Dear Friends of Project Write Now:
One of our favorite ways to share writing from the different groups we work with is through a collaborative poem, and February gave us the perfect opportunity to create one.
We asked for responses to the prompt “Love is …” and they came pouring in. From students in our teen and adult classes, from participants in our community outreach programs (including our PWN India Writing Club!), and from our social media channels.
And now, we present to you … “Love is …” a collaborative poem …
"Love is ..." A Collaborative Poem
Every Friday, we meet on Zoom for one hour to write in response to prompts on a designated theme. This month, we explored the themes: “Fair,” “Mine,” and “Well.” We also had a special class during which one of our students shared their photos to use as prompts! Though writers never have to share, we always enjoy hearing one another’s pieces and have formed an incredible, supportive community. Join us for our next Lunchtime Write-In to see what our upcoming themes will be!
We wrapped up our PWN India Winter Writing Club just in time for Valentine’s Day. We began the six-week session with heart maps, exploring all the things we keep in our hearts, and ended by responding to the prompt “Love is …” The students had lots of great things to say about writing with Ms. Colleen and Ms. Khushreet, and they shared how our classes have helped them. “Now I write stories and express my feelings in them,” “These classes helped me easily find topics to write on,” and “These classes have helped me show courage.” We are so excited for our PWN India Spring Writing Club, which starts in April.
Bridge Ink & Voice & Verse Contest
The submissions are rolling in from teens all over the world! Have you submitted yet? If you are or know a teen writer who would love to be published, send general submissions to Bridge Ink, our online young adult literary journal, or submit to our PWN Teen Voice & Verse Contest, deadline March 11!
PWN Teen Lit Fest
Please SAVE THE DATE for our 2nd Annual PWN Teen Lit Fest, to be held Sunday, April 3. It’s a virtual day of workshops, a teen writing panel, and an Open Mic—all for teens! Registration opens early March.
Teen Writing Group
We are always blown away by our teen writers—their kindness, creativity, and ambition. Not only do they run their own group, but they also take initiative, coming up with new ideas for writing prompts. This month, among other things, they used a word generator as story fodder. The writing that came from it was so incredibly imaginative, and as usual, the Zoom room was highly encouraging and supportive as each student shared. They also had a deep conversation about underrepresented groups in writing and they decided that going forward, they are going to write the stories they wish to read. Want to see the magic yourself? Join our global teen writing community by registering for the next session of Teen Writing Group, today!
Red Bank Middle School
In-School: 8th Grade
This month, we personified emotions and celebrated love with the RBMS 8th grade AVID class. We celebrated the season of love by reading “Someday I’ll Love Faith Smith,” by Faith Smith, and talking about how important it is to love ourselves. Then we filled our own hearts (paper hearts) with all the things that bring us joy. We chose one item from our hearts to write off of in our journals. We were thrilled to see how many students wrote themselves inside their hearts! When students shared their emotion pieces, too, we were so touched. One student shared a letter to Depression, thanking it for leaving and asking it never to return. Another wrote a story about Energy fighting Tired throughout their daily routine. And another created a character out of Happiness, described as a bubbly woman who always wears bright clothes and sees the best in everyone. We LOVE writing with the 8th grade AVID class!
In-School: 7th Grade
We are so excited to begin writing with the RBMS 7th AVID grade class. Our focus in 7th grade is on mindfulness and on being yourself by being present. Each week, we kick off class with a few minutes of meditation and breathing. Then we write to prompts related to a theme. This month, we explored time and the idea of taking our time: If we could go back in time to any day in our life, what would it be? What is our favorite time of day and why? How does it feel to rush through your day vs. taking your time? For us, we love taking the time to get to know our students, and we can’t wait to hear more of their writing.
After-School: 6-8th Grades
This month, we began our Winter Session of the Quest Club, a PWN after-school program for 6th-8th graders at RBMS. This club gives students dedicated time and space to clear their heads and just write. To get to know one another, we wrote in response to some ice-breaker questions. Then we took time to write questions on index cards that we are pondering, whether they are small questions, such as “Why does everyone like to make slime?” to bigger questions, “What is the meaning of life?” Exploring the questions that burn inside of us helps us self-reflect and learn not only about ourselves but also the world around us. We are excited to get to spend more time writing with these brilliant writers and thinkers.
After-School: 4-5th Grades
We began our six-week after-school writing class for the 4th and 5th graders at RBMS by reading “The Dot,” by Peter Reynolds. Just like the character in the book, we all can make a mark and see where it takes us. We shared times in our lives when we have felt self-doubt or were nervous and how we overcame those feelings. To get us started with writing personal stories, everyone made their mark on their paper with a dot and then asked themselves, “What could this dot become?” Their ideas were so creative and we are looking forward to taking our marks to the next level with storytelling and story writing!
Red Bank Public Library
This month, the Red Bank Public Library was all about love! We read “Love Is a Special Way of Feeling,” by Joan Walsh Anglund, and a poem by E. E. Cummings, “[i carry your heart with me (i carry it in)].” Then we wrote about our earliest memories of love and times when love failed or embraced us. We also wrote about self-love and when in our lives we first realized the importance of it. Lastly, we wrote about and discussed who in our lives needs to hear that they are loved.
Shore House (Long Branch)
We had a very special class at Shore House this month with a guest instructor, our college intern Hannah! This was Hannah’s second time teaching at Shore House with us and the members were so excited to have her back. Hannah is a science major and a creative writer who believes these two worlds do not need to be separate. She creates science videos to educate others on aspects of nature. For Shore House, we Zoomed her in so she could share one of her videos. Then, she invited us to write about it. “In this video, you see lots of beautiful aspects of nature,” she said. “What do you have in your life that’s beautiful, and what in nature can you relate that to?” One writer shared a story about his confidence feeling like a bird. Another related herself to a cheetah—rough but loyal. The members were so inspired that they kept asking Hannah questions to learn more about her process! We are so grateful to Hannah for her incredible lesson and to the members for always being so enthusiastic and creative.
Teacher Writing Collaborative
With our TWC, we read and responded to poetry, including “Testify,” by Eve L. Ewing and “Crossing the Line,” by E. Ethelbert Miller. Responding to a line, word, or idea, we explored where our imaginations took us. It’s fun to see the different paths we take, and we love hearing one another’s stories. This group has become an incredible space for teachers to come together to write and support one another. All teachers are welcome! Our next TWC class is Thursday, March 3. Register here.
Zoom Open Mic
We are so grateful to those who come and share their works with us in our Zoom Open Mic. This month pieces shared included: excerpts from YA novels, speculative fiction, nature poems, TV-inspired poems, introspective and outrospective* work. We love the community that forms when stories are shared! Join us for our next Zoom Open Mic on Friday, April 1, starting at 5 p.m. ET. (*Outrospective is our new favorite word! It’s a method in which you get to know oneself by developing relationships and empathetic thinking with others.)
Through our mission as a nonprofit organization, we remove barriers to participating in our studio classes by providing full and partial scholarship seats as well as payment plans. Since the pandemic began, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the need for financial assistance and therefore have met that need by offering more scholarship seats. In 2021, we provided 63 adult and 21 youth/teen seats totaling nearly $14,000. So far this year, we’ve awarded 13 seats totaling $5,800! For information about our scholarship program or to become a valuable donor providing these seats, please email Jennifer Chauhan at firstname.lastname@example.org.