Writerly Play Kit 025

Make the Most of Creative Strengths

Writerly Play for Educators

Make the Most of Creative Strengths

We love helping writers discover and play to their strengths. One way we do that is to help them identify their general creative style and then personalize their understanding of how they, specifically, think and create.

It’s always a break-through moment when a writer realizes that they don’t have to force themselves to be someone they are not. Instead, they discover how their own approach, be it structured, playful, big-picture, or detailed, can serve them well. They gain the confidence to celebrate their own style, and ultimately, tap more deeply into their own creative voice.

In this WP Kit, you’ll find tools to help your writers explore and define their creative styles. We’ve also included a cheat sheet filled with customized strategies to help them play to their strengths.


In this video, writers are guided through a story that helps them reflect on their creative strengths. First, an unusual tent shows up outside their window. When they step inside the Spectacularium, they are invited to choose a suit, a cape, boots, and other accessories that all add up to help them clarify what works best for them in the creative process.

The activity includes a companion handout so that writers can cut, paste, and build an image of their unique style.

Make the Most of Your Creative Style

Use this cheat sheet as a starting point to help your writers think about how they might play to their strengths and problem-solve when they’re feeling stuck.

Once writers get the feel for the types of strategies that may play to their strengths, they can then begin to create a personalized toolkit for themselves. Consider grouping students as collaboration teams to design custom-fit solutions to their real-world challenges. If they come up with ideas they’d like to share, we always love to learn from their innovation. Send those ideas our way!


Prefer a Quiz?

As an alternate to the Spectacularium activity, writers can use this quiz to narrow down their creative style. Due to limitations of the quiz software, they’ll receive only the top style result (rather than percentages of each style).

If your students are each on their own device, share the link so they can take the quiz, and then discuss afterward. Usually we share the Make the Most of Your Creative Style cheat sheet (see above) to aid our discussion.

Some questions we often ask:

1. Does your style fit you? In what ways?

2. Is there another style you use often?

3. What do you think your best approach is when you’re ready to stretch into new territory?

4. What do you think your best approach is when you’re feeling stuck?

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What’s Up At SYI this Month?



Inspiration is the focus in this edition’s writing challenge! Inspiration is all around us if we take the time to intentionally look for it. Kelly reminds us that, “Writers are sponges.” With that in mind, here is September’s writing prompt for your students:

This month, your student’s writing challenge is to find a small notebook that you can keep within arms’ reach for 24 hours. Record small snippets of inspiration as they show up. Your students might hear someone say something that makes them laugh, or see an oddly shaped cloud out their window. Like Kelly, your students might even have a dream that sparks their imagination. After your students collect inspiration for a day, use at least one item your students wrote down and transform it into a tiny scene. Your students can follow their inspiration in any direction they want … No need to keep the item or words your students captured in their original form. For an extra challenge, combine two or three of your pieces of captured inspiration.

Your students may write up to 2,000 words. Submit their responses HERE and your students might be published on our website!


Kelly Mcwilliams

For our September issue, we talk with author Kelly McWilliams about her newest YA novel, Agnes at the End of the World. In this interview, we discover what it was like for her to become a published author at a young age and why the process of writing is more important than being published.

Here’s a peek:

“I try my best to touch base with a work in progress every single day—even if only for two minutes! That way, I know my brain will keep working on it throughout the day, even when I’m busy doing other things.”

“Things aren’t ever what they seem to be when you first look at them. What’s important is that you keep your mind wide open and try to understand what’s going on from a lot of different angles.”

– Christopher Paul Curtis


Join us for Summer Camp!

We’re inviting passionate young writers to join us on Zoom for writerly summer camp experiences. Each camp will include skill-building activities, time for drafting, and collaboration with peers.