National Writing Project

Resource Topics

Being a Writer

Additional Resources

Being a Writer: Curriculum to Build a Community of Writers

October 2015
Being a Writer is a flexible writing curriculum for grades K–6 based on the writers workshop model. The curriculum is also based on NWP's widely shared principles of literacy and language learning. Originally developed by the Development Studies Center (DSC), Being A Writer is now part of the Center for the Collaborative Classroom (CCC) since DSC's merger with Cornerstone Literacy, Inc. NWP is now partnering with CCC to build and enhance a community of writers. More ›

Alan Brody: Why I Write

February 2014
Alan Brody is a playwright, Professor of Theater at MIT, and member of the NWP Writers Council. More ›

Charles Yu: Why I Write

December 2012
Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe and member of the National Writing Project's Writers Council, illustrates the motive behind his writing. More ›

Finding the Unattainable Words

Capital District Writing Project, July 2012
After participating in the 2012 Summer Institute at the Capital District Writing Project (New York), teacher-consultant Nancy Gort discusses her success in overcoming the difficulty of writer's block by forcing herself to write every day, "finding the unattainable words." More ›

Book Review: Writing on the Bus: Using Athletic Team Notebooks and Journals to Advance Learning and Performance in Sports

March 2012
Emilie Brand Manhart
Richard Kent's how-to book provides background, research, anecdotes, inspiration, and a hands-on guide for coaches to implement journals as learning tools for athletes. More ›

Why I Write: Because There Is Power in Storytelling

EduTopia, November 2011
Heather Wolpert-Gawron, teacher-consultant at the UC Irvine Writing Project, shares how writing has become a timeline reflecting the chapters of her life. More ›

Why I Write: Gaetan Pappalardo Writes for the Sake of Writing

EduTopia, November 2011
Gaetan Pappalardo, a teacher-consultant at the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project, shares why he is compelled to write despite its difficulties. More ›

Author's Corner: Gaetan Pappalardo and Louie Licks and the Wicked Snakes: Battleaxe

November 2011
Third grade teacher Gaetan Pappalardo uses music, songs, and sounds in his story to enhance the experience for reluctant readers. He explains how his participation with the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project has inspired his writing abilities. More ›

Why I Write: Elizabeth Murchison Stresses the Importance of Writing for Scientists

November 2011
Elizabeth Murchison is a scientist who works on the genetics of cancer in Tasmanian devils. She stresses the importance of writing even for scientists in order to get research done and disseminate results to the scientific community. More ›

NWP Teachers Bring #whyiwrite into Classrooms

November 2011
Tiffany Chiao
NWP teachers and their students came together to ponder the force that drives them to pen their thoughts and create stories, essays, articles, scripts—and tweets. They joined a national conversation by tweeting their reflections to #whyiwrite. More ›

Why I Write: Portrait of a Bellicose Writer Hero

Edutopia, November 2011
Todd Finley, co-director and technology liaison for the Tar River Writing Project, shares how writing got him through a near-death experience. More ›

Why I Write: To Spark Creativity, Not Kill It

Edutopia, November 2011
Erin Klein, a teacher-consultant with the Eastern Michigan Writing Project and a second grade teacher, writes to inspire her young second grade students—but also because she's passionate about topics, like her "Why I Write" mentor, George Orwell. More ›

People Across the Nation Tweet #whyiwrite on the National Day on Writing

November 2011
To celebrate the National Day on Writing on October 20, the NWP joined The New York Times Learning Network, Figment, and Edutopia to collect essays from people of all walks of life about why writing is important to them. People also tweeted #whyiwrite—and 23,000 #whyiwrite tweets made it a trending topic nationally. More ›

Get Ready for National Novel Writing Month and Find Out How You Can Use It in Your Classroom

October 2011
In this episode of NWP Radio, hear from the staff of National Novel Writing Month, who will talk about how to write a novel "by the seat of your pants in 30 days"—this November. Also, NWP teacher-consultant Donalyn Miller will discuss how her students wrote a novel last year and how her class is gearing up for more novel writing this year. More ›

Why I Write: Becky Tuch Explores the World of Lit Mags

October 2011
Becky Tuch is creator of The Review Review, a website that reviews literary magazines, and a founding member of the literary blog Beyond the Margins. Tuch interviews journal editors and offers publishing tips to writers. She shares her thoughts on the evolving role of literary journals in the world of writing. More ›

Why I Write: Catherine Mohr on Writing to Organize Thoughts

October 2011
Dr. Catherine Mohr, the director of Medical Research at Intuitive Surgical, is an expert in the field of robotic surgery, but writing is anything but robotic for her. She shares why she writes—to organize her thoughts and ideas, to understand, and to communicate. More ›

Why I Write: Dyan deNapoli Writes for the Penguins

October 2011
Dyan deNapoli, a penguin expert and author of the award-winning book, The Great Penguin Rescue, shares her reading and writing background and how she came to write about penguins. More ›

