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Monday, 27 June 2016

Taking the Creative Route

Johanna Baker-Dowdell shares a wonderful creative writing program currently running across four schools in the Launceston area. Creativity is abundant in not only the student's writing but also the program design and online delivery.

Albert Einstein says, “Creativity is contagious, pass it on!” and that is exactly what is currently happening at four West Tamar schools.

Almost 50 young writers from West Launceston, Trevallyn and Riverside primary schools and Riverside High School have embarked on The Write Road, a 10-week creative writing program. The program is run under the guidance of a teacher from each school and overseen by author, poet and Riverside High School teacher Cameron Hindrum.

The students are given a writing prompt at the beginning of each week and asked to respond in whichever way there are inspired: poem, short story, memory or something else. They then upload their piece to The Write Road blog for feedback, offering the same in return to their fellow writers.

 Kicking off the program, the first prompt was very open: entitled Daybreak, the writers were asked to write a piece based on the photo. To get their minds ticking, the students were prompted to think about the time of day the photo was taken, and who might have taken it. Where was the photographer going? Where had they been? Why?

The second week’s prompt centred around characters, with the writers asked to choose from one of five words and express who they are, considering what makes them interesting, engaging and unique. The words were:
  • Tree
  • Shark
  • The colour red
  • Basketball
  • A wild horse.

For this week - the third - another image prompts the writers. They have been asked what is this, and how did it get here?

My involvement in this program is as a writing mentor for the Trevallyn students, a role I am most excited to have. Even after only a few weeks already I can see the budding writers stretching their wordy muscles. Their questions about word length and writing guidelines shows they are not used to being given such freedom, however I am confident that soon their creativity will overtake doubts.

Some have chosen to hand write their pieces in a journal, others are typing into Word. I’ve encouraged these writers to find the best way to write for them, hoping the program will foster a writing habit that continues for their lifetime.

Anything that inspires children to explore their creativity, especially in a respectful space with their peers, is something I am thrilled to be part of. I can’t wait to see how these young writers develop their pieces over the next two months, and read what they choose to develop further.

Johanna Baker-Dowdell is a freelance journalist and author of the book Business & Baby on Board. 


  1. Fantastic Johanna - what a wonderful opportunity and experience.

    1. Thanks Penny! It really is a wonderful experience and I hope these writers see the possibilities for a lifelong love affair with words.