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Sports Writing Q&A

Discover your voice and make meaningful friendships! Our Teen Summer Workshops (for 11-14 year olds) provide students with an intensive, enriching writing experience that not only fosters open creative expression but also builds confidence and strengthens communication skills in a safe, supportive environment.

We would love for you to join us, whether you’ve been writing for years or just want to be part of a unique creative process.

We spoke with Jim McConville, who is teaching our “Sports Writing” summer workshop (August 19-23, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.; ages 10-13), to find out what he loves about writing and sports.

Read more and register here.

PWN: What book featuring a sport do you recommend and why?

JIM: A sports book I would recommend would be The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood, by Jane Leavy. Not only do I think the title is so interesting and powerful, but it is a really neat look into one of the most famous and popular American athletes of all time. It provides a look into Mantle’s life outside of baseball that I knew the footnotes to but not really the whole story. A very interesting look at how we worship athletes and celebrities in this country.

PWN: What similarities do you see between the drama of a story and the drama of a sporting event?

JIM: I see endless similarities between the drama of a story and the drama of a sporting event. Wondering what the characters will do versus wondering how the athletes will perform, how the ball will roll on a certain day, who will get the lucky bounce. And on top of that, I think there is such a connection that develops between the viewer and the character/athlete. If you are engrossing yourself in a book or a game, it seems only natural to develop a rooting interest for someone or something and be with them until the end.

PWN: What do you hope your students will take away from this camp?

JIM: I hope the students leave with an even more attentive, curious, and critical eye than they arrived with. I hope they will continue to notice the smallest details in sports and life and savor those moments in their writing. And I hope they will see, if they do not already, that sports stories are about so much more than sports.

PWN: What’s your favorite sport to write about and why?

JIM: My favorite sport to write about is baseball. From Bull Durham to Mickey Mantle to Walt Whitman believing baseball was part of the soul of the United States, I think there is something inherently innocent and wide-eyed and romantic about big grassy outfields and sun-cooked dirt infields. Playing through the summer and ending in autumn—I think there is a metaphor there!

Read more and register here.

Jim McConville is a Writing Instructor for Project Write Now.

Songwriting Studio Q&A

Discover your voice and make meaningful friendships! Our Teen Summer Workshops (for 11-14 year olds) provide students with an intensive, enriching writing experience that not only fosters open creative expression but also builds confidence and strengthens communication skills in a safe, supportive environment.

We would love for you to join us, whether you’ve been writing for years or just want to be part of a unique creative process.

We spoke with Mimi Cross, who is teaching our “Songwriting Studio” summer workshop (August 19-23, 1 to 4 p.m.; ages 11-14) as well as our “Songwriting Intensive” for adults, to find out what she loves about making music.

Read more and register here.

PWN: When did you write your first song and what was it about?

MIMI: The first song I ever wrote was called “Me, Myself, and I,” and I wrote it with my best friend Sarah when we were in Kindergarten. Fun fact: In 1980, British singer-songwriter guitarist and three-time Grammy Award nominee Joan Armatrading released an album called “Me Myself I.” The title track became one of her most successful singles! P.S. Sarah and I are still very good friends.

PWN: What current song moves you, whether bopping in your seat or stirring up another emotion? How do you think the song achieves that effect?

MIMI: Wow, that’s a tough one. There are so many great songs out there! One of my current favorites is “Shallow” from the soundtrack of A Star Is Born. There are several reasons why that song moves so many people, starting with the singers. But even if we took Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper out of the equation, “Shallow” would be an amazing song. The lyrics are both personally and universally appealing, and the melody, chord progressions, and harmony all play a part in making this song a hit. Above all, it may be the structure of the song that gives me the most goosebumps. When Lady Gaga hits that pre-chorus … Well, let’s just say, that’s when my nerve endings leap to attention. I’ve chosen this song, among others, to dissect in the Songwriting Intensive this summer. So if you want to know more about what makes “Shallow” tick, sign up!

PWN: What happens in a songwriting class?

MIMI: The first thing I do in “Songwriting Studio” and “Songwriting Intensive” is show participants a quick and easy way to connect with topics that matter deeply to them. Once we begin to explore these ideas, what I call “song starts” will quickly follow. Those starts turn into lines of lyrics, and we go on from there, studying structure and “building” a song. I’ve designed specific writing exercises to facilitate the songwriting process, but they work for any type of writing, which is a plus.

