Sarah Dawson

Sarah Dawson

Whether you’ve made a New Year’s resolution or not, why not resolve to encourage your teen or tween to give creative writing a try? There are more benefits tied to creative writing than can be explained in a single article, but here are a few.

Creative writing is a fantastic way for people to engage their imagination; it has no rules. Sure, there are norms about what people expect when reading, but creative writing is incredibly personal and unique to each person. It’s a way to express things without putting limits on what you are thinking about.

Empathy is another benefit of creative writing. We experience empathy while reading and because we temporarily experience what the characters in a story do. While writing, empathy goes from being something passively experienced to actively worked on. In order to have characters who people relate to, they need to feel real. Writers pick and choose the right details to bring someone to life, and as such must constantly think about what life might be like for different people.

Creative writing is also a wonderful way to express yourself. Being a teenager is a roller coaster ride of all sorts of emotions and experiences. Some are great, some not so much. With creative writing, they are free to work out some of those emotions and experiences in a safe way.

Why encourage creative writing? Because every February, the Tulsa City-County Library system hosts the Young People’s Creative Writing Contest. The contest is open to ages 10-18, and entries are judged in three age groups: 10-12, 13-15 and 16-18. Cash prizes are awarded to the winners. We had several winners from the Owasso area last year.

For the second year in a row, the Owasso library will host a series of programs to help those eligible to participate have a better understanding of the submission types for the contest while also getting some creative writing instruction. Since the contest is in February, the workshops will begin in January to get you prepared if you are interested in participating. No library card is required to attend this series of workshops. It’s free and open to the public.

There will be five writing workshops. Each one will cover one of the contest entry types, which are short story, informal essay, poem, short play and comix. Come to one, a few or all. Each workshop will be different, fun and informative. Register online at events.tulsalibrary.org/events, as supplies are limited. Pens, paper and a snack will be provided. The workshops are Tuesdays, 5-6 p.m., beginning Jan. 14.

While the workshops are just for teens and tweens, there is an Adult Creative Writing Contest as well. For those adults who are interested, there will be more information about that later this month, so be on the lookout.