers. Such collaboration is important in any class; in creative writing, it is vital. When I began collaboration with students, I didn’t always see the results I wanted. As I continue to t each creative writing, I realized the importance of providing a model. 

Even though I work with older students, I still need to model the collaborative process. I often did this by writing a sample, verbalizing what I liked and disliked, and asking for student approval. Plus, I never let questionable feedback offend me; I would instead articulate what the student said about my work.

The next time that I teach creative writing, I need to be more intentional with designing feedback. Sure, older students understand that collaboration is important and that kindness moves their messages forward. Still, I should provide exact examples for them to model their feedback.

Creative writing improves with feedback.

Because imaginations dominate the writing, it is easy for students to lose track of transitions and explanations. The story might be interesting, but a fresh reader might be confused. Part of the fun of creative writing includes breaking grammar rules. But! The subtraction of rules can’t include adding confusion. Creative writing assignments for high school must include discussions of structure, organization, and clarity. 

Remind students that at the end of a book, the author thanks a list of people who provided feedback and encouragement. The list of readers is long . Professional writers gladly accept feedback. Train students to think of feedback as part of the process. Show students what authors think of their process.

Students might understand that they should provide feedback, but they should also understand that receiving feedback is important too.

Use images to spur creativity.

Creative writing assignments for high school should include images! Pictures are a perfect scaffolding tool for teaching creative writing. 

This brainstorming technique worked multiple times when students found a wall. Grab some pictures from the Internet and compile them into a presentation like I did for this character activity . You can also head outside or ask students to contribute pictures. I have many Pinterest boards that inspire my own writing. Encourage students to develop a process that inspires them as writers.

Now that you have pictures, try brainstorming. What colors, depths, and shadows do students see in these images? How can those descriptions better their writing?

Another opportunity for images is to head outside with your writers. You might focus students by providing certain images for them to analyze.

Review dialogue rules.

Dialogue confused my students, and I’m not sure I have a solid reason as to why. I’m guessing that the rules differ from citations in formal writing, and that is their typical writing assignment. I had my students bookmark this page . We reviewed and practiced dialogue frequently.

Practicing punctuation, reviewing grammar rules, and breaking grammar rules can be great addition to teach creative writing.

Are you looking for how to teach a creative writing class? Teaching creative writing can benefit reluctant writers. Teach creative writing & meet narrative writing standards with creative writing activities. Included are free creative writing assignments for high school. Creative writing lessons for high school English classes can add pictures & computer programs to ELA classes. Creative writing assignments high school scaffold the writing process in ninth grade through twelve grade English.

Implement literary devices.

All those literary devices students find in literature? Now it is their turn to implement them! Some, like similes and direct characterization, come naturally. Students automatically include many literary devices. Don’t be afraid to read literature as you teach creative writing. Inspiration and examples help young writers, especially concerning literary devices.

Trickier literary devices? My class and I really worked with indirect characterization, conflicts , and setting . Students had too much telling and not enough showing. I’ve found that using pictures is a great scaffolding technique as I teach creative writing. Pictures inspire students to see angles they normally wouldn’t by simply imagining their story. Pictures provide a step for students as they implement literary devices in their creative writing activities.

As I teach creative writing, I realize the importance of pulling examples from literature. Students read creative writing! Emphasize that point with them. 

Develop characters.

Whatever your creative writing activities for high school students, you should include character development. Students really bloom when they craft characters. Sometimes students need prompting, so I created a brainstorming list for students, and you may download it for free .

Why did I do this? Creating and developing characters is hard! Students know interesting characters; in fact, I spent time brainstorming memorable ones with students. Then, we discussed why those characters stayed in their memories.

From our discussions, students realized that these characters have multiple levels. They have quirks and unlikable traits. No human is perfect; a realistic character isn’t either. We gave our characters mild obsessions (chewing nails), memorable habits (eating cheesy waffles for breakfast), and a unique style (red jean jacket). To do this, I asked characters to brainstorm more information for their character than they would ever include in their story. Creative writing assignments for high school can be analytical: Older students have years of viewing and reading characters!

Why? Well, students then had an image of the character which flowed into the development. The ideas were easier to weave into the story when students had this background information. Finally, students had a unique character they invested in before they began writing a story.

Teaching creative writing was rewarding in many ways. Students expressed their concerns and fears, joys and triumphs. When I took over this class, I wondered what the outcome would be. This was my first experience teaching creative writing, and I was nervous. Now as I prepare for the new semester, I’m excited to see what students develop and what I can create to help them.

You are welcome to download the characterization brainstorming sheet for free! Sign-up for Language Art Classroom’s library to download it and other freebies.

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Character creation is part of narrative writing

Are you looking for more ideas for h ow to use pictures and other engaging materials for creative writers?

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25 Best Writing Competitions for High School Students – 2024

April 12, 2024

Best Writing Competitions for High School Students

Over the past several years, the number of college applicants has been steadily rising. [i] As college admissions become more competitive, there are many steps a student can take to achieve high school success and become an outstanding candidate for college admissions: earning high SAT scores, securing strong letters of recommendation , and participating in various competitions will all boost your admissions prospects. [ii] In particular, writing competitions for high school students are a popular way to win scholarships and prize money, receive feedback on writing, build a portfolio of public work, and add to college application credentials!

