Monday, November 28, 2011

10th Annual Holiday Book Drive to benefit underprivileged children!

Last year Write On! For Literacy collected nearly 1,000 books (bringing our grand total to more than 12,000 books!) that were distributed to various schools and charities including the Boys & Girls Club, Casa Pacifica, and Project Understanding. Please do your part to help children have a better holiday season. Help beat illiteracy and give the gift that lasts forever: the gift of reading!

About Write On!

"Write On! For Literacy" is a volunteer-run organization founded by author Dallas Woodburn in 2001. The goal is to encourage kids to discover confidence, happiness, a means of self-expression, and connection to others through reading and writing. The Write On! website features writing contests, book reviews, author interviews, writing tips and ideas, and more.

Want to get involved?
  • You can mail book donations to the Write On! chapter headquarters: 400 Roosevelt Court, Ventura, CA, 93003
  • You can also mail monetary donations that will be used to purchase books to the above address. (Checks made out to Dallas Woodburn.)
  • You can start a chapter in your area! Donate books to a local charity -- Boys & Girls Clubs are usually very grateful for donations -- and then e-mail Dallas the total number of books donated which will then be added to our grand-total.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Use Competition to Boost Your Writing

This Saturday is the big rivalry football game for my alma mater, USC, versus UCLA. Amidst the playful trash-talking and revelrous build-up to the big game, I have been thinking about how rivalry and competition are a part of our lives in many ways, not just in the realm of sports.

In writing, for example, contests are forms of competition. Perhaps there is a "big game" of a contest that you enter every year, hoping to win the big prize. Or perhaps there is a writer you admire and consider a rival of sorts. While the green-eyed monster of jealousy is never something to court-- it can be paralyzing to your creativity and toxic to your happiness-- there are ways to use rivalry and competition as good motivators to get your writing in gear and your butt in the writing chair. Here are some ideas:
  • Pair up with a writing friend and use each other to make headway on your goals. Perhaps you want to finally hammer out an outline for your novel, or send out more queries, or simply get more words on the page. Pick a goal and turn it into a competition with your friend. Whoever writes more words, sends out more queries, etc., is the winner for the week; the loser buys the winner lunch or coffee at your next get-together.  
  • What writers do you admire? Search out their work. Read it; study it; learn from it. What do they do to create such compelling characters? How do they build such intricate and gripping plots? How does their writing build from words to sentences to paragraphs on the line level? 
  • Even better, look up the websites of writers you admire and find their contact information. Send them a direct email or an old-fashioned letter in care of their publisher. Tell them what you admire about their work. Strike up a conversation and build a relationship. Get involved in the writing community!
  • Annual competitions are great ways to mark your own progress. Perhaps you enter the same big-prize writing competition every year and have not won (yet!) ... You don't need to depend on a panel of judges to get something out of the contest. Use it as a catalyst to reflect on your writing and how your work has grown and changed in the last year. Are you pushing yourself? Are you putting in the time you want to be putting in? What goals can you set for yourself to focus on until the next contest comes around?
Rivalry week is always fun, and you can use competition as a positive source of motivation in your writing life. But when it comes down to it, remember that the only person you should really be in competition with is yourself!

Happy writing -- and, this Saturday, FIGHT ON TROJANS! Beat the Bruins! :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Winter Writing Camp -- You Are Invited!

Due to some very sweet emails from parents and young writers, I am excited to share with you that I will be holding a special one-day Winter Writing Camp when I am home for winter break this year!
  • Who: Young writers ages 7-18.
  • When: Saturday, December 17 from 10am to noon 
  • Where: Jensen Design & Survey at 1672 Donlon Street in Ventura, California.
In the spirit of the season, the Special Holiday Rate for this session is $20, half the price of a day of writing camp during the summer. You can sign up on my website: or you can email me at and I will send you a PDF of the registration form.

Hope to see you then! Happy holidays!