PWN: What moment in the classroom/studio gets you excited as an instructor?

MIMI: There are a lot of exciting moments in a songwriting class, but at some point, the ideas usually start flowing so quickly I can’t keep up! So maybe the most exciting moment is when I pull out my phone to make a quick recording. It might be a chorus, or maybe a couple of verses—sometimes ideas move so fast, I need to get them down before they disappear. Just get it down. That’s probably the best advice I have for any kind of writer. Write your words and ideas down in a notebook, on a napkin—wherever! Record those phrases. Lyrics. Thoughts. Edit later. Revise later. Just get it down!

PWN: Why do you write?

MIMI: I write because I’d be unhappy if I didn’t.

Read more and register here.

Mimi Cross is a Writing Instructor for Project Write Now.

Fantastic Voyage Q&A

Discover your voice and make meaningful friendships! Our Teen Summer Workshops (for 11-14 year olds) provide students with an intensive, enriching writing experience that not only fosters open creative expression but also builds confidence and strengthens communication skills in a safe, supportive environment.

We would love for you to join us, whether you’ve been writing for years or just want to be part of a unique creative process.

We spoke with Jim McConville, who is teaching our “Fantastic Voyage” summer workshop (August 5-9, 1 to 4 p.m.; ages 11-14), to find out what he loves about the fantasy genre.

Read more and register here.

PWN: What do you look for in a Fantastic Voyage story? To learn? To travel? To laugh? A combination?

JIM: In any story that involves a Fantastic Voyage, I look for the character who is going on a journey to experience some type of change—positive, negative, surprising, expected. To me, this shows that the character is open to the presumably fresh setting they are facing and willing to be influenced by it. The change can be minor, but I do expect it’s going to stick with them. Laughing and learning are great aspects of it, as well.

PWN: What type of reading do you do to escape the everyday world? (Or, your favorite made-up destination to read about?)

JIM: If I could live anywhere real or imagined, I would love to live in JRR Tolkien’s Shire. Simple, intentional living surrounded by green scenery as far as the eye can see. And it being socially acceptable to walk around barefoot sounds pretty great too. I love reading poetry collections to unwind. I find something so relaxing about diving into the verses and letting the mood and tone of the poems take me somewhere else. My first love of poetry was Walt Whitman, and after recently seeing The Belle of Amherst at the Two River Theater, I have been rediscovering my love for Emily Dickinson. I love the language of past writers—there is something so essential about it.

PWN: What moment in the classroom gets you excited as an instructor?

JIM: Anytime I see a student excited about life in general, but specifically learning and thinking, I can’t help becoming so full of excitement too. I also love when students realize they are capable of more than they initially think. That is super rewarding as well.

PWN: Why do you write?

JIM: I write because I love to breathe in the world around me, no matter how polluted it can seem at times.

Read more and register here.

Jim McConville is a Writing Instructor for Project Write Now.

Your Voice Matters Q&A

Discover your voice and make meaningful friendships! Our Teen Summer Workshops (for 11-14 year olds) provide students with an intensive, enriching writing experience that not only fosters open creative expression but also builds confidence and strengthens communication skills in a safe, supportive environment.

We would love for you to join us, whether you’ve been writing for years or just want to be part of a unique creative process.

We spoke with Christa Teter, who is teaching our “Your Voice Matters” summer workshop (July 29 – Aug 2, 1 to 4 p.m.; ages 11-14), to find out what drives her to teach this program.

Read more and register here.

PWN: You’ve taught this camp for a while now. Why is it still fresh/important/exciting?

CHRISTA: I’m a big believer in having students practice speaking their opinions in a respectful manner and finding accurate information to help support their opinions. Most kids find themselves ruminating over issues—whether they be political, environmental, or social—and I know they have opinions they want to share. I think it’s so important for kids to find their voice and express it in the written word. We talk about audience and trying to draw in the readers who might have an opposing view. How can we capture that reader and get them to hear you, your opinion, your experience? It’s beautiful when students take the week of camp to really think about what they want to say.

PWN: How is writing important in your everyday life?

