Jun 29, 2011


I don't know how many of you guys know about 826, but it's amazing.  It's a non-profit organization whose main focus is to teach kids 6-18 how to write.  During the school year they offer tutoring and in-school residencies (which I did) where you help teachers teach about things like grammar, punctuation, and how to use good adjectives.

Come summer, it's a bunch of writing workshops.  I helped out an one where the students were to make a board game based around their favorite book, and then signed up for help at a regular feature on revisions that I started at today.

It was a little different than I expected, I was thinking one-on-one time with students as they were writing to help with plot, characterization, and answering/posing 'what do you think should happen next questions'.  As it turns out, it's essentially like my adult writer's group, more like my creative writing classes maybe.  The kids submit stories ahead of time, read them at the workshop, and then we critique them.

We did two stories in an hour and a half, meaning these kids are getting a lot of attention, and I was surprised by how eager, and effective, the other kids in the group were about talking about the strengths and weaknesses of the pieces.  Never mind the age gap, I could hang with these kids all day! It wasn't all up to the facilitators.

And despite the similarity between this group and my adult writer's group, the environment is different. It may have to be with the ages (I'm the youngest in my tues group and I think the average age is 50, a big difference from my 22), or maybe because I'm not scared by these kids.   On Tuesday, I really admire everyone there.  They've all been writing a lot longer than me, some are published/have agents, and I guess I see them all as be much better than me.

Here on Wed, I'm at the top of the pack with college classes under my belt and years of self research into all things of the writer craft. But the kids aren't that far behind me, and even just being with two other facilitators and intelligent kids I feel like I'm much equal ground. (the workshop is for those 13-18, but most of these are 15-17 by the looks of things)  And as a facilitator I'm not meant to be work-shopped, so it's a much more relaxing feeling for me.

That, and I don't think the head guy knew I was a new facilitator instead of a student.  I don't know if the fact I could pass for 18 is good or bad.  But if it allows me to trick or treat w/o question, I'm gonna say good!


  1. That sounds like a great project. I love that the kids are so enthusiastic. Hopefully that will stay with them.

    Remember though, people may be more experienced than you but they are not better than you :)

  2. That sounds great fun as well as worthwhile! If you can pass as 18 at 22, just imagine how excited you'll be when you pass for 46 at 50!
    Linda x

  3. Sarah - I'm well aware that I'm not the next JK Rowling. Yet. So I'll catch up soon.

    Linda - Oo, that's a future I want!