Explorations in Storytelling

On Writing

Writing about writing


UPDATE: In 2016, a bunch of us on twitter, organized a digital writing month exercise where hundreds of people wrote all over the world and posted links with the hashtag #digiwrimo16.

Nov. 1, 2016 begins an international Digital Writing Month, #digiwrimo16. The past organizers of this event hadn't articulated plans for this year, so we at Young Writers Project decided to grab the moment and present an idea (see below), it was received with resounding enthusiasm. Yay!

The idea:

A worldwide effort to digitally write about -- meaning express yourself in words, sound, music, images, video -- in digital communities on 4, count 'em, four weekly topics. Non-fiction, essays, series of images, sound story, fiction, rant, poem, whatever goes. BUT you must also COMMENT on someone else's post and share a link to your post on social media with the hasthtag, #digiwrimo16, AND you must recruit someone -- youth or adult -- from far away to participate. Bring that California friend, that New Orleans acquaintance, that youth in Africa onto this site or encourage an adult cousin or uncle or aunt or teacher or professor post to their own blog or within their own digital communities on these topics and share out so they, too, gain additional audience.
The aim: To learn from each others' different perspectives.

Some guidelines:

  • We define digital writing as writing as any writing done in digital spaces -- often with digital media -- that is open to comments, interconnected by social media and can be read by different external audiences. So anything you post here, with the hashtag #digiwrimo16, qualifies.

  • There will be a different theme each week, but you can go back to previous themes.

  • You do NOT have to post every day (unlike Nanowrimo), and you should NOT worry about posting "finished" pieces. Go with your best ideas; write quickly; use digital media. Feel no guilt. Just express.

  • Please post a link to your own piece (or someone else's) on Twitter, Google Plus, FB, Instagram, Snapchat or whatever social media strikes your fancy. NOTE: A lot of the participants are on twitter, so if you have an account there...Again, use the #digiwrimo16 hashtag.

  • Invite friends, classmates, teachers, schools, long-lost relatives. Let's see if we can get a lot of content posted here and around the world.

  • IF YOU ARE A YOUTH FEEL FREE TO JOIN youngwritersproject.org. Keep in mind that when you sign up for an account there, YWP manually checks and approves each application, so it will take a few hours to activate. Be patient.

    • If you are a college student or teacher or otherwise adult-like being, and you want to participate on youngwritersproject.org, we would welcome you IF you were willing to mentor some of the other community members, so be prepared to comment. AND email me after you've signed up for an account, so I know who you are: ggevalt@youngwritersproject.org

  • IN DECMEBER, YWP will curate the most interesting (youth) pieces of work and create a special digital magazine celebrating people's work.

The Details:

We will posting these challenges on the front of this site each week. Understand that these are pretty broad ideas with suggested questions or angles; but they are just suggestions -- take the ideas where you'd like. BUT, try to reveal something about yourself AND the world around you.

  • MY HOME: Tell stories of where you live. Suggestions: What does your home look like? What is around it? What are the issues? What do people do? What are the problems in terms of cost, accessibility, inclusiveness? What's the big issue in your community?

  • MY ART: All you hear about these days is STEM STEM STEM education. But let's talk about art. Let's talk about music, visual art, photography, writing, murals, installations, dreams, plays, movies, galleries, whatever -- anything related to creativity. What do you most like to do? What's the most creative thing you've done, made, written, taught? (RE-post something you think shows your artistic, expressive side.) If you had more time, what would you be doing? What music do you like? Movies? Why? Where do you watch movies? When? Create your own questions. Revisit something you did 4 years ago and do it again, but differently.

  • MY DIFFERENCES: Something we don't talk about. Really. Oh, we talk alright but we don't always necessarily listen. Talk about your race. What advantages does your race give you? What disadvantages? Tell a story about someone you know who is different. Tell a story about how you think differently about race than your friends. Or maybe you think the same. What can you do to increase your knoweldge of someone who is different either by race or economics or geography or opportunity? What about your gender identity? Tell us about your own isolation. Or the group in which you feel most part of.

  • MY HOPES: It is 2041. You are alive. The world has changed. What does it look like? Create a few characters and a story around the world in 2041. Do it as a reasoned essay, a poem, digital art, fiction. Imagine the best. If you can't do that, go the otherway -- paint us a darker story.

Have fun.