CHRISTA: Writing is very important in my everyday life—whether it be an email to my great-aunt, a group text to my daughter’s teammates’ parents, an assignment for my students on a Google doc, an example of a skill we’re practicing in class, or a letter to my sons’ guidance counselor. Each piece of writing has to have clarity, purpose, and conciseness because I want my audience to understand what I am communicating to them. If my writing consists of typos, grammatical errors, and poorly constructed sentences, then my reader will be confused, or worse, they will develop a negative impression of me. My writing reflects my integrity. I want people to perceive me a certain way, so I try to communicate in a way that shows my writing style, voice, and professionalism. In my classroom, we use journal writing every day as a way to practice getting thoughts out of our head, to view them on paper, and to expand our ideas in order to exercise our writing muscles and get more confident.

PWN: What moment in the classroom gets you excited as an instructor?

CHRISTA: It always excites me when I learn from my students—their minds are so much more open than adults’. I find it extremely refreshing and it makes me hopeful. I enjoy being open to their perspectives and helping them be confident in their ideas. I can give them tools to find information, help them come up with questions to research, and help them organize their thoughts and writing, but their ideas belong to them. It’s what makes them unique.

PWN: Why do you write?

CHRISTA: I love to look at my writing as a work of art—adding in and blending words like colors, substituting vague words with more specific words, restructuring sentences to give it texture—all for the sake of communicating a message.

Read more and register here.

Christa Teter is a Writing Instructor for Project Write Now.

Graphic Novel Writing Q&A

Discover your voice and make meaningful friendships! Our Teen Summer Workshops (for 11-14 year olds) provide students with an intensive, enriching writing experience that not only fosters open creative expression but also builds confidence and strengthens communication skills in a safe, supportive environment.

We would love for you to join us, whether you’ve been writing for years or just want to be part of a unique creative process.

We spoke with Tara Tomaino, who is teaching our “Graphic Novel Writing” summer camp (August 12-16, 1 to 4 p.m.; ages 11-14) to find out why she is so passionate about graphic novels.

Read more and register here.

PWN: What do you think about the movement and attention the graphic novel genre is finally getting?

TARA: I think attention—positive or negative—is vital for anything to flourish, and not only flourish, but to gain a certain respect within a community. Since their inception, comics, and subsequently, graphic novels, have always been deemed a childish and “nerdy” hobby. Recently, they have begun to see positive respect. Some of this has to do with the overwhelming attention both the Internet and movie industry have dedicated in the past 10 to 15 years toward MASSIVE, billion-dollar pop culture industries, such as Marvel or Japanese manga/anime. The influence of these sources is insurmountable. And now an entire generation, who bore witness to the rise in popularity of these artistic outlets, are old enough to call the shots in the publishing industry and are producing mature and engaging material.

Something like a graphic novel, or even a video game, requires the utilization of senses much more than a written novel and implements elements of consideration that are absent from the common piece of fiction. I think that has also contributed to the rise in popularity, as my students, particularly young teenagers, are able to gain more enjoyment from reading graphic novels as they are actively engaging with the stories more so than they would if there was just text on a page. There’s something universal about an image that language alone fails to capture, and a graphic novel, in combination of the two, has become a significant part of our growing globalized consciousness.

Hey, if it is getting both children and adults to engage with their imaginations, then I am really excited about the movement and attention the genre is finally getting!

PWN: When did you first realize that graphic novels were a “thing?”

TARA: I was about 10 or 11 years old when I was first introduced to Japanese cartoons, or anime, in the form of popular shows such as Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, and Gundam. In an effort to get closer to the source, I began my foray into graphic novels through consumption of manga, or Japanese comics, that many of the anime series I revere are based on and inspired from (much like how Marvel looks to the actual comic source material to create their films). The graphic novel or manga I first read in entirety was the apocalyptic cyberpunk epic Battle Angel Alita (known as Gunnm in Japan). From there, I raided libraries and my wallet to build my mental map between titles. As the influence of manga trickled into the American pop-culture consciousness, graphic novels began to influence my own writing, style, and, to a greater extent, my understanding of humanity blossomed.

PWN: What moment in the classroom gets you excited as an instructor?

TARA: I’m having a hard time defining the moment precisely. I am an instructor who finds value in what I am teaching as well as what I learn from teaching. So … perhaps the moment that really affirms my chosen career is witnessing a slight shift in a student’s eyes, a shift from a confused or bored, glossed-over daydream stare to an intense, bullet-pointed fascination and understanding. When a student “gets it” and is encouraged further, passion is created. And from this, a love of life-long learning thrives.

PWN: Why do you write?

TARA: I write because sometimes my brain and mouth trip over each other and the editing process behind the written word is more forgiving.

