Dear Friends of Project Write Now:
We love kicking off a new year with reflective writing—looking back on the past year, grounding ourselves in the present, and imagining all the possibilities in the future.
We recently gave our 8th grade AVID students these prompts: write about what you want to leave behind in 2021, what you want to carry from 2021 into 2022, and what you imagine for 2022.
What they wrote was so inspiring, we asked them each to submit their favorite line to us. Then we arranged their words into the collaborative poem below. We were amazed at what came out! Every single word came from them; all we did was organize it.
We are grateful we can show students the power of their words—the self-awareness and confidence they gain by writing about their thoughts and feelings and the connection and community that forms when stories are shared.
And it’s all thanks to you! Whether you’ve taken a class, signed your child up for a class, or given a generous gift, you help us do this work, which is needed now more than ever.
Asbury Park High School
We concluded our Spoken Word Project, led by artist Krysta Elora in collaboration with KYDS, with a celebration during which students shared pieces reflecting their authentic selves. We were inspired by their honesty and hope they recognize how powerful their words are! We also wrapped up our program led by author and entrepreneur Pamela Major that focused on transitions. Each student presented their ideas on how their values impact how they handle change. We are so grateful to Christine DeMarsico for welcoming us into her classroom!
Bridge Ink 6.1
We’re so excited to release the first issue of Volume 6 of Bridge Ink, our online young adult literary journal! This issue brings you dynamic teen voices from California, Colorado, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania … BRAZIL and INDIA! Be sure to check it out today! And if you know a teen writer who would love to be published, have them submit to Bridge Ink or apply for our PWN Teen Voice & Verse Contest!
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: “Good Luck Objects,” “Pen,” “Air,” and “Current.” 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 are thrilled to announce the launch of our new PWN India Writing Club this month with students in India! Already we’ve had so much fun getting to know the students by creating heart maps of all the things we love. This writing club wouldn’t be possible without the creativity and dedication of our amazing intern Khushreet, who has been working with us since last summer. We love how virtual platforms have given us opportunities to reach young writers all over the world.
Red Bank Middle School
Reflect, Recollect, Imagine. That’s how we celebrated the new year with our 8th grade RBMS AVID students. We wrote about what we want to leave behind in 2021, what we want to keep from 2021, and what new things we hope to learn or discover in 2022. Then we took our favorite lines from the day and strung them into a collaborative poem! The next week, we wrote about our experiences trying new things. Students shared stories of their first time going out with a new groups of friends, trying new foods, and going to new places. And on January 25, we celebrated Opposite Day! First, we set a scene showing ourselves doing something we do every day. Then, we challenged ourselves to write the same scene but opposite—to create dynamic characters that don’t necessarily agree with us or reflect who we are directly. It was really cool to see how many plots emerged from this challenge. One writer shared a story where the protagonist excelled at basketball, and then flipped it where the character really struggled with the sport. We realized how already there’s tension between these two characters—How are they in each other’s way? How can they help each other? We can’t wait to see what these students come up with next!
Red Bank Public Library
This month, the Red Bank Public Library writers wrote to a simple prompt in an ever-complicated world: “Day by day …” We read an excerpt from Brian Doyle’s book of essays, One Long River Song, as well as an essay from Beautiful Things titled, ‘Bird Families,’ by Renata Golden. We wrote to the prompt: “What is your obsession and where did you get it?” And we also wrote to a grounding prompt: “I am here and I am.” That led into a discussion about the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, who passed away recently at the age of 95. We read some of his quotes and talked about the need for a meditative practice to live a more present life. We also shared a piece from John Green’s new book, The Anthropocene Reviewed, and wrote to the prompt: “What do you love?”
Shore House (Long Branch)
We started the year at Shore House with reflection and hope. We wrote about the moments from 2021 that we are most grateful for and what we want for 2022. A lot of the stories shared had similar themes—from the past, we were most grateful for family and friends and animals, and for the future, we mostly wish for good health! When we came back the following week, we used color chips as prompts to push us to use language we might not normally put together. The imagination that sprung from their pages was so profound that we promised to try it again when we return. Shore House writers LOVE writing about color!
Teacher Writing Collaborative
We kicked off the new year with a big exhale and dove immediately into writing. We all grabbed an object within reach that had some meaning to us and then wrote whatever came to mind about it. Oftentimes, the objects we keep close to us carry significant meaning, yet because they are constantly in view, it’s easy to forget those stories. It was wonderful to use these objects to ground ourselves. We also shared some tender moments we’ve had with our students recently, reminding us of why we do what we do. The next TWC class is Thursday, February 3, from 5 to 6 p.m. ET. All teachers are welcome to join. Register here.
Teen Writing Group
Our teen writers are off to a great start in our winter session of Teen Writing Group! With nine students, our teen leaders made sure every student felt comfortable writing and sharing their work on day one. By the end of our first class, we couldn’t tell that these students didn’t know each other before. They were all willing to share—jumping in with words of encouragement and bonding over favorite books and TV shows. Going forward, one writer each week will share a larger piece for the group to read and give deeper feedback. There’s nothing like seeing our teens come together in such a way where they are displaying leadership skills and teamwork at once. Join our global teen writing community by registering for the next session of Teen Writing Group today!
Zoom Open Mic
We are so inspired by the works that were shared in our monthly Zoom Open Mic for adults on January 28. We had over 15 readers share deep introspective personal pieces, calming nature stories, dark thrillers, mysteries, excerpts from novels, and more! We love the community that forms when stories are shared, and we are so grateful to those who keep coming back each month as well as our new attendees. Join us for our next Zoom Open Mic on Friday, February 25, starting at 5 p.m. ET.
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.