Tag Archives: Writing

…most professional writers suffer from impostor syndrome…

impostor syndromeA person with impostor syndrome would be writing this blog post the night before it was due.  Oh wait, that’s me.  You may be thinking, what is impostor syndrome?  Well allow me to shed some light on the subject. It is defined as “…a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true.  It is experienced internally as chronic self-doubt, and feelings of intellectual fraudulence” (The Impostor Syndrome).  When you read that definition you may realize that you knew what it was all along, you didn’t have a name for it.

For me, the tendency seems to be that I will do everything possible to avoid having to sit down and actually tackle a writing assignment.  Not because of laziness, but because of fear.  The unending fear that my work will never be good enough.  Which along with my intense perfectionism and self-doubt impair me from being able to simply sit down and write.  But eventually, it becomes midnight and I have to face the fact that it is time to write, because if I don’t I will have nothing to turn in.  As feelings of uncertainty fill my body, I nervously start to type out an opening sentence.  Then I usually erase what I have written a few dozen times before I find something that I can live with.  Once I get into the groove of the piece, I love writing.  But once I am out of that completely focused imagination zone, the fears and insecurities start screaming at me again.  As hard as it is for me to admit, I’m a pretty good student.  I usually get A’s in my classes and turn my work in on time.  Yet, I never feel like I am doing enough. I also feel like one day someone is going to find out that I have just been getting by on luck. Continue reading

Free money: Stim Bullitt Civic Courage Scholarship


Write about civic courage.

Win a $5,000 scholarship.

Who is your local hero?

The Seattle Public Library Foundation is pleased to announce the Stimson Bullitt Civic Courage Scholarship Competition. High school seniors and undergraduate students who live, work or attend school in Seattle are invited to participate.

The competition asks students to write an essay about an individual or group of individuals from Washington state who have demonstrated civic courage on an issue of importance to the community at great personal, political or professional risk.

Essays must be submitted online between January 1 – March 31, 2015. Winners will be announced in May 2015. Winning essays will be added to the collection in the Hugh and Jane Ferguson Seattle Room at The Seattle Public Library and will be given directly to the participant’s school on their behalf.

1st Place: $5,000 scholarship

2nd Place: Two $2,500 scholarships

Thanks to our many leading historians and authors who have agreed to act as judges and evaluate submissions, including our blue ribbon scholarship judges:

Research Assistance
Research assistance is available from librarians at The Seattle Public Library at all 27 library locations.

Other resources:
Special Collections at The Seattle Public Library

University of Washington Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project

Writing at School: Is it Really a Nuisance?

writing_a_letterI love writing.  All kinds of writing, from poetry to science fiction.  And I know there are many people out there that share this passion, but this number may be slowly decreasing.  Teachers teach it without emotion, making it seem a lot more like an annoying pest than an exciting new way to use your imagination and creativity, the bland teaching method prevents kids from trying to exercise their creativity, and makes deep thinking much harder to reach.

At high school orientations, I hear lots about choir, theater, band.  But I don’t hear a single word uttered about writing classes or clubs (with the exception of a couple of schools).  Aren’t those important?

Without writing, who would write all those really good books that you’re reading, or magazines, newspapers, and reviews? There would be no libraries, since there are no books to read. Without writing, what would be point of the alphabet?  Continue reading

“The Story in the Sound” by Maddy

orchestraThe Story in the Sound

by Maddy S., Teen Blogger from Northeast.

I have been preparing for this moment for months. Countless hours practicing; a thousand mistakes corrected; breaths and fingerings; rests and downbeats; they chisel this performance to perfection. Like a sculpture, all smooth curves and sharp angles. My foot taps the dusty floor to a rhythm only I can hear. The rest of the orchestra stands behind the curtain with me. We hold out instruments with tapping fingers, waiting for our turn to perform. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. This is agonizing.

The lights on the stage are extremely bright. They come from all direction, making odd shadows by my feet and chair legs. The sound of rustling pages, squeaking chair legs, coughing, adjusting, is everywhere. Lights shift, and now I can’t see the audience. This feels like an interrogation. Everything is silent, waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. This is agonizing.

Our conductor saunters onstage to a meager smattering of applause. It is hot in this auditorium and no one is that excited for their son or daughter’s middle school end-of-year performance. Sadly, we in the band know this. My shirt is too tight and did I mention it’s really hot and now my hair is coming loose from its ponytail and we are all just waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. This is agonizing.

The conductor turns to us, in an exaggerated way that is the cue to lift our instruments up. We do so. I imagine it looks like a wave from the audience, with a few ripples from the people who aren’t paying attention. They get elbow-nudges from stand partners. The baton hovers in the air. A few prep beats. Breathe, and—everything lifts away.

All I can hear is music. All I can feel is my instrument–we move together, weaving a story in a universal language. There is no before and there is no after. I do not have anything to think about except now and this music, this story, this sound.