Below, we’ve selected twenty-five writing competitions for high school students and sorted them by three general topics: 1) language, literature and arts, 2) STEM, environment and sustainability, and 3) politics, history and philosophy. It’s never too soon to begin thinking about your future college prospects, and even if you are a freshman, many of these writing competitions for high schoolers will be open to you! [iii]

Writing Competitions for High School Students in Language, Literature, and Arts

1) adroit prizes for poetry and prose.

This prestigious creative writing award offers high school students the opportunity to showcase their work in Adroit Journal . Judges are acclaimed writers in their respective genres.

  • Eligibility: All high school students (including international students) are eligible to apply. Poetry contestants may submit up to five poems. Prose contestants may submit up to three pieces of fiction or nonfiction writing (for a combined total of 3,500 words – excerpts accepted).
  • Prize: Winners will receive $200 and their writing will be published in Adroit Journal . All submitted entries will be considered for publication!
  • Deadline: May 1st (specific deadline may vary by year).

2)  Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest

This unique essay competition allows writers the chance to explore and respond to Ayn Rand’s fascinating and polemic 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged . Specific essay topics are posted every three months; prizes are granted seasonally with a grand prize winner announced every year.

  • Prize: Annual grand prize is $25,000.
  • Deadline: Deadlines occur every season, for each seasonal prompt.
  • Eligibility: Essays must be written in English and be 800-1,600 words in length.

Writing Competitions for High School Students (Continued)

3)  the bennington young writers awards.

Through Bennington College, this high school writing competition offers three prizes in three different genre categories: poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Winners and finalists who decide to attend Bennington College will ultimately receive a substantial scholarship prize.

  • Eligibility: U.S. and international students in grades 9 through 12 may apply.
  • Prize: First place winners receive $1,000; second place wins $500; third place winners receive $250. YWA winners who apply, are admitted, and enroll at Bennington receive a $15,000 scholarship per year (for a total of $60,000). YWA finalists who apply, are admitted, and enroll at Bennington will receive a $10,000 scholarship per year (for a total of $40,000).
  • Deadline: The competition runs annually from September 1st to November 1st.

4)  Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) Student Essay Contest

Do you love Jane Austen? If so, this is the high school writing competition for you! With the JASNA Student Essay Contest, high school students have the opportunity to write a six to eight-page essay about Jane Austen’s works, focused on a specific, designated topic for the competition year.

  • Eligibility: Any high school student (homeschooled students also eligible) enrolled during the contest year may submit an essay.
  • Prize: First place winner receives a $1,000 scholarship and two nights’ lodging for the upcoming annual JASNA meeting. Second place wins a $500 scholarship and third place wins a $250 scholarship. All winners will additionally receive a year membership in JASNA, the online publication of their article, and a set of Norton Critical Editions of Jane Austen’s novels.
  • Deadline: Submission accepted from February-June 1st (specific dates may vary by year).

5)  The Kennedy Center VSA Playwright Discovery Program

Young aspiring writers with disabilities are encouraged to apply to this unique program. Students are asked to submit a ten-minute play script that explores any topic, including the student’s own disability experience.

  • Eligibility: U.S. and international high school students with disabilities ages 14-19 may apply.
  • Prize: Multiple winners will receive exclusive access to professional development and networking opportunities at The Kennedy Center.
  • Deadline: January (specific deadline date may vary by year).

6)  Leonard M. Milburg ’53 High School Poetry Prize

Through Princeton’s Lewis Center for the Arts, this prestigious writing competition for high school students recognizes outstanding poetry writing and is judged by creative writing faculty at Princeton University.

  • Eligibility: U.S. or international students in the eleventh grade may apply. Applicants may submit up to three poems.
  • Prize: First place wins $1,500; second place wins $750; third place wins $500.
  • Deadline: November (specific deadline date may vary by year).

7)  Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest

Nancy Thorp was a student at Hollins University who showed great promise as a poet. After her death, her family established this scholarship to support budding young poets.

  • Eligibility: Female high school sophomores and juniors are eligible to apply. Applicants must be U.S. citizens.
  • Prize: First place wins $350 and publication in Cargoes literary magazine, along with a $5,000 renewable scholarship (up to $20,000 over four years) if the student enrolls in Hollins University, and free tuition and housing for Hollins University’s summer creative writing program (grades 9-12). Second place wins publication in Cargoes, along with a $1,000 renewable scholarship ($4,000 over four years) if the student enrolls at Hollins and $500 to apply toward Hollins’ summer creative writing program.
  • Deadline: October (specific deadline date may vary by year).

8)  National Council of Teachers of English Achievement Awards in Writing

Students may be nominated by their English teachers to win this prestigious writing award. Winners “exhibit the power to inform and move an audience through language” and prompts and genres may vary by competition year.

  • Prize: A certificate will be awarded to students who are judged to have exceptional writing skills. Student names will be displayed on the NCTE website.
  • Eligibility: U.S. high school sophomores and juniors are eligible for nomination.
  • Deadline: February (specific dates may vary by year). Contest prompts released in August.

9)  National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

At Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, numerous opportunities for scholarships and awards await those who submit writing in various genres: literary criticism, drama, poetry, and fiction. In all, there are 28 generic categories of art and writing to choose from!

  • Eligibility: Teens in grades 7-12 (ages 13 and up) may apply.
  • Prize: Various types of recognition and scholarships (up to $12,500) are offered for these award winners.
  • Deadline: Scholastic Awards opens for entries in September; deadlines range from December to January.

10)  National Society of High School Scholars Creative Writing Scholarship

In this creative writing competition for high schoolers, students have the opportunity to submit a piece poetry or fiction (or both – one in each category!) for the opportunity to be published on the NSHSS website and win a monetary prize.

