Creative writing brightens lockdown gloom

Take note! The first writing was developed around 3200 BC in ancient Mesopotamia. © Alamy

Is writing good for everyone? New research shows that many children have been writing more during lockdown and that it tends to make us happier. Some say we should all be writing stories.

What’s happening

School stopped. Meeting family was forbidden. Nobody could play football or meet up with friends in the park. The sudden changes as a result of the coronavirus crisis were challenging. In dealing with new problems and anxieties, many young people turned to the power of words, and began to write.

Find out more

A survey has revealed that creative writing has boomed in the last three months. According to the study, 40% more children have been writing short stories and fiction during the lockdown, while 39% have been writing letters.

Keeping a diary and writing poetry have also become more popular, and many people have found that writing has helped them process feelings of worry and uncertainty. Two in five children said that it made them feel happier.

Jonathan Douglas, head of the National Literacy Trust, said that writing was good for expressing emotion. He called it an “essential coping mechanism” during the crisis.

Writing not only helps mental wellbeing, it has benefits for the brain and helps to strengthen the imagination.

Should we all write?

Some say…

Yes! Humans have been writing for thousands of years as a way to communicate. It is good for expressing our feelings, and helps people talk about topics they find difficult to discuss. Writing also activates the parts of the brain responsible for language, thought, and memory. It also inspires our imagination, making us better at empathising.

Others think…

It’s not for everyone. What we should take from this is that it is important to express yourself. Writing may be helpful for some, but it doesn’t work so well for others. There are many other ways to communicate feelings besides writing. Singing, dancing, and drawing also improve our moods through expression and activate our brains in new ways.

You Decide

  1. Do you prefer reading books or writing stories?

Activities

  1. Take part in this National Writing Day challenge: write 24 words in seven minutes about your experiences, starting with “One day”.

Some People Say...

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

Toni Morrison, American author

What do you think?

Word Watch

Survey
Asking people questions to understand a topic better. This survey was published to celebrate National Writing Day last week.
Coping mechanism
A method of dealing with stress. During lockdown, writing became a way to help young people with their worries.
Empathising
Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes to understand how they might be feeling.

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