Why I Write: Ann Powers Reflects on Writing About Rock

October 2011
Ann Powers, a music critic who has written for The New York Times, National Public Radio, the LA Times, and the Village Voice, discusses the figures who have inspired her, how being female affected her perception of music, and how writing about music should be about trying to capture how it feels to listeners. More ›

Why I Write: Gerald Richards on Storytelling and 826 National

October 2011
Gerald Richards, CEO of 826 National, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students with creative writing, discusses how writing is vital to his work and to the success of 826. More ›

Why I Write: Sharon J. Washington Expresses, Connects, and Creates

October 2011
Sharon Washington, executive director of the National Writing Project, describes her need to write. "I write because I need to express myself and to connect to others," she says. More ›

Why I Write: Ashley Hope Perez Writes with Her Students in Mind

October 2011
NWP teacher-consultant Ashley Hope Perez started writing with her students, and they challenged her to write a novel. She published that novel, and now has a second one on the way. She writes while thinking of what would make her students—especially her reluctant readers—turn the page. More ›

Why I Write: David Deutsch Writes to Clarify and Learn

October 2011
David Deutsch, an Oxford physicist and author of several novels about different theories of the universe, views writing as a creative way to clarify his thoughts, so he worries that a rigid, structured curriculum in some schools could stifle the kind of writing he values. More ›

Why I Write: Evan Grant's Words Seep into his Technology

October 2011
Evan Grant, a creative technologist, founder of seeper, and student of the sensory interactions between users and technology, describes the different ways he writes and the cathartic release he feels during the process. More ›

Why I Write: Mark Salzman Writes Because 'It Hurts So Good'

October 2011
Mark Salzman, an award-winning author of several novels and nonfictional memoirs, delves into how Hellen Keller inspired him to search for wonders in the world. That sense of discovery and inspiration guides him in his writing process—which he calls "an itch he can't ignore." More ›

Why I Write: Susan Gerhard Finds Life in Cinema

October 2011
Susan Gerhard, a San Francisco-based writer and editor, became a film critic to explore the world of ideas that films present. The best movies are those that spark arguments at dinner parties, she says. More ›

Why I Write: Tim Green Tackles Writing

October 2011
Former NFL player and bestselling author Tim Green describes how his love of football parallels his love for writing. "The thrill of creating stories that can change the quality of a person's life is as breathtaking a notion as sacking an NFL quarterback," he says. More ›

Why I Write: Anthony Atala's Words Are as Powerful as Sci-fi Gizmos

October 2011
Regenerative medicine specialist Dr. Anthony Atala's state-of-the-art lab grows human organs—from muscles to blood vessels to bladders, and more. Although he's immersed in sci-fi gizmos in his work, he says writing "is the communication vehicle that moves science forward." More ›

Why I Write: Jane Hirshfield Writes about Life's Profound Mystery

October 2011
Prize-winning international poet, translator, and essayist Jane Hirshfield's poetry speaks to the central issues of human existence: desire and loss, impermanence and beauty, and the many dimensions of our connection with others. She tells NWP why she writes. More ›

Why I Write: Leslie Goetsch Writes Because She Has To

October 2011
Maryland Writing Project teacher-consultant Leslie Goetsch discusses writing her first novel, Back Creek, and explains how writing and teaching are intertwined in her writing process. More ›

Why I Write: Arvind Gupta Plays with the Words of Science

October 2011
Arvind Gupta, an Indian toy inventor and popularizer of science for kids, is known for turning trash into seriously entertaining, well-designed toys that kids can build themselves—while learning basic principles of science and design. He brings a similar spirit of exploratory playfulness to writing about science. More ›

Why I Write: Gary Giddins Riffs on Jazz

October 2011
Gary Giddins, long-time columnist for the Village Voice and unarguably the world's preeminent jazz critic, writes about jazz to let the world know about America's "fecund and flowing" musical tradition, which is sometimes treated as though it doesn't exist—or exists only for those "in the know." More ›

Why I Write: CJ Omololu Explores the Thrill and the Terror of the Teen Years

October 2011
CJ Omololu might be called an accidental novelist, but once she found herself as a writer, she began writing with such drive that she writes 1,000 words a day, even on Thanksgiving and anniversaries. More ›

Why I Write: Freeman Dyson Puts Words to Mathematics

October 2011
When people hear the name Freeman Dyson, they tend to think of breakthroughs in quantum physics, but Dyson is a prolific writer as well. He's known for bringing conscience and compassion to his books, which interweave scientific explanation and humanism. More ›

