My name is Abby, the creator of Help Kids Write HQ. I came up with this project after working on another site of mine that was aimed at young poets. There, I mostly offer writing prompts and a few suggested websites for young people who enjoy writing poetry. However, I realized that I wanted to offer more help to more kids by reaching out to all young writers.
When I was in school, I completed countless writing assignments but enjoyed only a few all those years. The advantages I had were my mom and my second grade teacher, Teri. At home, my mom taught me how to read and write and build my vocabulary. When I was three years old, she made a book for me. I really liked that book and when I turned six, I wrote and illustrated my own. It was made of a few sheets of paper stapled together along the edges and I wasn’t much of a sketch artist, but it was a story I wanted to tell. It made me happy.
The following year, while the rest of my classmates were working on a project, my teacher Teri came to me and said I could work quietly on anything I wanted. I took a blank piece of penmanship paper from my desk and wrote my first poem, “Spring”. When she saw what I had done, Teri did the most amazing thing ever: she sent it to the local newspaper for publication. She then encouraged me to enter it into a statewide writing competition for kids. I entered the contest and won! The prize was attending a huge writer’s conference for grade school children in Milwaukee Wisconsin. There I met other kids like myself and we got to listen to the children’s book author Barbara M. Joosse talk all about writing and even received copies of her newest book Anna, the One and Only.
After that conference, at just seven years old, I knew writing was always going to be a part of my life. I didn’t know just how vital it would become to me as I grew up and dealt with all the challenges that come with the teen years and early adulthood. Now though, at almost thirty years of age, I’m able to say with certainty that writing is one of the best coping mechanisms I ever found and has helped me “hold myself together” through everything. That’s why I want to develop this unique website for kids, teens, parents and teachers.
It seems that on a frighteningly regular basis we are reading reports of violent outbursts all over the world. There are too many people, young and old, who have never learned how to deal with emotional pain, frustrations, pressures and disappointments. The results are shootings, attacks, self-harm, substance abuse and suicides. I’m not saying that art is the cure-all for humankind’s problems. I have my own faith on which I’ve always relied. What I mean is that, with the added benefit of artistic expression through writing, I’m “still standing”. It would be fantastic if more people could utilize the written word this way to maintain their sanity.
Parents and teachers are in a unique position to encourage kids to embrace this lifeboat. It’s actually really simple. Read what they write and tell them what you like about it. Even if you aren’t a fan of reading or writing, take the few minutes to really see what is on their minds. Kids really don’t need that much to feel like their work is valuable. Maybe you don’t like reading about soccer or another puppy story, but wait. Just focus on the positive aspects of what they’ve written. That’s all your kids need in the beginning. I have a lot more to say specifically about what parents can do to encourage their kids, but I’ll save that for my For Parents posts and later the Interviews with Teachers & Parents.
Now to bring a nice conclusion to the story, my humble book and my poem “Spring” led to three published collections of free verse poetry and a serial novella that is coming out in the next few weeks. I’ve become a published poet and novelist. Not long after I began writing, I met Anna Marie Fritz, the poet and novelist. She became my writing mentor at the age of eleven. When she started her own publishing company, my books were among the first that she published. I’ve looked to her as a writing guide and critic through the years. We tend to fuel each others artistic fires (a dangerous pair indeed).
I have lots I look forward to sharing with everyone but I do need your help. This is not a grammar and style guide by any means. I’ll leave that to Grammar Girl because she’s awesome and really knows her stuff. My goal is to help get kids writing and improving their craft by offering tools, prompts, tips and inspiration. Please visit the Share Your Thoughts page and let me know what you would like to see on this site. I may not be able to utilize all of your suggestions but I will certainly try. The more feedback I receive, the more helpful this site will be to everyone, so please spread it around on your social media accounts. Tweet it, Post it, +1 it, Pin it and Share it to your heart’s content.
Thank you for your interest in this project and welcome!
This is how it started…
This is what happened since…