Writers are not born, but made. And how do you make a good writer? Practice, practice, practice. Good luck getting your middle schooler to sit down and write for fun, right? But it is possible, especially if they have an appreciative audience and is focusing on stuff that interests them — in other words, if it’s as un-school-like as possible! A blog is a great way to bring out your child’s inner Virginia Woolf and will allow them to sound off on their dreams, gripes, hobbies, or passions.

The project: Creating a kid-friendly blog

Get ready: Figure out a focus

  • Help your child brainstorm a topic for the blog. Is your child into movies? Suggest that they write reviews, make top-10 lists, or research classic films.
  • A video game blog will connect your child with other fans — they can write about what makes a great game and share tips.
  • Have your child be the family chronicler. A regular journal about your family’s life, including photos, will be treasured for years to come.
  • Kids who are passionate about sports have a wealth of fodder for blogs. Follow one team or a whole league.

Make it happen: How to start a blog for free

Help your child pick a platform — and establish safety guidelines.

  • Do some research to find the best platform for your child’s blog. Compare various free blogging platforms.
  • Check the privacy options, and set them according to what makes you most comfortable. Also establish some online safety rules, like not publishing your child’s full name, address, or other information that might identify your child.
  • Once your child has started writing, have them send out the word to friends and family so that they can follow your child’s exploits — nothing spurs on a writer more than encouraging words from readers!

How to overcome writer’s block

If your child is stumped for a topic on a particular day, here are a few suggestions to get those creative juices flowing:

  • Have them post a photo and describe it.
  • Have them write about their “ideal day” or “dream collection.”
  • Give them a starter sentence to work with. “The most embarrassing thing I ever did was …” or “If I could design the perfect video game, it would have …” Use a topic that relates to the blog and interests your child.
  • Have them research some historic aspect of their blog topic and write about the process and their findings.