Read more and register here.

Tara Tomaino is a Writing Instructor for Project Write Now.

Animal Tales Q&A

We make writing fun! Join us this summer for a creative, enriching writing experience that allows children to explore their imaginations while building confidence and literacy skills.

We spoke with Jill Gindi, who is teaching our “Animal Tales” summer camp (August 12-16, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.; ages 7-10) to find out about her favorite animal inspiration and why she loves to write.

Register for Animal Tales here.

PWN: What’s your favorite animal to write about and why?

JILL: I love to write about parakeets! Growing up, my brothers and I were not permitted to have any pets because my mom was allergic. When I was six, my dad brought home a small cardboard box with holes poked in the top. To our surprise, my parents had found us a pet that did not cause my mom to have an allergic reaction! We were so excited to welcome a colorful parakeet named Tweety into our home! Since I have such fond memories of Tweety, I like to write nonfiction and fiction stories involving a pet parakeet. Tweety was and still is the only pet that I’ve ever had!

PWN: Which famous animal character would you want to have dinner with? What would you ask him/her/it?

JILL: I would like to have dinner with Garfield the cat. I would spend our meal trying to convince him that there are so many delicious food options other than lasagna!

PWN: What moment in the classroom gets you excited as an instructor?

JILL: I love writing shared stories with my students. Creating a story together is a great way for me to model writing techniques. You would be surprised at some of the fantastic and creative ideas children can come up with just by giving them a little push!

PWN: Why do you write?

JILL: I find writing to be relaxing and enjoyable! It is also a great way to express your thoughts and exercise your mind and creativity.

Register for Animal Tales here.

Jill Gindi is a Writing Instructor for Project Write Now.

Girls Write Now Q&A

We make writing fun! Join us this summer for a creative, enriching writing experience that allows children to explore their imaginations while building confidence and literacy skills.

We spoke with Jennifer Shields, who is co-teaching our “Girls Write Now” summer workshop (July 22 – 26, 1 to 4 p.m.; ages 12-14) to find out more about why this is a great program for teen writers.

Register for Girls Write Now here.

PWN: Why do you think this camp is important, especially now?

JEN: There are so many layers to the recent phenomena of women speaking out (for example, #metoo). Girls learn at an early age about the inherent dangers of being female in our society. They learn to distrust their environment and guard their feelings. This is the indelible guideline for coming of age. In Girls Write Now, we talk about our intuitive strengths and pick apart the perceived weaknesses our culture has bestowed upon us. Through writing exercises and lively discussions, we examine the big influencers, such as peers, social media (Snapchat, Instagram), school, Netflix, parents, siblings, etc. We gather knowledge and strength through sharing our writing in a positive and encouraging environment.

PWN: What do you love about having grown up as a girl?

JEN: What I loved most about growing up as a girl was the intensity and closeness of my friendships with other girls. Liza, Sarah, and Lori—my besties. At that time, girls were allowed much more freedom to love in our friendships. With Girls Write Now, we acknowledge and foster this closeness but also explore ways to support and encourage boys to form similar relationships. I am thankful for the bonds I’ve shared during those difficult years of middle school and high school. I have never laughed as hard as I did with Liza, Sarah, and Lori. Sisterhood—that is what I love about being a girl!

PWN: What moment in the classroom (in this camp) gets you excited as an instructor?

JEN: Seeing a bond of friendship quickly form among a group of strangers. To watch girls come in on the first day and apprehensively choose their seat at the table—shy smiles and a pulling inward of their bodies as they await instruction. Lisa and I jump right in with the invitation to write freely, speak freely. We commend them for coming and appreciate the bravery in showing up to a room full of strangers. Every word is confidential and stays within our circle. We give them permission to be seen and heard. By the end of the week, they are talking over one another because they are so excited to share their stories. Their shy smiles have transformed into magnificent grins and their bodies now shake with belly laughs.

PWN: Why do you write?

JEN: As an introvert, I am inexplicably compelled to write. So much of my experience of the world takes place internally. Writing—whether journaling, working on my memoir, or putting line fragments together to make a poem—is a major component of my mental health. The process of reflection and a slowing down of the world brings me to a place of calm and understanding. Writing allows me to be a better therapist, wife, friend, and mom. I would be lost without this practice.

Register for Girls Write Now here.

Jennifer Shields is a Writing Instructor & Counselor for Project Write Now.

