Every night as a child I said, “Daddy, will you tell me a Joey story?”
Joey stories were bedtime tales my father would make up on the spot and tell me before bed. I particularly remember one involving a woman with a metal spoon that she used to take out the bad guys.
They gave me nightmares—my mother claimed—and he would tell me, “Your mother doesn't want me to tell you Joey stories anymore.” I would cry, and he would relent.
One of my core principles as a writer is to always make some time to write for the people who are listening. You may want to write novels or poems or screenplays, but your friends just want to read your blog. Your mom just wants to hear a story about your day.
And your kid just wants to hear a Joey story.
How does this help you learn how to write better?
1. It gives you practice.
Children are a great audience to practice your storytelling on. You will know right away when your story gets boring.
2.You connect with the stories from your own childhood.
I saw a quote recently that said you will always remember the first CD you bought, but you probably don't remember the last one you bought.
The stories you heard as a child are the ones that will stick with you the longest. By spending time with your son or daughter, you can see the power of those first stories at work, and try to capture something of their power into your own writing.
3. You get to be a good parent.
Isn't that what you want most of all anyway?
Write the kind of story your son or daughter would love.
(If you don't have children, write a story your niece or nephew would love. If you don't have a niece or nephew, write a story any child you know would love.)
Write for fifteen minutes. Post your story in the comments when you're finished.
(And don't forget to tell the story as soon as you can.)