Spotlight on Teen Ink: A Magazine Written by and for Teens

October 2011
Art Peterson
Teen Ink, called "The New Yorker for Teens," is the nation's largest publisher of teen work in print and online. Writing Project teachers and their students have been involved in Teen Ink for years. Students can submit fiction, nonfiction, poetry, book, movie and music reviews, and more. There is no charge to submit or to be published. More ›

Why I Write: Valerie Hobbs Writes with Music in Her Blood

September 2011
Valerie Hobbs, an award-winning author of young adult books and an NWP teacher-consultant, writes because she cannot not write. "It's in me and it's gotta come out," she says. More ›

Why Science Teachers Should Write

September 2011
Marsha Ratzel
Marsha Ratzel, a middle school teacher of math and science, explains why it's so important that students write as a way to learn science—and why science teachers should write as well. More ›

Why I Write: Timothy Ferris on Writing to Learn

September 2011
Timothy Ferris, who has been called "the best science writer of his generation," discusses why he writes—and the importance of writing about science. More ›

Why I Write: To Awaken the Spirit in the Downtrodden

September 2011
Nnamdi Chukwuocha, Al Mills
Twin brothers Al Mills and Nnamdi Chukwuocha use poetry and social action "to awaken the spirit of awareness buried deep within the souls of the downtrodden." Their poem, "Why I Write," aims to teach children about the importance of self-expression and how it can help them through their struggles and challenges. More ›

Why I Write: Writing about Science—A Way to Pay Attention to Nature

September 2011
Anil Ananthaswamy
Anil Ananthaswamy, author of The Edge of Physics, says that writing is important in science to make jargon come alive with stories, to capture the precision and skepticism that's intrinsic to science, and to inform the world of the scientific truths that are so critical to our lives. More ›

Author's Corner: Nevada Teacher Finds Stories in the Squares of Time

May 2011
The Southern Nevada Writing Project's Dennis Goode discusses the inspiration for his 2009 novel, Time Squares, and shares the positive effect the Writing Project has had on his life as a teacher and author. More ›

Writing Project Teachers Give Advice, Ideas on Edutopia Blog

January 2011
Paul Oh
A trio of Writing Project teachers gain wide audiences with posts to their Edutopia blogs, part of the George Lucas Educational Foundation's influential and resource-rich Edutopia website. More ›

Author's Corner: Summer Institute Story Turns into First Novel

January 2011
Maryland Writing Project teacher-consultant Leslie Goetsch discusses her first novel, Back Creek, and explains how writing and teaching are intertwined in her writing process. More ›

“Book Whisperer” Credits Writing Project For Success

December 2010
Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer, addressed the General Session of the 2010 NWP Annual Meeting with a speech titled, "From Silence to Whispering: My NWP Story," a wonderful inspiration to the hundreds of teachers in attendance. More ›

Arkansas Writing Project Teacher Puts Humor into History

Ozarks Unbound, October 2010
Mike Thomas, a co-director of the Northwest Arkansas Writing Project, is interviewed about his original play, "Digging Up Arkansas," which has received outstanding reviews from audiences. More ›

NWP Sites Gear Up for the National Day on Writing

October 2010
Art Peterson
Writing Project sites from around the country have planned a range of activities to celebrate the National Day on Writing this October 20—everything from writing six-word memoirs to family literacy nights to artistic collaborations involving words and images. More ›

NWP’s E-Anthology and the National Gallery of Writing

September 2010
Mike Rush
Writing from teachers across the nation who have participated in NWP's E-Anthology is being featured on the National Gallery of Writing as one way to celebrate the National Day on Writing, which occurs this year on October 20. More ›

NWP Sites Ready to Celebrate 2010 National Day on Writing

August 2010
In joining with NCTE and others for the National Day on Writing, NWP, along with its sites, celebrates the Writing Project's mission of promoting writing and the teaching of writing. More ›

Teacher Leaders Network Amplifies Teachers' Voices

August 2010
Art Peterson
Drawing on the expertise of some of the nation's most accomplished teachers, including some NWP teacher-consultants, the Teacher Leaders Network has elevated teachers' voices on policy issues and provided a vehicle for the sharing of best practices growing from experience. More ›

Writing Project Leader’s Blog Among “101 Best Websites for Writers”

July 2010
Art Peterson
Monda Fason, co-director of the Great Bear Writing Project, discusses the elements that have made her blog, devoted to writing prompts, a go-to site for writers and teachers of writing. More ›

NWP Radio — Reflections on the Writing Marathon

May 2010
Join us for a conversation with some of the teacher-consultants and directors who have helped shape, and now are studying, the writing marathon as an activity that helps us keep in touch with our writing selves. More ›

“I’m a Writer”: Essays on the Writing Marathon and Why We Write

May 2010
Richard Louth
In this review, Richard Louth of the Southeastern Louisiana Writing Project describes the benefit of this anthology, which not only explores the ins and outs of the writing marathon, but also how important the concept of teachers as writers is to the writing classroom. More ›

