FINDING FUN AGAIN Different forms of writing


Have you lost the fun in writing? If your answer is yes, you are not alone. Tizzie Frankish is helping us to find fun again in our four-part series. In this final week she is finding fun in different forms of writing – memoirs (sort of!), poems, rhyming picture books and flash fiction.  


As a writer in the Midlands it can sometimes feel like you miss out on writing opportunities. Aside from the industry feeling London centric, we are often too North for Southern opportunities and too South for Northern opportunities so when writing gigs arose closer to home, (my home town of Coventry no less!), I went for them… with gusto!


The Museum of Me were recruiting Midland’s creatives to curate a museum around five people from the local area, including written pieces on personal objects that reflected people’s stories. Not only was the area just down the road, I'd also had experience delivering sessions on using artefacts as writing inspiration – thanks Writing West Midlands* and the wonderful Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. But the real reason this resonated was that I’m a lover and collector of curiosities, (ahem – crap!), and I had objects-a-plenty to write about. The inspiration for my sample piece was my retro orange typewriter and the words were easily won. The story of me unfolded lightly and brightly from the words skipping on the wind, (as opposed to the pre-challenge feeling of tugging them from treacle). Bliss!


However I was so hyped from this writing utopia I forgot my own cardinal rule – I was WAY too invested in the outcome. In the interest of transparency I wanted this gig…. I mean REALLY wanted it, so it stung (a lot!) when I didn’t get it. But... BUT, I gently reminded myself, OUTCOME wasn’t the focus this year, certainly not those determined by other people, and the only thing I could control was the process and my OUTPUT – which in this case was a piece about my 1970’s typewriter and a childhood love of Murder She Wrote. So a family bag of chilli heatwave Doritos and a pack of Tunnock's caramel wafers later I was ready for another challenge.


Another local opportunity, that felt like it was devised just for me, was all call out for pieces on Urban Walking. At this time I was training to walk the Camino De Santiago – 113kms in 6 days – so I was already walking and writing a blog about it. On my walks the unexpected beauty of nature thriving in the city streets often amazed me and I wanted to share this joy. I wrote about nature fighting through concrete in the form of flowers peeking through paving slabs. I wrote about nature flowing under the shadows of the city peaks, such as the pike playing in water under the watchful gaze of a mighty tower block. Regardless of where I walk or what my focus is, walking ALWAYS expands my perspective and gives me purpose… Hope. So I wrote this into the poem too – top and tailing the verses with ‘When I walk’ and ‘I am free as a bird. Free to be me.’ Although I wasn’t successful I had some lovely feedback from the ‘judges’ and writing this poem was so freeing and enjoyable I’d already won. Onwards we go! 


Having awoken my poetry beast, it brought me back to my early days of writing for children when I wrote a lot of rhyming texts so I sought out opportunities to improve and use them. This time a Picture Book competition was the impetus to play around with meter, rhyme and scansion and I almost drowned in the sea of technicality, learning about feet, metre and iambs. I certainly irritated my boys by tapping out beats of stressed syllables with the focus and enthusiasm of a boyband drummer. And just like the boyband drummer I was in my element. 

This love and learning continued to a flash fiction competition where the brief was to write 150 words on a superhero with a twist, including the words parachute, elastic, cake! Tight word count... Yup! Three very random words... Yup! Rhyme? Why the heck not! Prior to my ‘Finding Fun’ challenge I’d been brainstorming ideas for a silly 'Superhero School' series so I recycled a character and named her Arabella Mozzarella – the super-stretchy superhero. The joy in this challenge was in sharing it with my 9-year-old niece and together we created many silly stories for Arabella Mozzarella just for fun and giggles... and there were lots of those! When we’d finished I couldn’t have been happier when she smiled and said, "I didn’t know writing was so much fun!" Ah, if only she knew!


“I did for the fun of it”

― Amelia Earhart



• It’s a universal truth that story should never be sacrificed for the rhyme  but if you already have a well-structured children’s story, why not play around with rewriting it in rhyme – it might turn out to be the magic ingredient.

• If you fancy trying your hand at writing rhyme but don’t know where to start, both Amy Sparkes (Rhyming Masterclass – The Story Godmother) and Catherine Emmet (Rhyming Picture Book Writing Courses – WriteRhyme – Catherine Emmett) run great courses on this.

• Do you have an existing character you can’t quite give up on? Try writing a flash fiction or micro story about them  who knows what ideas it might spark!

• If you want to have fun with flash fiction or micro fiction, the Children's Writers Group (on Facebook) Retreat West (Monthly Micro Fiction Competition – Retreat West) run competitions or you could always submit to Paragraph Planet (Submit your paragraph today. (




• Jack Foster said "Having fun unleashes creativity. It is one of the seeds you plant to get ideas." And he’s not wrong! Since writing without pressure, trying different writing lanes and most of all enjoying the process, I'm all ideas, ideas, ideas! I just need to decide which one to work on  but that’s another article!


• You don’t have to enter competitions/pitches/proposals just for the outcome. They are brilliant for presenting briefs to have fun with, trying out new ideas, recycling characters and stories, working to deadlines and, if you’re lucky, you might even get some feedback – or even the ACTUAL gig!


• Some advice, whilst well intended, might not work for you. It is okay to stop writing if it is causing you more angst than joy  your mental health will thank you for it! Equally it's okay to step away and re-evaluate what you want to achieve with/from your writing  you won’t ‘miss the boat’ or ‘lose your skills’ but you might just find a new perspective and joy in the process again.


Exciting update 

Remember the good, the bad and the ugly pitches I mentioned in article one? Well it turns out there is no such thing as a bad story, just a bad pitch. After spotting an opportunity to pitch a story on menopause. (Thanks Sian!) I recycled the ‘Why does Menopause have to be a crisis?’ idea and used it as an opportunity to hone and practice my pitching skills, (they had to be better than the first attempt). I must have done something right  ‘Thanks so much for your really detailed and clear pitch. We would love to commission your article.’

Eeek! Now, I need to learn how to write articles... and not just for the fun of it


‘People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing’.

 Dale Carnegie


*Writing West Midlands do a great job of supporting those of us in the middle. Thank you Jonathan and Team!


*Header image: Shannon Ell and Tita Berredo 


After spending most of her time BC (Before Children) travelling and studying or travelling to study, Tizzie Frankish settled back in her hometown of Coventry (UK) with her partner and teenage sons. She has a 20-year career in education and currently works as a Specialist Support Tutor across two universities in the Midlands, where she coaches neurodiverse learners and she gets a fascinating insight into all the subjects she hasn’t got around to studying – yet! She has also guest-lectured on a creative writing degree specialising in writing for children.


Find Tizzie on Twitter: @tizzief


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