If your child says there is nothing to write about on any certain subject, just tell him he won’t know what he’s going to say until he actually starts saying it. Tell him to listen for a title or the first sentence, and once he hears it in his head, take it from there.

2. If you can talk, you can write.

No two people are alike. Each one has a different way of expressing himself—his own writing voice consisting of inborn rhythms, vocabulary choices, and ideas. Is your child an auditory learner? He needs to know his talking voice can become his writing voice. That’s why journaling is so valuable. It will give him an opportunity to become familiar with his unique writing voice as he records his life stories. 

3. A reason to write.

Imagine a world without words: no Bible, no books, no journals, no letters—no past, only present. No remembrances of your life because you didn’t like to write or you wouldn’t take the time to write it down. “Preserving your life stories for now and future generations” is reason enough to write. 

4. Write from what you know.

Writing from what you know is much easier than having to make it up. You’re never at a loss for writing material when you write from your personal experience. Have fun and be creative. Everyone can write and should write, not because they have to, but because they get to.

5.Transcribe the entry.

Transcribe journal entries for little children or older children who are not fluent (unable to take all the words they have in their head and put them on paper). You need to write for your child until he is able to take over, either through writing in his journal or typing his entries on the keyboard. Help him gain confidence by removing the hindrances until they’re a non-issue. 

Endnotes:

1. Gail MacDonald is a pastor’s wife and the author of High Call High Privilege: A Pastor’s Wife Speaks to Every Woman in a Place of Responsibility

2. John Matteson, Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father.

3. Ednah D. Cheney, Louisa May Alcott: Her Life, Letters and Journals. Boston Little, Brown, and Company 1898.

4. Ibid.

5. www.lib.umd.edu/RARE/RareCollection/Alcott/LMAresources.html, accessed December 28, 2011.

6. Ednah D. Cheney, Louisa May Alcott: Her Life, Letters, and Journals. Boston Little, Brown, and Company 1898.

Jill Novak and her husband Robert have been married thirty-three years and are the parents of five precious children. Together their family founded Remembrance Press, publishers of The Pebbly Brook Farm Stories, Becoming God’s Naturalist, The Gift of Family Writing, Letters to My Children, Forget Me Not Faith, and The Girlhood Home Companion magazine. Visit www.remembrancepress.com  and Jill’s personal blog,Through the Windowpane. If you have any questions  about family writing, please contact her at jillenovak@gmail.com.

Publication date: September 3, 2012