  • Eligibility: Rising high school students graduating in 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027 may apply.
  • Prize: There will be three $2,000 awards for the fiction category and three $2,000 awards for the poetry category.
  • Deadline: Submissions Accepted from May to October (specific dates may vary by year).

11)  National Writing Award: The Humanities and a Freer Tomorrow

This writing competition allows high school students the chance to be nominated by a teacher for a piece of writing in response to Ruth J. Simmons’ “Facing History to Find a Better Future.” Specific prompt topics may vary by year.

  • Eligibility: Nominating teachers can submit work from 11th and 12th graders in one category (fiction, poetry, prose, or essay).
  • Prize: One top prize of $1,000. Four additional prizes of $500 each. Winners will have the opportunity to have their work published by NCTE.
  • Deadline: Applications are open September to October (specific dates may vary by year).

12)  New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award

Although this prestigious award isn’t exclusively for high schoolers (anyone younger than 35 may submit a work of fiction), if you’ve written a collection of short stories or even a novel, you should certainly consider applying!

  • Eligibility: Any writer below the age of 35 may submit a novel or collection of short stories to participate in this competition.
  • Prize: $10,000 award.
  • Deadline: September (specific date may vary by year).

13)  Princeton University Ten-Minute Play Contest

This writing competition for high school students awards three annual top prizes for the best ten-minute play. Play submissions are judged each year by an acclaimed guest playwright.

  • Eligibility: U.S. or international students in the eleventh grade may apply. Students may submit one play entry; entries must be ten pages or less. Plays must be written in English.
  • Prize: First place prize is $500; second place is $250; third place is $100.
  • Deadline: Varies by year. However, students are recommended to submit before the deadline date – the submission portal will close when a maximum of 250 applicants have applied.

14)  YouthPLAYS New Voices One-Act Competition for Young Playwrights

In this exciting writing competition, students have the chance to submit an original play script for a play of around 10-40 minutes in length. An excellent competition choice for any student considering a future in the theatre!

  • Eligibility: Prospective authors ages 19 and under may submit a script for consideration in the competition. See specific writing guidelines here .
  • Prize: First prize wins $250 and publication with YouthPLAYS; second prize wins $100.
  • Deadline: Submissions run from January 1st to May 1st.

STEM, Environment, and Sustainability High School Writing Competitions

15)  engineergirl essay contest.

This wonderful essay contest invites students to explore topics related to engineering and science. Each year a new, specific prompt will be chosen for young writers who wish to compete.

  • Eligibility: High school students are eligible to apply. Previous winners and close family members of employees of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine are not eligible.
  • Prize: First place winners receive $1,000; second place receives $750; third place receives $500.
  • Deadline: Competition opens in September and submissions are due February 1st of the following year. Winners are announced in the summer.

16)  Ocean Awareness Contest

The Ocean Awareness Contest is an opportunity for students to create written and artistic projects that explore sustainability, environmentalism, and positive change. High school freshmen (up to age 14) may apply to the Junior Division. Students ages 15-18 may enter the Senior Division.

  • Eligibility: Students ages 11-18 may apply (international students included).
  • Prize: Monetary prizes ranging from $100-$1000 will be awarded each year. Additionally, $500 will be awarded to ten students who identify as Black, Indigenous, or Latino via the We All Rise Prize program.
  • Deadline: June 10, 2024 (specific deadline may vary by year).

17)  Rachel Carson Intergenerational Sense of Wonder / Sense of Wild Contest

If you are interested in issues of sustainability, environment, biology and the natural world, this is one of the high school writing competitions that is just for you! Essay prompts explore the natural world and our place within it and may include poetry, essays, and photography.

  • Eligibility: Students must pair with an adult from a different generation (e.g. parent, grandparent or teacher – contestants need not be related). Entries must be submitted as a team.
  • Prize: Winners will receive a certificate from RCLA; their first names, ages, and entry titles will be posted on the RCLA website.
  • Deadline: November 16th, 2024 (specific deadline may vary by year).

18)  River of Words Competition

This writing competition for high school students is another top choice for those thinking of pursuing majors or careers in biology, environment, and sustainability; this specific contest hopes to promote positive education in sustainability by “promoting environmental literacy through the arts and cultural exchange.”

  • Eligibility: Any U.S. or international student from kindergarten through 12th grade may apply.
  • Prize: Winners will be published in the River of Words
  • Deadline: January (specific deadline may vary by year).

Writing Competitions for High School Students in Politics, History and Philosophy

19)  american foreign service association essay contest.

With this writing competition for high school students, entrants may submit essays ranging from 1,000-1,500 words about diplomacy, history, and international politics (specific prompts vary by year).

  • Eligibility: Students in grades nine through twelve may apply. Students whose parents are in the Foreign Service Association are not eligible.
  • Prize: The first-place winner will receive $2,500, an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the winner and the winner’s parents, and an all-expense paid voyage via Semester at Sea. The second-place winner receives $1,250 and full tuition for a summer session at the National Student Leadership Conference’s International Diplomacy program.
  • Deadline: Early spring (specific deadline may vary by year).

20)  Bill of Rights Institute We the Students Essay Contest

In this writing competition for high school students, civic-minded U.S. high schoolers may explore the principles and virtues of the Bill of Rights Institute. Interested applicants should review the specific submission guidelines .