A Guide for Writing Marathon Leaders

May 2010
Richard Louth
This in-depth guide—drawn from the book "I'm a Writer": Essays on the Writing Marathon and Why We Write—covers just about everything needed to organize and run a successful writing marathon. More ›

Donald Murray Remembered

April 2010
Susan Ahearn-Pierce
This tribute to Donald Murray, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, teacher, and author of several books on the art of writing, appeared initially in Writing Works: The Newsletter for the Maryland Writing Project at Towson University. More ›

Author's Corner: Jeanette Hopkins and The LadyBug Waltz

March 2010
Jeanette Hopkins, teacher-consultant with the Iowa Writing Project, turns the discouraging diagnosis of her granddaughter's heart condition into inspiration for her book, The LadyBug Waltz. More ›

Working Together

January 2010
Cathy Cirimele
Cathy Cirimele, a teacher-consultant with the San Joaquin Valley Writing Project, narrates the fears, sorrows, joys, and benefits of participating in a summer institute writing group after 25 years as a writing teacher who had never been critiqued. More ›

South Carolina’s Upstate Writing Project Celebrates National Day on Writing

December 2009
Students, teachers, parents, and school administrators in South Carolina came together for a "writing carnival" hosted by the Upstate Writing Project in conjunction with the National Day on Writing. More ›

Book Review: Educators as Writers: Publishing for Personal and Professional Development

December 2009
Britton Gildersleeve
Edited by Carol Smallwood, this collection of short pieces from published teacher-writers offers concrete, useful strategies covering every aspect of writing for publication in a variety of genres. More ›

Author’s Corner: Frances Kennedy and The Just-Right, Perfect Present

December 2009
Teacher-consultant Frances Kennedy keeps family memories alive through her writing and poetry. Inspired by a trusted group of writers, Kennedy discusses the process behind her second children's book. More ›

Billy Collins: A ‘Reader’s Poet’ Reads at NWP’s 2009 Annual Meeting

November 2009
Two-time Poet Laureate Billy Collins shared his poetry, insights into writing, and many, many humorous asides at the 2009 NWP Annual Meeting's General Session. More ›

Family Matters: A Mother and Daughter’s Literacy Journey

November 2009
Amy Clark
Born into a family that thrived on literacy, Amy Clark, director of the Appalachian Writing Project, recounts the challenges of assuming the role of writing mentor to a person she could not have imagined—her mother. More ›

People Across the Nation Celebrate National Day Writing

October 2009
Writers from all walks of life are celebrating the National Day on Writing to show the significance of writing in the nation's everyday life and draw attention to the remarkable variety of writing we engage in. More ›

National Gallery of Writing Launched to Celebrate First National Day on Writing

October 2009
As part of the National Day of Writing, the National Council of Teachers of English along with 19 national partners opened the National Gallery of Writing. The Gallery features galleries by the NWP, local writing project sites, teachers, and community partners. More ›

NWP Teachers Plan Activities to Celebrate National Day on Writing

September 2009
Gavin Tachibana
Writing project sites across the nation are gearing up for the National Day on Writing on October 20, 2009. Teachers have planned writing marathons, family writing nights, author readings, student readings, and more. More ›

DC Area Teacher-Consultant Blogs for Family Literacy

September 2009
Art Peterson
A Washington, DC area teacher-consultant establishes a newspaper-supported blog that promotes both family literacy and the writing project. More ›

Author’s Corner: Elizabeth Leiknes and The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns

July 2009
Teacher and novelist Elizabeth Leiknes discusses how jotting ideas on napkins, having a baby, and writing in small chunks of time all led her to write her first novel—a Faustian tale with "a healthy dose of Midwestern guilt." More ›

How Local Sites Can Participate in the National Day on Writing

July 2009
As part of the celebration of the National Day on Writing, local writing project sites can create their own galleries featuring the writing of teachers, students, and community members, to be included as part of the National Gallery of Writing. More ›

Poet Laureate Kay Ryan: Poet as Teacher, Teacher as Poet

June 2009
Grant Faulkner
U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan has honed the art of simplicity in both her teaching and her writing. Her writing instruction focused on "the miniature arena of the paragraph," and her poems, which often use cliché in striking, unexpected ways, are both pithy and nuanced. More ›

Fiction and Poetry Publishing Resources

March 2009
This list of publishing resources will help teachers who want to publish their poems, stories, essays, or reviews. More ›

Book Review: Teachers’ Writing Groups: Collaborative Inquiry and Reflection for Professional Growth

March 2009
Caroline Griswold
Caroline Griswold reviews Teachers’ Writing Groups: Collaborative Inquiry and Reflection for Professional Growth, finding that it is, like the best writing project work, both practical and personal, and is full of useful ideas for teachers interested in exploring writing groups. More ›

Smithsonian Project Explores How Images Change Everything

May 2008
The Smithsonian Photography Initiative (SPI) invites participation in a new project: click! photography changes everything. NWP teacher-consultants are the first to be invited to contribute their reflections on the impact of photography and the photographic image in their lives. More ›

Teachers Writing for Publication: Tips from a Teacher, Author, and Editor

April 2008
Louann Reid
The former editor of NCTE's English Journal provides tips for writing professional articles, a list of appropriate journals accepting professional writing, examples of "calls for manuscripts," and an inside look at the manuscript review process. More ›

The National Conversation on Writing Asks, “Who Is a Writer?”