Storybook Studio Q&A

We make writing fun! Join us this summer for a creative, enriching writing experience that allows children to explore their imaginations while building confidence and literacy skills.

We spoke with Leah Mermelstein, who is teaching our Storybook Studio summer camp (July 22 – 26, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.; ages 7-10) to find out more about what she loves about storybooks and teaching writing.

Register for Storybook Studio here.

PWN: What was your favorite storybook growing up?

LEAH: I loved Where The Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak. This storybook made the ordinary “getting in trouble and getting sent to your room” extraordinary. I can recall my first grade teacher reading this book to our class and telling us to listen up because there was more to this book than meets the eye. I love the idea that your dreams can bring you to new places and help you acquire new roles, but in the end nothing is sweeter than the familiar smells and sights of your home. Now, years later, I have the privilege of watching my six-year-old daughter fall in love with this same storybook. As she reads, she imagines a world where she is “the king of all things” and in charge of starting a “wild rumpus.” But she also, like me, finds solace in the ending when the boy returns to the familiar sights and smells of his own bedroom.

PWN: What storybook characters would you like to meet?

LEAH: I’ve been thinking a lot lately about balancing being kind to others with being kind to yourself. How I would love to visit with the beautiful children from The Other Side, by Jacqueline Woodson, and hear their perspectives on friendship and diversity! I would ask them how they figured out a way to listen to the adults but have their own minds at the same time. And what about speaking to the little boy in the storybook How To Heal a Broken Wing, by Bob Graham? I’m sure after speaking to him I would be far wiser in knowing when to help others and when to let them soar and discover the bigger world. It would be a dream come true to march right into the storybook Dear Girl, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, with my daughter by my side. I know “the girl” would teach both of us a thing or two about how to be strong and true to ourselves. Whenever my daughter feels different from the crowd, I lean down and whisper what I believe are the three most inspirational words in that storybook: “You be you!”

PWN: What moment in the classroom gets you excited as an instructor?

LEAH: Some students come into my classroom excited to write, while others are more apprehensive. Every child, no matter how they feel about writing, is welcome in my classroom! My absolute favorite moment as an instructor is when the apprehensive student discovers the power and joy of the written word. One of my writing mentors once said to me, “It’s not always fun to write, but it’s fun to have written.” I love bearing witness to a student uncovering the joy and satisfaction of “having written.” Last summer during my Storybook Studio class, many students had these types of moments and continued with their writing projects long after camp was over.

PWN: Why do you write?

LEAH: I write for many reasons and these reasons are constantly evolving. Sometimes I write for the sheer fun of it. My daughter and I write funny notes back and forth to each other when we have mouthwash in our mouths and we can’t speak. I’ve been known to spit my mouthwash out and cause a mess–her notes are that funny! I sometimes write to figure things out, or to think things through. There is nothing dreamier to me than starting my day alone, sipping my coffee, pen and notebook in hand. And my daughter just taught me a new purpose today. She has always had an intense fear of the jets in pools, which is getting in the way of her having fun with her friends. Lately, she has been asking this doozy of a question: How do you get over a fear you truly feel you can’t get over? Today on the way to school, my daughter said she made up a poem she thought might help her with her fear: “Jets are little spurts of water sending you love and blowing you kisses.” Oh, how I love this girl–using writing to get over fears that feel insurmountable.

Register for Storybook Studio here.

Leah Mermelstein is a Writing Instructor at Project Write Now.

A Q&A with our Teen Intern

Strengthen your leadership and communication skills with an inspiring summer teen internship. We offer two tracks: Teaching Assistant & The Interview Project. After the three-day training, you create your own schedule. We also offer community service hours! And it’s FUN!

We sat down with Sophia W. G., 16, to ask about her experience as a Teaching Assistant last summer and why she would recommend that teens sign up.

PWN: Why did you pick the Teaching Assistant internship?

SOPHIA: I picked the Teaching Assistant Internship because I’ve had a few admirable writing instructors who truly inspired me and helped me evolve as a writer. I would not be the same without their encouragement. My hope in teaching was to inspire children to be passionate writers and overall kind people the way my teachers inspired me.

PWN: What was your favorite moment within the internship?