  • Eligibility: Any high school student aged 13 to 19 may apply.
  • Prize: Prizes range from $1,500 to $10,000.
  • Deadline: Submissions for 2024 due May 19th (specific deadline may vary by year).

21)  JFK Presidential Library and Museum Profile in Courage Essay Contest

For students interested in history and political science, this competition offers the chance to write about U.S. elected officials who have demonstrated political courage.

  • Eligibility: U.S. high school students from grades 9-12 may apply.
  • Prize: First prize is $10,000; second prize receives $3,000; five finalists receive $1,000 each; ten semifinalists receive $100 each; eight students receive honorable mention.
  • Deadline: Submissions accepted from September to January (specific deadline may vary by year).
  • Sample Essays: 2000-2023 Contest Winner Essays

22)  John Locke Institute Essay Competition

This essay competition is for students who would like to write about and cultivate “independent thought, depth of knowledge, clear reasoning, critical analysis and persuasive style” from one of seven intellectual categories: philosophy, politics, economics, history, psychology, theology or law.

  • Eligibility: Students from any country may submit an essay.
  • Prize: $2,000 for each subject category winner toward a John Locke Institute program; winning essays will be published on the Institute’s website.
  • Deadline: Registration must be completed by May 31st, 2024; essay submission due June 30th, 2024 (specific deadline may vary by year).

23)  Society of Professional Journalists and the Journalism Education Association Essay Contest

This exciting writing competition for high schoolers allows students to explore topics related to journalism, democracy and media literacy. Specific prompts will be provided for contestants each year.

  • Eligibility: All U.S. students from grades 9-12 may submit original writing to participate in this contest.
  • Prize: First-place winners will receive $1,000; second place is awarded $500; third place receives $300.
  • Deadline: February (specific deadline may vary by year).

24)  Veterans of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy Youth Scholarship Essay

This audio essay allows high school students the opportunity to “express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriot-themed recorded essay.” One winner will be granted a $35,000 scholarship to be paid toward their university, college, or vocational school of choice. Smaller prizes range from $1,000-$21,000, and the first-place winner in each VFW state wins $1,000.

  • Prize: College scholarships range from $1,000-$35,000
  • Eligibility: U.S. students in grades 9-12 may submit a 3-5-minute audio essay.
  • Deadline: October 31st
  • Sample Written Essay: 2023-2024 Prize-winning essay by Sophia Lin

25)  World Historian Student Essay Competition

The World Historian Student Essay Competition recognizes young scholars who explore world historical events and how they relate to the student scholar personally. Ultimately the student writer must describe “the experience of being changed by a better understanding of world history.”

  • Eligibility: Internationally, students ages K-12 may submit an entry. See specific prompt and submission guidelines for writing instructions.
  • Prize: $500

Writing Competitions for High School Students – Sources

[i] Institute for Education Sciences: National Center for Education Statistics. “Number of applications for admission from first-time, degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students were received by postsecondary institutions in the fall.” https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/TrendGenerator/app/answer/10/101

[ii] Jaschik, Scott. “Record Applications, Record Rejections.” Inside Higher Ed . 3 April 2022. https://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2022/04/04/most-competitive-colleges-get-more-competitive

[iii] Wood, Sarah. “College Applications are on the Rise: What to Know.” U.S. News & World Report. 21 June 2022. https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/college-applications-are-on-the-rise-what-to-know

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Jamie Smith

For the past decade, Jamie has taught writing and English literature at several universities, including Boston College, the University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University. She earned a Ph.D. in English from Carnegie Mellon, where she currently teaches courses and conducts research on composition, public writing, and British literature.

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Teach. Learn. Grow.

Teach. learn. grow. the education blog.

Julie Richardson

Anchor your writing instruction in big ideas students can remember

creative writing exercises for high school students

Years later, when one of my journalism students won a Los Angeles Times award for news writing, I thought more deeply about the instructional changes I had made. I also thought about the social and emotional factors that likely enabled this once-timid reporter to tackle tough issues and blossom into an adept writer. What I realized from this exercise is that many of my instructional shifts had more to do with “leaning in” and getting to know my student as a writer, along with “letting go” of some outdated notions about what good writing is.

These are the three most important lessons I learned that I’d like to pass along.

Lesson #1: Writing instruction begins with a shared language for talking about writing and a shared understanding of the purposes for writing

Anchoring your instruction in a few big ideas that students can remember helps simplify the experience for everyone—and writing is always an experience.

As a new English language arts teacher, I often made writing more complicated than it needed to be. In my journalism classes, things were simple: we focused on the 5Ws and H (who? What? When? Where? Why? How?). It was easy for every student to remember and internalize these guiding questions.

If only there were a similar list of questions I could apply to other writing tasks! Over time, I found that there was. And at NWEA, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with current and former teachers to hone that list of essential questions down to the following five.

If anchoring your instruction in big ideas students can remember resonates with you, like it did for me, I encourage you to try incorporating these five essential questions into your writing curriculum.

We’ve even compiled these big ideas for growing writers into a free resource aimed at building a shared language for talking about writing with students. To that end, we’ve created a student version , too.

1. Why am I writing?

This question encourages students to ponder their purpose for writing. Often, their immediate response to this question is, “I’m writing because my teacher assigned me this essay/report/research paper.”

If we can get students to push past the idea of writing as an assignment and toward writing as a form of communication, we may see a dramatic increase in their motivation and writing quality. “What do you want to accomplish with this piece of writing?” becomes the question, not “What kind of writing does your teacher want from you?”