April 2008
What do people write and read every day? What makes people feel they are writers (or not)? Through online video, audio, and print texts The National Conversation on Writing hopes to encourage a discussion on these questions. More ›

Stories from New Orleans Writing Marathon Hit the Airwaves

April 2008
Teacher-consultants from the Southeastern Louisiana Writing Project and other local sites that participated in the 2007 New Orleans Writing Marathon broadcast their writing on the radio. The marathon was a continuity opportunity, and also an occasion to revel in writing. More ›

How to Start a Novel? Write the Whole Thing in a Month

August 2008
Grant Faulkner
Lynn Jacobs, a teacher–consultant with the Northern California Writing Project, leapt into National Novel Writing Month in 2007 to fulfill her lifelong dream of writing a novel. The experience informed not only her writing process, but her teaching as well. More ›

Eduholic: Blogging Teacher-Consultant Gets National Attention

January 2008
Paul Oh
Emmet Rosenfeld, a teacher-consultant for the Northern Virginia Writing Project, writes a blog for Teacher Magazine that reaches a responsive audience of teachers around the country. More ›

Growing Reflective Practitioners

January 2008
Grace Hall McEntee
McEntee documents how she and former Boston Writing Project director Joe Check worked with teachers as they "found their way from writing to reflective practice." More ›

Teacher Turned Author Heartily Endorses NWP

July 2008
Gavin Tachibana
After a 31-year teaching career, Coleen Armstrong, writing project teacher-consultant and award-winning author of The Truth About Teaching, relishes her role as a mentor of teachers. At the head of her recommendation list for professional development is the National Writing Project. More ›

What to Do After Your Summer Vacation: Guides to Starting Your Own Writing Group

October 2008
Ann Dobie
Ann Dobie reviews five books that help aspiring writers form and maintain writing groups that fill the gap left when summer institute is over. More ›

Seeing Academic Writing with a New “I”

January 2007
Rebecca Feldbusch
Students need to make personal connections when they write, maintains Feldbusch. Insisting that they leave themselves out of their writing gives students the message that their own perceptions are not of worth. More ›

One Idea—Many Audiences

May 2007
Ann Dobie
Dobie describes how she transformed a graduate research paper on teaching spelling into an academic conference presentation, a professional development workshop, a journal article, and then a book. More ›

The Writer Within

Teaching Pre K-8, November 2007
Lynn Mondello Caggiago
New Jersey teacher-consultant Lynn Caggiago describes a process that moves reluctant writers—from drawings that describe recent events in their lives, to written descriptions of these drawings, and finally to descriptions of each other's drawings. More ›

A Writing Teacher Writes—Big Time

The Voice, 2006
Valerie Hobbs, well-known author of teen fiction—and one adult novel—had her start in a summer institute 25 years ago and went on to succeed as a writer while continuing to deepen her practice as a teacher. More ›

Lorenzo and a Christmas Door to Remember

The Quarterly, 2005
Melba Salazar-Lucio
A Christmas door–decorating contest inspires a class of at-risk high school students to drop their apathy, and a Christmas card from the teacher touches one student more deeply than she could have imagined. More ›

On the Subject of Grafting

The Voice, 2005
Jan Isenhour
As a ninth grade biology student, Jan Isenhour learns what happens when a teacher makes sure a school assignment resonates with a student. More ›

Get Thee to a Writers Colony

The Voice, 2004
Edward Gauthier
Edward Gauthier discusses the benefits of writers colonies. He shares his journey from wondering how to apply, researching the many alternatives available, getting accepted, and attending. He advocates that for a serious writer, there's nothing better than a writers colony. More ›

I Teach, (I Feel), I Write: The Effects of Emotion on Writing About Schooling

The Quarterly, 2004
Joe Check
Teachers who try to write about their practices often fail, says Joseph Check, when they start with the assumption that professional writing has no place for emotion and personality. Check describes three typical situations that arise from the struggle between feelings and professionalism: when strong emotions interfere with balance and clarity; when writers leave their personal experience out of their writing; and when unresolved feelings cause a writer to lose sight of audience and purpose. Check offers techniques for addressing these dilemmas and for integrating emotion into professional writing. More ›

