National Writing Day challenge

Today you'll practise your creative writing skills by taking part in the National Writing Day 24/7 writing challenge.

You will need:

  • paper

  • a pen or pencil

  • something to time yourself with

Created in partnership with National Writing Day

The 24/7 challenge

It’s National Writing Day today and the aim is to get everyone writing creatively!

You are going to take part in a 24/7 challenge.

There are just three rules:

  1. You are going to write a brilliant 24-word short story.

  2. Your story must start with the words ‘One day’.

  3. You will write it in just 7 minutes!

It’s a challenge, but don’t worry – this lesson will guide you step by step so you’re ready to make the most of those precious 7 minutes!

Get inspired to get writing!


To complete the ‘24/7’ challenge you'll need to focus on making your writing short and focused - every word counts.

An efficient way to do this may be to use some imagery. Using figurative language can act as a kind of ‘shortcut’ to bring ideas to life for your readers.

Here is a reminder of some of the ways you might do this:

Simile - a descriptive technique that compares one thing with another, usually using 'as' or 'like'The trees stood as tall as towers.
Metaphor - a descriptive technique that names a person, thing or action as something elseThe circus was a magnet for the children.
Hyperbole - a use of obvious exaggeration for rhetorical effectThe sun scorched through the day.
Personification - a metaphor attributing human feelings to an objectThe sun smiled at the hills, ready to begin a new day.
Pathetic fallacy - a type of personification where emotions are given to a setting, an object or the weatherThe clouds crowded together suspiciously overhead as the sky darkened.
Onomatopoeia - words that sound a little like they meanThe autumn leaves and twigs cracked and crunched underfoot.
Oxymoron - a phrase combining two or more contradictory termsThere was a deafening silence.

A more detailed reminder about simile, metaphor and other literary techniques can be found in this Bitesize guide.

Get writing

Before you get started listen to this advice from author Mark Haddon.

Get inspired with Mark Haddon!

Activity 1

Create a table and list 5 things that you would change about the world. It might be homelessness or poverty; it might be something much smaller such as the way your brother speaks to you in the morning.

For each of the things on the list, write down 2-3 images associated with it.

What I would changeImages
Homelessnesssleeping bags piled up in doorways coins collected in a polystyrene cup coats pulled tight around cold bodies cardboard spread out on the floor

Activity 2

Now challenge yourself to develop each of these images using simile or metaphor. You can find a reminder of how to use these techniques in this Bitesize guide.

Activity 3

Now you’re ready to take on the 24/7 challenge!

Pick one of the things you would change and write a 24-word poem or story using the images you associated with it. Alternatively, try to fit all four things you would change into a single 24-word poem or story. Don’t forget to use the phrase ‘One day’ to start your piece of writing.

One day, no more doorway sleeping bags
clamping cold bodies. No more
hungry stomachs or broken hearts.
No more playground taunts or shameful tears.

Well done for having a go at the 24/7 National Writing Day writing challenge!

Make sure you show your work to your teacher, parent or guardian, who can then share your work on National Writing Day using the hashtags #247challenge and #NationalWritingDay.

There's more to learn

More lessons for Year 9 and S3
More from KS3 English
11 - 14 English Language
Nikki Lilly Meets Saffron Barker
10 minute creative challenges
National writing day resources