Writing is always the intellectual product of the writer, and the more we can encourage students to see themselves as writers and to take ownership of their writing, the better the results. Before students write, it’s critical they know and understand their purpose for writing, as this purpose informs so many other choices they will make.

2. Who are my readers?

This question forces students to consider their audience . When writers can anticipate the needs of their audience, they increase the effectiveness of their communication.

If the only audience a student ever has for their writing is a teacher, they lose the opportunity to make writerly decisions based on different audiences, such as considering their unique feelings and opinions about a topic, their different vocabularies (e.g., familiarity with code switching, idioms, or jargon), and their varying degrees of background knowledge. This is why giving students authentic writing tasks is so important . Authentic writing engages students in the same cognitive processes they use to write for real-world situations, such as applying for a job, taking civic action, or even communicating with family and friends.

3. What am I writing?

This question gets students to think more deeply about the task , genre , and form for their writing. While some of this information is likely included in the writing assignment, it’s still important for students to work through the task details on their own.

Students will make more informed writing decisions when they are able to clearly articulate the expectations and success criteria for a writing task . The writing genre provides another framework for students to think about their purpose for writing. Each genre’s unique features have developed over time through socially agreed-upon conventions, and experienced writers understand how to use these features to communicate more clearly with their audiences. Finally, form —or format—describes the type of text to be produced, and today’s writers have more forms to choose from—both analog and digital—than ever before.

When students put time and thought into their purpose, audience, and task, they have a greater command over their writing and what they want it to accomplish. And that’s when we get to see students’ communication skills and creativity truly shine through.

4. How am I presenting ideas in my writing?

This question addresses the myriad of choices a writer must make when they embark on a task, including decisions about writing development , organization , style , and conventions . Too often, this is where we ask students to start, and it can be overwhelming to make all these decisions before a student has wrapped their head around what they plan to write and why. In addition, while these writerly decisions are important, we may place too great an emphasis on a student’s final written product when a focus on their writing process may have more instructional utility.

My advice to students is, “Don’t sweat the small stuff when it comes to presenting ideas in your writing.” The ideas themselves are what’s most important. They’ll have numerous opportunities to practice and hone their writing development, organization, style, and conventions with every piece they write and over an entire lifetime.

5. How am I using the writing process?

This question reminds students that writing is both a product and a process . And the writing process is where much of the learning and critical thinking takes place.

Though writing is often taught as a sequence of forward-moving steps, the writing process is recursive and iterative, not linear . For example, writers go back and forth between planning, drafting, translating, reviewing, and revising to meet their writing goals, and writing goals can be self-generated or revised at any time during the writing process.

Writing itself is a work in progress that includes collaboration, self-regulation, and self-evaluation in addition to the other steps students typically learn. The more frequently students engage in and reflect on their own writing process, the more likely they are to develop productive and efficient writing habits, as well as growth mindsets that can help them overcome writing challenges in their school, career, and personal lives.

Lesson #2: Writing instruction is most impactful when it extends through professional learning communities (PLC) that offer students school-wide support for writing

As students move from grade to grade, a strong and coordinated PLC can help them build on what they already know about writing and focus on becoming even more expressive and effective writers.

In my first year of teaching, a colleague and I had an opportunity to attend a professional learning summit on writing. One session led by Harry Noden taught us how his Image Grammar could help students expand, vary, and improve their sentence structures. The majority of our student population was multilingual learners, and we rightly suspected that focused practice on writing, even at the sentence level, could increase language development in English . In part, this is because writing has a slower pace, provides a permanent record, and calls for greater precision in word choice.

We accurately assumed that sentence writing would benefit all our students , too. And once we were satisfied with the results, we leveraged our PLC to encourage a school-wide adoption of teaching grammar with Noden’s “brushstrokes.” We saw students quickly embrace the concept of “brushstrokes” because it positioned them as “artists” painting with words. This artistry was reinforced by the quality of their sentence writing. Often shared aloud, these sentences could be chill inducing they were so beautiful. For many students, this was their first proof they could be excellent writers, once they learned how.

Lesson #3: Writing outcomes can be improved through the use of common assessments and common rubrics at the school, district, or even state level

Common assessments and common rubrics help educators develop a shared understanding of how to evaluate writing. This includes providing students with meaningful feedback and grading writing more consistently across a school, district, or even state.

Coordination among teachers can help establish a school-wide writing community that all students can tap into for peer review. It can also lead to greater consistency in writing instruction and evaluation. Such consistency builds trust between students and teachers, which in turn can strengthen students’ view of themselves as learners and increase their motivation to learn .

When students don’t have to figure out individual teacher preferences for writing—and they feel confident every teacher will grade their writing for substance not style—they can focus their mental energy on becoming better writers. This includes developing their own sense of how to use language(s) effectively for personal, academic, and civic purposes.

One way to foster student-teacher collaboration is to encourage students to enter writing contests . Student writing contests can range from local to national, and it’s worth some extra effort to find ones that are a good fit for your students. Once my journalism students began entering (and winning!) writing contests, these events became an annual tradition. My students also became more willing to work on their digital portfolios throughout the year.

At the district level, common assessments and common rubrics can help leaders identify schools that need more support, such as more professional learning for educators or more high-dosage tutoring for students . They can also identify schools that have model instruction and can serve as resources for others. If you’re looking for a place to start in your district, the Literacy Design Collaborative offers common analytic rubrics for several writing genres , and the New York Performance Standards Consortium provides a robust set of performance-based assessments and rubrics .

