Squashing Your Outer Adult to Write for Your Inner Child

“Rediscover the child in you so that you may write for the child before you,” literary agent, Stephen Fraser, urged a room of writers at the recent Marvelous Midwest conference.

Challenge accepted.

Just warning you, there will be no acting like adults here. These times are too desperate. It’s a matter of life and death. I love my characters too much to let them die from a deprived imagination. It may call for some rather awkward moments, but for the sake of the story, I must do what must be done.

Eight Ways to Push Down the Adult in You

1. Ever notice how children dress themselves when they are first given permission to pick out their clothes? They pick out the stuff they love best and makes them feel happy. Go to your closet and pick out something that makes you feel twirly or like you could take down Megatron on your own, or whatever mood you are trying to establish in your story.

2. Get out an art medium and paper: crayons, oil pastels, finger paints, etc. No oil paints. Those are far too adultish. Have at it, but don’t think. Play. See what pops into your head all on its own.

3. Laugh. What makes you laugh? What makes kids laugh? Surround yourself with it. My kids need to laugh every night before they can go to sleep. Bodily noises will always be funny. But what really gets them going is pretending, especially if it involves taking down their dad.

4. Get in trouble. You know those things that would bring your mom to say, “Don’t make me come over there!” or “If I have to tell you to stop . . .one more time!” Do those (at your own risk – not sure what kind of kid you were. 😉 )

5. Play with kids. If you’ve got your own it’s beneficial in so many ways. If you’ve got nieces and nephews offer to babysit. If you’re a teacher plan a fun day and enjoy it with the kids. No grading papers in the background! Just play. Let the kids lead. NO MULTI-TASKING! That’s an adult habit, not allowed here.

6. Play like you use to. Think back to when you were a tween. What did you enjoy doing when you weren’t feeling awkward? When you were free to be you and were having a blast doing it. What did you do? Go do it now! Slumber party? Bike ride? Build an ice cream sundae? Sneak attack your siblings with water balloons? A healthy or fierce round of uno? Pretend you were a spy on a secret mission? Make believe you were a vet? Police officer? astronaut? Go ahead. I won’t tell!

7. Dance. I don’t mean the kind of moves you tried at the club when you turned 21. Have you ever watched kids dance? They just get into it.

8. Build a fort. Bring your computer in there. With all that playing you’re ready to write. Why not do it in a fort!

Okay. Did you shake off all that thick adultish scabby stuff that blocks creativity? Good. Have fun playing with words.

Bonus: 10 Kid-favorite movies

  • Middle School the Worst Years of My Life
  • Goosebumps
  • The Original Ghostbusters
  • Hook
  • Freaky Friday
  • The Parent Trap
  • Transformers
  • Harry Potter
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the original)


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