Leap of Faith

The Voice, 2004
Kristen Hawley Turner
Turner describes how her mother, a veteran English teacher, mentored her in the seemingly impossible task of mastering writing. Now an English teacher herself, Turner mentors students to help them achieve their own writing success. More ›

On the Experience of Writing Action Strategies

The Quarterly, 2004
Jeffrey D. Wilhelm
Jeffrey Wilhelm shares a few words about the process of writing and publishing Action Strategies. More ›

On the Experience of Writing Felt Sense: Writing with the Body

The Quarterly, 2004
Sondra Perl
Sondra Perl recounts the experience of creating the CD for her book, Felt Sense: Writing with the Body. More ›

On the Experience of Writing In the First Few Years

The Quarterly, 2004
Tina Humphrey
Tina Humphrey shares a few words about the process of writing and publishing In the First Few Years: Reflections of a Beginning Teacher. More ›

On the Experience of Writing Literacies, Lies and Silences

The Quarterly, 2004
Heather E. Bruce
Heather Bruce describes her experience writing and publishing her book. More ›

On the Experience of Writing Politics, Language, and Culture: Critical Look at School Reform

The Quarterly, 2004
Joe Check
Joseph Check describes how, by suspending his daily judgment about the quality of what he wrote, he freed himself to simply produce. More ›

On the Experience of Writing The Muses Among Us

The Quarterly, 2004
Kim Stafford
Kim Stafford shares some thoughts on the process of writing and publishing The Muses Among Us. More ›

On the Experience of Writing: The Title Fight

The Quarterly, 2004
Michael W. Smith, Jeffrey D. Wilhelm
Michael Smith and Jeff Wilhelm share a few words about the experience of writing and publishing "Reading Don't Fix No Chevys": Literacy in the Lives of Young Men. More ›

Once, I Almost Died in a Canoe: Knocking out the Story

The Quarterly, 2004
Tom Meyer
In this personal reflection, Tom Meyer describes his anguish as a tenth grade student struggling to write essays—only to have his teacher tell him, "You are one of my worst five students." Meyer tells how the teacher worked with him before school for months to help him silence the inner voice that said "I can't write." As he reread and revised the story of when he almost lost his life, Meyer found his real voice—one that could capture words and speak to an audience. A voice that said "I can write." More ›

Radical Revision: My Road from Fairy Tale to Catharsis

The Quarterly, 2004
Juanita Willingham
Radical revision is a strategy for taking one's writing apart and reassembling it. Willingham describes how a radical revision led her to the scary and ultimately healthy introspection that she had avoided for a lifetime. More ›

Writing a Bicycle

The Quarterly, 2004
Kathleen O'Shaughnessy
O'Shaughnessy, a teacher of teachers, offers tips and exercises for other leaders of workshops so that the process of sharing classroom expertise can become easier for all. More ›

Writing Myself Awake

The Quarterly, 2004
David Grosskopf
How does one convince a sixteen-year-old that writing matters? She'll need writing to to succeed in college and get the job she wants. These reasons provide a rationale that David Grosskopf believes sidesteps the main point: one needs to write in order to live life well. By taking students on his personal writer’s journey, he convinces his students that the beginning and end of writing extends beyond creating an error-free employment resume. More ›

On the Experience of Writing The Literature Workshop

The Quarterly, 2003
Sheridan Blau
In conjunction with a review of his recent book, Sheridan Blau offers a few words about the process of writing and publishing The Literature Workshop: Teaching Texts and Their Readers. More ›

Our Writing Lives: A Book Fanatic - That's Me

The Voice, 2003
Eva Guilliot
Eva Guilliot offers a little test to determine if you are a book fanatic... More ›

Rejection Letter

The Voice, Fall 2003
Bill Connolly
A poem from Bill Connolly of the National Writing Project at Rowan University. More ›

When Sparrows Speak

The Voice, Fall 2003
Philip Ireland
A companion piece to "Speaking of Feathers," this piece by a participant in the NWP Writing Retreat reveals how a feather became a metaphor not only for his growth as a writer but for others at the Santa Fe retreat as well. More ›

NWP Annual Meeting Celebrates Teacher-Writers

The Voice, January-February 2003
Art Peterson
More than 800 site leaders and teacher-consultants gathered for the Annual Meeting in Atlanta. The centerpiece of the general session was a presentation by writing project teachers who write... More ›

NWP E-Anthology: "Strangers" Talk About Writing

The Voice, March-April 2003
Beverly Simon Guillory, Peter Booth
NWP's annual E-Anthology connects summer institute participants across the country. Booth shares the benefits of responding to writing submitted online, and Guillory recounts how valuable it was to receive feedback from "strangers." More ›

The Reflections of a Nonwriter

The Voice, March-April 2003
Cheryl Sawyer
During the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, teacher and self-admitted nonwriter Cheryl Sawyer poured out her feelings in a poem and emailed it to her mother. The unlikely story of the poem's subsequent journey to more than 800 websites and the private memorial service of the U.S. Senate is a reflection on the power of the written word. More ›