Districts that use state rubrics in their common writing assessments help ensure all educators have similar expectations of student writing. If your state assesses writing, check the state department of education website for newly released writing assessments and their accompanying rubrics. And if your state doesn’t assess writing, they may still offer writing materials for teachers to use.

Finally, NWEA is often asked about the connection between MAP® Growth™ and writing. MAP Growth does not include writing prompts, so it can’t take the place of high-quality formative assessment in the classroom ; it simply wasn’t designed to assess students’ writing. But MAP Growth can provide insights into students’ strengths and opportunities for growth, and these insights are especially helpful when educators use an integrated approach to reading and writing instruction.

The MAP Growth instructional areas for reading, for example, offer some information about how well students understand literary text, informational text, and vocabulary. Students who are performing below grade-level for vocabulary would likely benefit from more explicit vocabulary instruction, including more strategic exposure to roots and affixes. This expanded vocabulary knowledge can later be applied to students’ writing. One approach is to have students “speak in synonyms,” a kind of oral rehearsal that can be done with peers or small groups and then integrated into a piece of student writing. Meanwhile, students who struggle to comprehend informational text might benefit from a self-regulated strategy development (SRSD) approach to writing . This method teaches students to recognize, internalize, and utilize important genre features in writing. And since reading and writing are related, SRSD can help improve students’ comprehension of informational texts, too.

A recap of lessons learned

Writing is hard, and teaching writing may be harder still. As educators, we continually learn new lessons about how to help our students (and ourselves) become better writers. I hope the three lessons I’ve shared here are helpful to you and bring you closer to having every student see themselves as a capable writer or, better yet, an artist painting with words.

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Creative Writing for High School Teens (Hybrid)

Creative Writing for High School Teens encourages students to expand their creative writing by challenging them to elevate their creative voices with new writing techniques.

During class, students learn literary craft techniques through lessons, exercises, and prompts. Popular topics include villain archetypes, magic system basics, how to write a fight scene, poetry, screenwriting, and more! At the end of class, students are given time to write and share their work. Our final class on August 17 is a student reading where family and friends are invited to attend. This final class reading is in-person only.

This class is open to teens, from older 14-year-olds to 17-year olds, and is a hybrid class, meaning students can join online or in-person. Because The Muse wants our classes to be accessible to all, our youth classes are “pay what you can”, meaning you name the price you can afford, as high or low as it may be, no questions asked.

Come meet your muse at the Muse Writers Center!

Please note: This class or event is hybrid. Some attendees will be in-person and some will attend online. T here may be a limited number of in-person seats available. If you are participating online (using Zoom or a similar live platform), students or attendees should have a stable internet connection. Class participants: you should have a computer or device with a webcam and microphone; and your Zoom link will be automatically sent to you after you register. Check your spam box if you don't see it.

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Classes That Might Interest You

How to Invent or Reinvent Yourself as a Writer: The Role of Core Story

How to Invent or Reinvent Yourself as a Writer: The Role of Core Story

From Wounds to Words

From Wounds to Words

Fiction Exploration

Fiction Exploration

creative writing exercises for high school students

Nina Gubskaya

Before I moved to Moscow at 14 with my parents and my younger brother and sister, we lived in the Siberian city of Surgut.

My mother has worked as a hair stylist for over 20 years, and my father has had different jobs — as chief editor of a political newspaper, a television host and a political scientist. They moved to Moscow for their careers.

It was a huge turning point in my life; everything changed. Surgut is a small, isolated city where people are narrow-minded. If I went there now and told people about my gay friends in Moscow, they would be shocked. They would laugh if I told them about my weekends spent at techno clubs or my interest in fashion. Every time I come back to Moscow after a visit to Surgut I realize I have everything: the freedom to do whatever I want.

My parents mostly let me do what I want. I tell my mum matter-of-factly that I’m going to a techno party. I’ll write to her every hour: "Mum, everything’s good here, the music is great," or I’ll send her a few pictures with my friends.

I move in different social circles and people often call me “Nina the party girl” or “Nina the ‘techno cobra.’” The Afisha magazine once had a quiz on how well you know the Moscow club scene, and my result was “Techno Cobra.” The name has stuck ever since.

I’ve been going to techno clubs since I was 14. “Face control” is strict here in Russia, but I always stood firm with a glamorous face and they’d let me through. Now most of the bouncers know me.

When I was 16, I started dating a guy 10 years older than me. It was strange — my dad was not happy about it, but then they started getting along. We belonged to absolutely different generations; I would tell him stories from my world, he would tell me stories from his.

creative writing exercises for high school students

I don’t really look my age — I have a sort of “resting bitch face.” But really I am just vulnerable and sensitive and I've created a shell around myself. In the 10th grade, when I switched to a new school, nobody spoke to me because they thought I was a glamorous moron. But now I’ve adapted and nobody is afraid to talk to me anymore.

I initially wanted to study journalism and did an internship for a fashion magazine. It was a good experience because I realized that every job can become routine. You show up to a magazine thinking you’re going to be writing about something extraordinary, like about the evolution of fashion in the 1970s, but then they tell you to write about Kim Kardashian’s breasts.

