The Morehead Writing Project is looking for some young writers to join a virtual writing marathon linked to the National Writing Project’s #WriteOut event. Morehead WP is offering virtual writing events on Oct. 26-27 and Nov. 2-3 for young writers in grades 6-12 by invitation only.
In the before times, the Morehead Writing Project would bring 100-300 teen and tween writers to the campus of Morehead State University for their signature events: Teen Writers Day Out and Tween Writers Day Out. Writers from schools around the region would gather together for these writing marathons.
“The writing marathon is a longstanding practice of the National Writing Project,” said Morehead Writing Project Director Dr. Deanna Mascle. “The writing marathon is a very simple thing. A writing marathon brings a community of writers to write and share a journey together.”
In the spring when the pandemic forced the cancellation of so many writing marathons across the National Writing Project network, a group of sites collaborated to offer a virtual writing marathon. #WriteAcrossAmerica from June 16-Aug. 11 and included a stop in Eastern Kentucky hosted by Morehead WP.
So when Christina Cantrill of the National Writing Project sought a virtual writing marathon partner for the 2020 #WriteOut campaign she turned to Morehead WP. In response, Mascle brought together a team of site leaders led by Stacie May of Rowan County Middle School and Abigail Thomas of Montgomery County High School to create a virtual writing marathon for middle and high school writers. In addition, Dr. Alison Hruby, English Education coordinator at Morehead State University and a group of her students ( Elizabeth Ball, Katie Birdwhistell, Kristin Henderson, Karina Jordan) are supporting the event.
“There is something magical about a writing marathon,” Mascle said. “We experience it when we write together and when we write with our students. I doesn’t matter if we are only a dozen writers or hundreds. The magic comes from the shared journey.”
Mascle said that Morehead WP teachers and their students had missed out on so many events and opportunities over the last year that site leaders were excited to be able to offer this opportunity. Write Out Kentucky is a virtual writing marathon that spans three weeks with three school districts serving as hosts: Week 1 (Oct. 19 and 20) was hosted by Rowan County and Week 2 (Oct. 26 and 27) will be hosted by Montgomery County and Week 3 (Nov. 2 and 3) will be hosted by Fleming County.
Following in the map set by the #WriteAcrossAmerican virtual writing marathon, sessions are one hour and begin by establishing the expectations: Be present, Write true, and Connect with kindness, and then sharing the prompt created by the host. Writers begin first with the simple invitation: My name is ___ and I am a writer from ___ and then write wherever the muse takes them whether that journey is inspired by the writing prompt, their mood, or the events of the day. During Week 1, Rowan County hosted four sessions over two days (one for middle school writers, two for high school writers, and one hybrid session). All the writers invited to a session began together for the opening activities and were then sent into smaller breakout room led by MSU students to write and share together in a more intimate setting. Watch this quick video to capture a sense of Week 1.
If there are Morehead WP teachers with interested teen and tween writers please contact Mascle, May, or Thomas for access to the invitation for Week 2 and Week 3 events. Mascle also encourages teachers, schools, and districts to arrange their own virtual writing marathons. “There are so many great prompts that exist for you to use or your students can create the prompt for their own writing marathon.”
Some writing marathon resources include:
- Rowan County prompt
- Montgomery County prompt
- Eastern Kentucky prompt
- #WriteAcrossAmerica Bingo
- #WriteOut 2020
- Writing marathon planning resources including: Writing Marathon Planning Resource, Writing Marathon Infographic, and NWP Radio show “Creating Writing Marathons” featuring Mascle, May, and Thomas and hosted by Cantrill.
Morehead WP participated in #WriteOut 2019 with events for both adult and teen writers.