by Emily Lundberg, US West Blogger for jaBlog!
Artwork by Lucy Zhang
In Portland, Oregon, young writers have the amazing opportunity of joining a writing club sponsored by Willamette Writers, one of the largest writing organizations in the United States. The club, called Young Willamette Writers, meets on the first Tuesday of the month (September to June) to hear from published authors about the craft of writing.
One of the beauties of having the club centered around appearances from published authors is it gives young writers the ability to ask questions, get to know the speakers, and learn what it takes to be a writer from people who’ve done it. Each speaker offers a fresh and unique perspective on writing and what it means to be a writer, which ensures that club meetings don’t grow old or get boring. Just the experience of hearing directly from published writers can make a world of difference for a young writer who is uncertain about where writing can take them or how they can improve their work.
In addition, every third month, instead of having a guest speaker, the club uses their meeting date to spend time getting to know one another, play fun and quirky writing games, and showcase everyone’s work. This gives young writers the chance to get to know other students who share their passion and build lasting friendships that grow beyond the monthly meetings.
Another benefit that Young Willamette Writers offers their members is a free ticket to attend one day of the Willamette Writers Conference, a huge event where tons of industry professionals including writers, editors, and agents come together in August. If you have the guts to do so, this conference is a perfect opportunity to try pitching your novel to an editor and/or agent. You never know, you might just be able to win one over to at least review your manuscript. Even if you opt not to do that, the conference offers dozens of workshops and allows you to learn industry secrets you may have never heard of.
So what does it take to join Willamette Young Writers? Nothing. There’s no cost, application, or interview. All you have to do is show up at meetings and a be a student between the 5th and 10th grades.