This is the way it is. Take a tattoo artist who loves drawing intricate tattoos: A girl comes in one day and asks for a heart, and the tattoo artist thinks to himself, “Am I really about to draw this girl a damn heart?”

creative writing exercises for high school students

After college I want to be a producer. This is the ideal job. You have an idea, and then you have designers and programmers to execute it. I like being Russian. Russia has unique stereotypes that don’t exist anywhere else, like pickled tomatoes, bears and the balalaika. Take the designer Gosha Rubchinsky, with his “gopnik” [Russian for thug] fashion. For Europe this is an innovation, but we see this every day on the outskirts of Moscow. I feel proud to be associated with quirky stereotypes. I wouldn’t like to be American. Russians love to scold Russia. It’s like with a family — you scold your brother, but you’ll still tell others how much you love him. We might not have this thing or that thing — there are imperfections here. But still, when we talk to foreigners, we’ll boast about our cultural grandeur. My grandmother used to recite this poem: “I’m a little girl, and I don’t go to school / I’ve never seen Putin, but love him I do.”

creative writing exercises for high school students

Putin is just my president. It’s fine. But I don’t really think the youth is interested in politics.

There is always hype around the image of Putin. Last summer, my friends and I bought purses and shirts with his face on them and went to clubs. Now that I’m seeing shirts of Ksenia Sobchak for sale on the streets, I want one too. It’s just hype; trends infused with a bit of patriotism. But in my opinion, it doesn’t matter who is in power — Putin, Sobchak, Alexei Navalny — nothing will really change. When Dmitry Medvedev was president, did anything change?

I don’t really know what I’d change in my country. I’m 18 and I live an energetic and comfortable life.

This year, as that generation turns 18 and gains the right to vote, Putin is once again running for president in a bid to extend his rule until at least 2024.

Leading up to the elections on March 18, The Moscow Times crossed the country to profile Generation P — a generation that has lived a lifetime under Putin — to document their memories of the past, their impressions of the present and hopes for the future.

Producers: Furqat Palvanzade Yana Krylova Alisa Schneider Sasha Mademuaselle

Editors: Eva Hartog Jonathan Brown

Interviews & Texts: Aron Ouzilevski Nikita Velichko

Copyeditor: Sarah Crowther

Video Editor: Rostislav Smirnyagin

Photo Editor: Yulia Novikova

Camera: Misha Khursevich Stas Galaktionov Zhenya Petrushanskiy Kirill Synkov Vadim Braidov Alisa Aiv Pasha Limonov Anna Kabisova Sasha Kulak Dmitri Kuvaldin Vlad Kobets Alexei Vasiliev Regina Urazaeva Lelya Normik Ilya Batrakov Anton Ivanyuk Emile Khafizov Seyan Tsidenov


  1. 150+ Fun Creative writing prompts for high school

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  2. Creative Writing Ideas Worksheets

    creative writing exercises for high school students

  3. Creative Writing Activities

    creative writing exercises for high school students

  4. 97 High School Writing Prompts: Fun & Creative

    creative writing exercises for high school students

  5. 105 Creative Writing Exercises: 10 Min Writing Exercises

    creative writing exercises for high school students

  6. 31 Creative Writing Prompts for Teens

    creative writing exercises for high school students


  1. COL Commencement Exercises High School Level SY2022 2023 July 3, 2023

  2. Get creative with writing exercises #writing #copywriting #creative

  3. Ready to unleash your creativity through words? Join our FREE Creative Writing Workshop

  4. Top 10 Creative Writing Prompts to Spark Your Imagination

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  6. Tabata / HIIT Workout


  1. 105 Creative Writing Exercises: 10 Min Writing Exercises

    Find short and fun writing activities to get you motivated and inspired. Whether you need to beat writer's block, improve your skills or create a character profile, this list has something for you.

  2. Creative Writing Exercises for High School

    Learn how to develop your voice, storytelling skills, and creativity with these group exercises. You can also access online courses to master prose, poetry, and drama writing.

  3. 4 Engaging Writing Tasks for High School Students

    Learn how to use authentic and engaging writing tasks to motivate high school students to write longer, richer, and more compelling multiparagraph pieces. The article suggests four types of writing assignments that build students' knowledge and skills, and provides examples of how to implement them in your teaching practice.

  4. 55 Creative Writing Activities for All Ages

    Creative writing exercises don't have to end in a finished piece of work. If the exercise encouraged creative thinking and helped the student put pen to paper, it's done its job. For Middle School. Creative writing activities for middle school can be a little more inventive. They now have the fundamental reading and writing skills to wield ...

  5. Creative Writing Activities for High School

    Reading and writing naturally fit together, and Melissa from Reading and Writing Haven provides Five Creative Responses to Reading. She details more than simple reading responses. For both fiction and nonfiction, Melissa explains how booksnaps, poetry, one-pagers, journal prompts, and music analysis can bring meaning to what students read.

  6. 16 Meaningful Writing Activities that Engage Students

    2. RELEVANT WRITING. Picture this. Energetic lyrics fill the air as students listen, think critically, and analyze them. Or, students snap a photo of a page from an independent reading book, grinning as they annotate it with gifs, text, emojis, and more. Spotify and Snapchat are extremely popular apps for students.

  7. Teach Creative Writing In High School With 10 Fun Activities

    Learn how to teach creative writing in high school with 10 fun activities that will boost your imagination, empathy, vocabulary, and writing skills. From free writing to modify a storyline, these exercises will help you explore different ways of expressing yourself and expressing your ideas.

  8. Creative Writing Prompts For High School Students

    Find inspiration for your creative writing assignments with 12 categories of writing prompts. Learn how to use writing prompts to start, overcome writer's block, practice, challenge yourself and more.

