Why teens need creative writing

Teen writing workshop Sunday 10 June 2023 in Amsterdam

Many of us writers begin as children scribbling our stories in an unsteady hand. Others discover the joy of writing in adolescence or young adulthood as an outlet for the jumble of new thoughts, emotions, and ideas. We have all made detours through adulthood to return to our first love of writing. Why not give the budding writer in your life a boost along their own creative journey?

For the first time ever, the International Writers’ Collective is offering a creative writing workshop exclusively for teens. In this one-day workshop, writers between the ages of 12 and 15 will play with words, experiment with fun writing prompts, learn to share their writing with peers, and leave with new inspiration. This workshop meets on Sunday, 10 June 2023 in Amsterdam and is taught by our instructor Jennifer Gryzenhout.

Register your teen for this workshop and help them tap into their inner creative self!



The Flash Fiction Challenge is an English-language creative writing contest for first and second class secondary school students at bilingual (TTO) and Global Citizen Network schools in the Netherlands. It’s the brainchild of poet and educator Pauline van der Bilt. Now in its third year, the prize for the top two winners of the 2023 Flash Fiction Challenge is a seat in the IWC teen creative writing workshop.

Why is writing so important? Pauline says, “Writers are the observers of reality. They often do not have the loudest of voices – they are not extroverted TikTok role models – but their creativity is the most precious gift to the world.”

IWC instructor Jennifer Gryzenhout heartily agrees. By day, Jennifer teaches English at the International School of Amsterdam. By night, she is the beloved Level III instructor at the International Writers’ Collective. She says, “Encouraging teenagers to write creatively not only keeps them actively in touch with their imaginations, but it also is a magnificent way to boost their ongoing growth in thought, language, and expression. Plus, it’s fun!”



Every writer needs a safe space to express themselves as they wish and about whatever topic. Teen writers are no different. Remember your own teen years where everything felt confusing and uncertain? As Pauline van der Bilt puts it, “At a time in a teen’s life when they are trying to figure out their own path, creative writing is an amazing tool to experiment safely with thoughts, identity and finding one’s place in society.”

The Flash Fiction Challenge is co-organized by NUFFIC, a Dutch organization dedicated to the internationalization of Dutch primary, secondary and higher education. Project leader Joany Doornik wishes she had an opportunity like the Flash Fiction Challenge or an IWC teen creative writing workshop to stimulate her younger self. She recently took her first workshop with the International Writers’ Collective.

Instructor Jennifer Gryzenhout reminds us that, for teens, “playing with language and creative ways of expressing themselves through stories and poetry can help broaden their vocabulary, help them ‘think outside the box’ and approach even concrete problems with creative solutions. It gives them a voice, allows them to say things that might be hard to speak out loud or say more directly, and through that, can really bolster confidence. Like reading widely, it can help young people build empathy in connecting with characters, emotions, and artistic expression.”

Register your teen now! They will meet kindred spirits, explore their creativity in a safe space, and perhaps find a passion that will last a lifetime.

7 May 2023

2 responses on "Why teens need creative writing"

  1. WE all need self expression- not just teens- thanks for the wisdom and personal experience== regards Dan

  2. Extroverted? Extraverted! All people with an education in Latin and Greek classics know this! Extro- as a prefix does not exist, extra- does. It means towards the outside, just as intro- means towards the inside! Extro- has become an accepted spelling by analogy of intro-, but it is still wrong, even if established dictionaries such as Merriam-Webster say it is correct. it is not.

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