Guest post: how revising for exams helped me develop a new creative writing aid

Crawford Johnston devised a system for improving his creative writing while in his final year of primary school which he has gone on to turn into “Creative Writing Magic Money Cards”, a product designed to improve writing skills across a broad range of ability groups in students aged 9 – 15 and now selling across the world. Still at school and revising for more exams, Crawford approached Schools Improvement Net to introduce his cards and tell us the story of their development…

Who enjoys revising for exams? Waves of worry. You try to remember facts in all directions and hope the test questions will cover what you commit to memory.

In my last year of Primary school while revising for English exams I devised a system that helped me focus on how to improve my creative writing skills. Text books often become a bit repetitive and dull and I didn’t wish to become bored and switch off. My method worked – at least for me.

I crunched the main parts of speech and techniques into a card system. (Actually they were little pieces of paper when I first started out.) My plan was simple: to make sure I could employ as many cards as possible in all my writing projects. Teachers tick boxes when they see the techniques used and you score marks. Every time. I committed my cards to memory easily just through regular use.

Soon I was shuffling and stuffing teacher’s ticks into my stories at every opportunity. Cheeky alliteration positively powered into paragraphs. “Just do it” as the Nike slogan says. Writing actually became enjoyable and almost fun. When it worked for me I thought it might help others.

Before I memorised the techniques in my mind I used to move real cards to a little pile on my desk at home. Then one day I thought, “This is like spending money”. The idea for Creative Writing Magic Money Cards was born.

Spending the cards and them being an investment in an essay made sense – and a good metaphor. (Metaphors: card 38 in the set of 59 Creative Writing Magic Money Cards.) I  gave the more challenging cards higher ‘magic money’ values.

Everyone liked my idea: headteachers, family friends, my parents and other kids’ parents, too. Interestingly, the chief executive of a local major printer had children my age (a little luck always helps) and he liked my idea very much.

One university professor was impressed with my cards and he asked his graduate students to help out on my website. Computer boffins work their own magic  – www.creativewritingmmc.co.uk .

My method was tried successfully with families and with pupils in schools at the top and bottom of national league tables. A selection of their terrific testimonials appears on my website.

I hoped my idea would help others and it seems to be working. Now famous people are helping me. When the author Alexander McCall Smith met me he told all his Facebook followers about my cards and orders came in from around the world. His first fan ordered from near Botany Bay in Australia.  Now sales stretch across five continents.

Time is my rarest resource because I am still at school. Schoolwork comes first. But my business all began from an idea I had while studying for school exams so in a strange way I have schoolwork to thank.

(Now I have French revision to finish) 

See more at Crawford’s Creative Writing Magic Money Cards website

If you have an interesting story or tell or an educational product you’d like to introduce please get in touch with us using this form.

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Comments

    • SchoolsImprove

      Ginn3810 Thank you – that’s what comes of making changes at 5 in the morning (the night after a primary school fund raising event!)

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