The Fellow Who Collected Rejections

The Voice, May-June 2003
Barbara Giles
Four years ago, the Inland Area Writing Project in California began requiring a piece of professional writing from all summer institute participants. Barbara Giles describes the program and how it has led to a total of 35 pieces being published. More ›

When Writing Gets Real (by the “Fellow Who Collected Rejections”)

The Voice, May-June 2003
Richard Hartwell
When Hartwell's students complained about the California testing cycle, he asked them to direct their complaints to the California Department of Education (CDE) in the form of business letters. More ›

Reflections on an Online Teachers Writing Group

The Quarterly, Winter 2003
Anne Elrod Whitney
A teacher describes the parallels and differences between her own experience in an online writing group and the experience she gives her student writing groups in her classroom. More ›

Who, What, When, and Where of Writing Rituals

The Quarterly, Fall 2002
Kathleen O'Shaughnessy, Connie McDonald, Harriet Maher, Ann Dobie
The writers identify such categories as environment, time, and behavior as variables in writing rituals and touch on the importance of ritual in reducing anxiety, increasing fluency, and increasing power and control. More ›

Our Writing Lives: The Diving Horse

The Voice, January-February 2002
John B. Abbott, Jr.
A childhood trip to Atlantic City became the inspiration for an ubiquitous what-I-did-on-my-summer-vacation essay, and managed to inspire a love of writing that still exists forty years later. More ›

Running the Baltimore Writing Marathon

The Voice, January-February 2002
An intrepid band of writers hit the streets of Baltimore the day after the NWP Annual Meeting. This special online collection contains the thoughtful and impressionistic pieces written that day. More ›

Teacher Stories: School Reform's Missing Link

The Voice, May-June 2002
Art Peterson
Joe Check debunks five myths about school reform and argues that teachers writing about their practice is critical to making school change work. More ›

The Parable of the Bridge

The Voice, November-December 2002
Beth Hammett
A personal experience helps a teacher understand her role in validating her students' writing efforts by using praise and inspiration. More ›

I Write Because Writing Has Saved Me

The Voice, September-October 2002
Mindy Hardwick
Mindy Hardwick reflects on what makes a writer a writer, and, with journal entries, shows how writing has been integral during turning points in her life. More ›

The Emerging NWP Writing Retreat Model

The Voice, September-October 2002
Art Peterson
The annual NWP Writing Retreat, which gives teachers time to reflect on their teaching and write about their practice, has become a model for local sites and networks to develop their own retreats. More ›

The Diversity of Writing

The Quarterly, Spring 2002
Charles Bazerman
Bazerman writes of the various things writers do with words, describing a trajectory as writers enters a complex and deepening engagement with a "symbolic environment" that coincides with the culture's social, economic, and civic possibilities. More ›

Reflection and Reform

The Quarterly, Summer 2002
Joe Check
Check argues for reflective teaching in the face of mandated, external "exemplary programs." He identifies five "myths" or beliefs about reflective writing and suggests ways to address the negative attitudes engendered by them. More ›

The New Orleans Writing Marathon

The Quarterly, Winter 2002
Richard Louth
Louisiana site director Richard Louth describes the magic, and anxiety, of leading a writing marathon. While revealing that "things do go wrong," he admits surprising success and offers tips for conducting a marathon, writing prompts, and excerpts of participants' writing. More ›

My Mom, A Croc, and Mr. Gourley: The Making of An English Teacher

The Voice, January-February 2001
Sheelagh Straub
Sheelagh Straub reminisces about reading and developing a rich vocabulary in her youth and remembers a teacher who taught her to dig a little deeper in her writing. More ›

Writing Within a Community

The Voice, January-February 2001
Kim Bridgford
Kim Bridgford describes how the act of sharing writing—with just one person or a group—gives writers necessary feedback and provides them with a sense of the larger community. More ›

Enter: The Madwoman

The Voice, March-April 2001
Joan Melberger
Virginia teacher Joan Melberger shares the results of a freewriting exercise and takes the reader through four metaphorical phases of the writing process—from madwoman to architect to carpenter to judge More ›

Our Writing Lives: How I Evolved as a Writer

The Voice, March-April 2001
Richard Hartwell
A literacy autobiography from Richard Hartwell recounts how the initial disappointment of an ill-received short-story lead to the discovery of reading, and ultimately the the discovery of his own voice. More ›

New Jacket

The Voice, May-June 2001
Kathleen Ann Gonzalez
When asked to try on the role of summer institute co- director, author and teacher-consultant Kathleen Ann Gonzales finds the opportunity both a great fit and a chance for self-reflection. More ›