  9. Creative Writing Activities To Help Students Tell Their Story

    Learn how to inspire students to tell their stories with these 10 activities that use poetry, video, visuals, and prompts. From designing a social media post to creating a webpage outline, these activities help students explore their identity, emotion, and structure.

  10. Academic Insights: Revisiting Creative Writing in High School

    A: Creative writing competitions and publications provide high school students a goal to strive for and a platform to showcase their talent. They create a sense of accomplishment and recognition among students and can serve as a catalyst for further improvement and engagement in the field of creative writing.

  11. 15 Creative Writing Programs for High School Students

    4. Yale Young Writers' Workshop. Location: Online. Cost: $950. Eligibility: Ages 16-18, rising high school juniors or seniors. Important Dates: Application deadline: April 1, 2024. The Yale Young Writers' Workshop is a prominent fixture in the landscape of creative writing programs for high school students.

  12. Creative Writing Unit for High School Students

    Learn how to teach creative writing with high school students using different genres, techniques, prompts, and feedback. Find ideas for creative nonfiction and fiction writing activities, tips for establishing a supportive community, and a creative writing bundle with bonus material.

  13. How to Teach Creative Writing to High School Students

    Learn six steps to plan and teach a fun and engaging Creative Writing class for high school students. Find out how to choose projects, assessments, lessons, and class structure that suit your students' needs and interests.

  14. 6 Winning Creative Writing Exercises for Secondary School Students

    Creative writing is a fantastic addition to anyone's set of skills, but it's also an excellent way to deal with the stresses of everyday life and making it a worthwhile pastime for secondary school students. Laura Slingo is a writer and editor that regularly pens career, marketing and lifestyle advice for leading publications across the globe.

  15. 100 Creative Writing Prompts for Middle & High School

    Some high school students dream of writing for a living, perhaps pursuing an English major in college, or even attending a creative writing MFA program later on. For other students, creative writing can be useful for school assignments, in English and other subjects, and also for preparing their Common App essays.In a less goal-oriented sense, daily freewriting in a journal can be a healthy ...

  16. Screenwriting: Creative Writing Activities for High School Students

    For example: Write a scene from a novel as a screenplay where the main character displays their want/need clearly. Write a scene from a novel cutting out most of the words that will be replaced by the "enter later/exit early" concept. Debate author's choice by remixing a scene into a screenplay. Free Online Screenwriting Software for ...

  17. Creative Writing Resources For Secondary School Students

    Subscribe to the Immerse Education newsletter for £100 off your programme*. We will send you updates and the latest news about our company. Sign up for free by filling out the form. I am a...*. Our creative writing introductory guide includes chapters on tips, exercises, examples, as well as university and career advice for writers!

  18. PDF Creative Writing Activity Packet

    Wonka Words is a creative argument-writing game. Works for slightly older students, although all can compete. Groups of three players or more. One player is the judge, and the judge thinks of something that the rest of the players have to guess. They can think of anything (a puppy, their grandpa, the table everyone is sitting at,

  19. Teaching Creative Writing with High School Students

    Creative writing assignments for high school must include discussions of structure, organization, and clarity. Remind students that at the end of a book, the author thanks a list of people who provided feedback and encouragement. The list of readers is long. Professional writers gladly accept feedback. Train students to think of feedback as ...

  20. 25 Best Writing Competitions for High School Students

    This prestigious creative writing award offers high school students the opportunity to showcase their work in Adroit Journal. Judges are acclaimed writers in their respective genres. Eligibility: All high school students (including international students) are eligible to apply. Poetry contestants may submit up to five poems.

  21. Anchor your writing instruction in big ideas students can remember

    This includes providing students with meaningful feedback and grading writing more consistently across a school, district, or even state. Coordination among teachers can help establish a school-wide writing community that all students can tap into for peer review. It can also lead to greater consistency in writing instruction and evaluation.

  22. 10 great books recommended for students, by students

    Below, check out 10 great books recommended by and for young people: 1. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Susan Eloise Hinton wrote The Outsiders while she was a high school student in Oklahoma. Fifty years later, her fictional account of two rival gangs still provides a riveting look at teen friendship, rebellion, and class issues.

  23. Creative Writing for High School Teens (Hybrid)

    Creative Writing for High School Teens encourages students to expand their creative writing by challenging them to elevate their creative voices with new writing techniques. During class, students learn literary craft techniques through lessons, exercises, and prompts. Popular topics include villain archetypes, magic system basics, how to write ...

  24. Scooter English

    Conversational English. Conversation-based Skype lessons, focusing on fluency, vocabulary and pronunciation. Conversational English lessons cover themes relevant to daily life and also take inspiration from your particular interests. Lessons are taught using a variety of media such as news articles, texts, videos, images and interactive exercises.

  25. Nina, student, Moscow. GENERATION P

    Nina Gubskaya. Born Dec. 13, 1999, Surgut. High-school student. Lives in Moscow. Generation P: Nina Gubskaya 01. Before I moved to Moscow at 14 with my parents and my younger brother and sister, we lived in the Siberian city of Surgut. My mother has worked as a hair stylist for over 20 years, and my father has had different jobs — as chief ...

  26. high school report writing format

    English Report Writing for Students - 9+ Examples, Format, Pdf 9+ English Report Writing Examples for Students - PDF School reports are a big part of a student's academic life. In fact, students are asked to write reports so often that they are almost as common as lunch breaks.... Report Writing Format for Class 10th to 12th.