SOPHIA: There were so many magical moments in this internship. I assisted in the Girls Write Now and Ink It Up camps. Girls Write Now was the most empowering writing group I have ever been a part of. All of the girls in the group were so supportive and strong; simply being in their presence morphed me into a more emotional writer and confident woman. Ink It Up was a rather unique group of writers. In this camp we combined art and writing into a masterpiece of words and paintings. These writers had such an abstract way of thinking; their words inspired me to go outside of my comfort zone when it came to finding my poetic voice. Hearing people pour out their hearts on paper is what moved me the most.

PWN: Did anything surprise you?

SOPHIA: What surprised me the most was how open and vulnerable everyone was. By the end of the internship, everyone seemed to have a special bond. Our words brought us together. The days we spent spilling our hearts and souls into our writing transformed me. It was just simply hearing others’ stories and finding connection in them that altered my perspective on life. The power of words brings people together. I think the experience of being surrounded by an abundance of fellow writers with my same passion gave me a feeling of belonging like no other.

PWN: Would you recommend this internship? Why?

SOPHIA: I absolutely recommend this internship because it is a fabulous way to learn how to encourage others to fall in love with writing, discover more about your craft, and meet people who share the same passion. This internship is perfect for people who want to create magic out of their words and be in the presence of magic from other people’s words.

Sophia W. G. is a Project Write Now teen intern and current teen leader of Teen Writing Group.

Ink It Up! Q&A

We make writing fun! Join us this summer for a creative, enriching writing experience that allows children to explore their imaginations while building confidence and literacy skills.

We spoke with Lisa Hartsgrove, who is teaching our Ink It Up! summer workshop (July 15 – 19, 1 to 4 p.m.; ages 11-14) to find out more about what she loves about writing and drawing together.

Read more and register here.

PWN: What do you love about filling up journal pages with ink?

LISA: There’s something deeply satisfying about filling a page and triple-so about filling a notebook. It feels gratifying, like a job-well-done. Have you ever gone grocery shopping and crossed off each item as you found it? It’s kind of like that, but bigger and more meaningful. You’re not just putting things in a cart to feed your body, but you’re putting words and art on a page to feed your brain, your imagination, your creativity. It’s grocery shopping but for soul food.

PWN: What’s your go-to doodle?

LISA: Although I love cats, the images I draw most often are not feline-related. I tend to doodle more floral designs—daisies, roses, lilies. I like drawing them because there’s so much freedom in the way they appear. For instance, daisies have a very different shape than roses. And tulips are often bright pinks and purples while hydrangeas are often pastel. There are so many variations of flowers, so it’s easy to put your own spin on what a flower could look like. I also love images that can be used to fill in gaps (I rarely leave room for white space) such as spiderwebs, eyes, bubbles. And lots of barren trees.

PWN: What moment in the classroom gets you excited as an instructor?

LISA: The AH-HA moment! When I notice a shift in a student. When I see the spark go off. For instance, I once had a student who on Day 1 of camp claimed she “was not a writer or an artist.” She took the camp at the (strong) suggestion of her parents and didn’t feel as though she belonged. But by Day 3, she was writing and sharing her work with the group. Somewhere in that three-day span, she developed a confidence in something she didn’t know she had. And I believe that had a lot to do with the group—she saw other students writing and drawing and sharing their work without judgment. She felt safe and welcome, which led to her ability to create and experiment without fear. Her first share (about her struggle to find her identity) was the spark I was looking for—that AH-HA moment. When she could see that we were all learning and experimenting together, she was able to push past her own expectations. I love when I see that bell go off in my student’s head that tells them, “I AM a writer.”

PWN: Why do you write and draw together?

LISA: It has always been my understanding that art feeds art. Especially in writing. As writers, we repeat “show don’t tell”—and what is a drawing but a visual representation of a story? I’ve been art journaling most of my life—long before I knew it was called “art journaling.” I still have pages and pages from my high school years where I would both draw and write together. (Sometimes I even bring in old notebooks to show my students.) The first stories I ever wrote were told through drawings, and still, later in life, drawings have helped me express what words can’t always nail down. So I encourage my students to explore their creativity much the same way. We spend time writing, yes, but we also spend time drawing, painting, cutting up magazines, and listening to and learning from one another. It’s incredible to see my students light up when they realize they’re allowed to draw instead of write, or to spend time coloring in the corners of their pages, or to use different mediums like chalk or pastel. Imagine how much you can express when you break down the barriers that box in your art.

Read more and register here.

Lisa Hartsgrove is the Program Coordinator & Writing Instructor for Project Write Now.