Our Writing Lives: Steeltown Sister

The Voice, May-June 2001
Walt Peterson
Sister Eugene, a tough-as-nails big-hearted nun in Pittsburgh's St. Michael's High School, shows one future writing project teacher that inspiration comes in many forms . . . and is found where it is needed. More ›

Our Writing Lives: Cat Poems and Other Junior High Worries

The Voice, November-December 2001
Marcie Flinchum Atkins
A teacher remembers the anxiety she felt in junior high when she had to write a poem and read it aloud in class, and shares how her insights from that day help her teach her third grade class. More ›

Accidental Poetry: A Literacy Autobiography

The Quarterly, Fall 2000
Carol Case
More ›

When a Student Hands Me a Line Like This

The Quarterly, Fall 2000
Georgia Tiffany
Tiffany describes how she fashions an end-of-the-semester poem from lines drawn from her students' work. More ›

Our Writing Lives: Ink Stains

The Voice, September-October 2000
C. J. Gilbert
C. J. Gilbert, from the Third Coast Writing Project, remembers the elation of winning a writing prize in the sixth grade. More ›

Encountering Natalie: Five Days with a Writing Guru

The Voice, Spring 1999
Fran Simone
More ›

Diving with Whales: Five Reasons for Practitioners to Write for Publication

The Quarterly, Fall 1998
Grace Hall McEntee
More ›

Scribe to the Prophet

The Quarterly, Spring 1998
Kim Stafford
As a writer, says Stafford, "it is not my work so much to invent as to record the stories of the world," making use of "the voice of anyone I overhear" and being the witness of "anything I see." More ›

Happy Problems

The Quarterly, Summer 1998
Kim Stafford
More ›

Viewpoint: Practicing What We Preach (or the Teacher as Supermodel!)

The Quarterly, Summer 1998
Don Humbertson
More ›

Beyond Blank Books and Laptops

The Quarterly, Winter 1998
Julia Tucker-Lloyd
More ›

The Temptations of Tobacco and Other Stories: Reaching Students Through Modeling

The Quarterly, Fall 1995
Rosemary Perry
More ›

Different Strokes: Composing in a Writing Group

The Quarterly, Spring 1995
Robert Burroughs
College teacher Robert Burroughs reflects on his experience with a writing group at a Writing Project Summer Institute. He reconstructs the process that he and the other members of his group went through in revising and editing his poem for the South Coast Writing Project's summer anthology, with reference to the literature on writing groups. He goes on to explore the difference between adult and student writing groups. More ›

Wrestling with an Alien Craft

The Quarterly, Spring 1995
Fran Simone
Fran Simon shares her struggles to get herself to write every day and suggests ways to motivate and encourage oneself to write. She finds that the best way to overcome her difficulty in sticking to a schedule and actually getting started is to simply sit down and write, which leads to more motivation to continue. More ›

Revisited article: Joining the Debate: Shouldn't Writing Teachers Write?

The Quarterly, Winter 1995
Tim Gillespie
In this 1991 article, Tim Gillespie responds to Karen Jost's English Journal article "Why High School English Teachers Should Not Write." Through the lens of Jost's complaints, he examines the National Writing Project's notion that writing teachers should write, offering cogent and compelling reasons for teachers to write. More ›

Above All, There is Voice

The Quarterly, Spring 1993
Debra Josephson Abrams
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Journal, What Journal?

The Quarterly, Spring 1993
Sandra Crepps
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Writers: They Who Know the Magic

The Quarterly, Spring 1993
Suzanne Harrington
More ›

In the Fall I'll Return a Poet

The Quarterly, Winter 1993
Pat Carney-Dalton
More ›

OP 13. Must Teachers Also Be Writers?

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Occasional Paper, 1989
Vivian Gussin Paley
Paley provides examples of her classroom experiences with kindergartners, showing how keeping a daily journal helps her to understand her students, their learning, and her own teaching. More ›

The Trying

The Quarterly, October 1987
John Menagham
More ›

Becoming Your Own Expert—Teachers as Writers

The Quarterly, November 1985
Tim Gillespie
In this 1985 piece, Tim Gillespie argues that teachers need to write so that their teaching of writing can be "based on knowledge we have earned ourselves. . . . We don't need to give up our curriculum to experts. We can just watch ourselves write." More ›

Writing Daily, Writing in Tune

The Quarterly, November 1985
Kim Stafford
More ›

Teachers as Writers

The Quarterly, February 1980
Anne Ruggles Gere
More ›

Why I Write: A Celebration of the National Day on Writing

October 2011
The urge to write can be a mysterious calling. There are so many different ways to understand not only the why of writing, but what one gets out of it. To celebrate the National Day on Writing, the NWP has joined The New York Times Learning Network and Figment to collect the thoughts of people from all walks of life—scientists, reporters, poets, teachers, and students—to discover why they write. More ›

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