Ohio’s Original Interscholastic Creative Writing Program for Middle Schools
Lindsay Puckett, Author
Power of the Pen taught me so many lessons I’ve carried with me to this day—the importance of finishing projects, working under a deadline, how to gracefully deal with feedback on my writing, and even how to handle rejection.
But mostly, Power of the Pen lit a fire under me that screamed “This! This is what you love to do! Keep doing this!”
I didn’t know how much I would come to love writing, or that I would continue past the competitions. I didn’t know that during hard times, I would learn to rely on that blissful calm that took over when keys were under my fingers and a story was pouring from my heart.
I didn’t know all those years ago when I stayed late after school one day to try out for a writing team, I would get a whole shiny new future.
Power of the Pen undoubtedly shaped my life as a writer. To start, it was one of the first experiences in my life where grown-ups actually referred to me as a writer – I’d always thought of myself as a writer, but this kind of adult validation was exhilarating.
But more importantly, Power of the Pen taught me that writing is all about practice. The more hours you put into your craft, the more you will get out of it. It also gave me the opportunity to explore lots of different styles of writing, playing with genre and perspective, and this helped open up my own writing in numerous ways. The trick of writing is simple, but deceptively hard: in order to be a writer, you have to write. It’s Power of the Pen that really drilled that lesson into my brain. So, I guess, Power of the Pen first taught me to call myself a writer, and then later, helped me to actually earn that title.
Watch Jasmine describe how Power of the Pen shaped her journey as a writer.
Sage Boggs, Writer for Television
There’s no doubt in my mind that the skills I learned while in Power of the Pen continue to help me today.
For the past two years, I've had the privilege of writing for the Tonight Show. It can be a high-stress job, especially when you're trying to reach a deadline. Writers at the show have to write a new episode of television every night, so we're constantly absorbing information and turning it into comedy. The parallels between what I do now and what I did in Power of the Pen are clear to me.
Power of the Pen forced me to take a theme, dig deep into my psyche, and produce a full-fledged story – all while respecting a deadline. It taught me to be fast but thorough, descriptive but economical, confident but flexible. And most importantly, it gave me permission to lean into my own creativity.The best advice I've ever gotten about writing is simple: “Write, write, write.” Plenty of people want to write, but very few actually take the time to put pen to paper. Power of the Pen was the first organization that gave me the courage to trust my own ideas and write, write, WRITE!
Jason Reynolds, Author
Power of the Pen was honestly unlike anything I'd ever experienced. To be in a space with hundreds of young people brimming with imagination and the desire to tell stories, was nothing short of inspiring. I've never seen something so cool!
Jack Gantos, Author
My name is Jack Gantos and I’m writing in support of the great educational effort of Power of the Pen.
Since 1976 I have been writing and publishing books
for a wide range of young readers – from picture books to young adult
novels. I have received the Newbery Award, the Newbery Honor, Printz
Honor, Sibert Honor, named a National Book Award Finalist and received a
host of educational and state awards in my field of children’s
literature and children’s education. I teach teachers in the Lucy
Calkins Reading and Writing program at Columbia University and am a
constant symposium speaker in the Simmons College Children’s Literature
Program. I speak at forty schools each year, world-wide.
This accumulated experience has allowed me to sort out the effective teaching programs from the less effective which is why I can highly recommend that the Power of the Pen is deserving of your support. They constantly provide highly motivational, and aesthetically instructional writing programming for young writers. Their instruction boosts the skills and confidence of young writers while providing a competitive format that is respectful and inclusive of all the writing students and writing instructors. As a result of their hands-on support the students are skillful, accomplished high achievers.
Students who aspire to write well also aspire to publish and build careers in the field of literature at all levels. I have often been among those students, run writing workshops and delivered keynotes on writing and publishing, and Power of the Pen attracts a wide range of the best in Ohio.
Power of the Pen deserves your highest consideration, for at the heart of their program is the instruction, training, support and lifting up of young writers who most assuredly will be part of the landscape of publishing in our country.
Chris Crutcher, Author
I’ve had the privilege of being invited to be the visiting author and keynote speaker at the Power of the Pen State Tournament at least three times, and each time I’ve been amazed at its very existence. Every state should follow suit.
At Power of the Pen, writing is celebrated in the way athletics are celebrated in every state. Each and every time I look into the rapt faces of the young writers in the audience, I find myself wishing that there had been a program like this for my middle school self. Kids and parents get to participate and cheer for amazing creativity; it’s the stuff of joy in education.Since my first experience there many years ago, I’ve promoted it at nearly every state educational conference In which I’ve participated. I’m a FAN!