I know the people around me; we have gone to the same school for a long time now. Some I have known since elementary school. We are classmates, friends, supporters, allies, confidants…but that feeling of unity is more intense now. It feels like we are hearing the music for the first time again, because it is also the last. We are hearing all the parts as one because it will never be so again. After this, we are all going to different high schools. We will lead our separate lives, play out different stories. But for now, in this moment, we are all playing the same story. We know it by heart.

And it is incredible.

Bouncing, moaning, flitting, pounding, tip-toeing, screaming, whispering…this is music. Not notes, rhythms, not even practicing. Music is how you play it. How you feel it in the soles of your feet and your neighbor’s too. Music is an emotion.

We receive a standing ovation at the end.

standing ovation




And then it’s over.

A Translated Midsummer Night’s Dream

Midsummer 1Editor’s Note: Camilla, a 19-year-old intern at 826 Seattle, has selected some excellent work that 826 students are producing this summer to share with us on Push To Talk. This is the second installment in that series.  

Camilla’s Note: Shakespeare can be really inaccessible to younger students, especially when it’s taught rigidly. This hilarious modern language “translation” of a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was performed alongside the original text, demonstrates an astute understanding of the material as well as a great deal of creative gusto.

A Translated Midsummer Night’s Dream

By Hailey (Greg), Claire (Bottom), Elsa (Titania), Yubi (Peaseblossom), and Meri (Walle)

 The translation begins on line 940 in act 3, scene 1

(Here’s the original for comparison).


BOTTOM: I see what’s going on! They’re trying to make me as foolish as them. To scare me if they could. No matter what they do, I will not move from this place. I will walk and sing to show them I’m not afraid. [Sings “Pop Goes the Weasel” but with “Donkey” instead]

TITANIA: What dude wakes me from my wonderful bed?

BOTTOM: [Sings “The Alphabet Song”]

TITANIA: I beg you, peaceful dude, keep on singing! I’m totally digging your high-pitched screeching and my eyes love you; you look very dude-like. You are such a beautiful dude, you make me shout out loud I LOVE YOU!

BOTTOM: Oh, my gosh, you actually like me? Truth, reason, and love never hang out so I guess it makes sense that you love me.

TITANIA: Your dudeness balances with your smartness.Midsummer 2

BOTTOM: That’s not true. But if I’m smart enough to find my way out of this jungle, then I’m smart enough to fall in love with you! Let’s see if I can get out of here…

TITANIA: Don’t go! Dude, stay here, you’re going to enjoy it here ’cause I’m here—duh! You don’t wanna miss this. Also if you leave you might die, and I love you. So the point is, stay. Dude, I got fairies; dude, I got jewels from underground; and dude you can EVEN sleep on flowers while the fairies sing to you! I’ll take away your human self and you will be a forever living, floaty fairy dude. Peaseblossom! Walle! Greg! Get over here!



GREG: And I…need to take a shower.

ALL: What are we gonna do?!

TITANIA: Be kind and nice to this dude. Jump in his path and boogie before his eyes. Feed him chips and fries. Say hey to this dude!



GREG: Hey. I’m Greg.

TITANIA: Come lead him to my basement and make him feel more dudely and good-looking. And tell him to shut up; I want him quiet. Continue reading

From ’round the web…YALSA wants Teen Bloggers!

YALSA HUBCHICAGO — The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), announced its Teen Read Week Teen Blogging contest in conjunction with YALSA’s blog, The Hub.

Teens aged 12 -18 can sign up now through August 1, 2014 to participate in the contest for a chance to guest blog for YALSA’s ya lit blog, The Hub.  Selected teens will blog about a wide range of topics related to YA literature while also further developing their writing and blogging skills.

Blog posts written by the teen bloggers to be featured during the week of October 12 -18 in celebration of Teen Read Week.  Selected participants will be notified in August.  More details and guidelines about the contest are on the Teen Read Week website under the Teen Corner tab.  Teen Read Week is slated for Oct. 12 -18 this year with the theme Turn Your Dreams into Reality @ your library.

Teen Read Week™ is a national adolescent literacy initiative created by YALSA.  It began in 1998 and is held annually during the third week of October.  Its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users.  Join the online discussion with the hashtag #TRW14.

The Hub launched in 2011 in order to provide a one-stop-shop for finding information about teen reads, including recommendations for great teen reads, information about YALSA lists and awards.  Librarians, library workers, YA literature enthusiasts and teens create the content.

For more than 50 years, YALSA has worked to build the capacity of libraries and librarians to engage, serve and empower teens.  For more information about YALSA visit the website, call, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or e-mail.

If you’re gonna write for them, might as well write for Push to Talk, too, right?!?  Give us your best manga (book/tv/movie/play) review, send it to us, we’d love to give you your own blog post right here!

Write Out of This World: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Short Story Contest

PrintThe folks at EMP, that gloriously science fiction building at the Seattle Center, have opened up their annual Sci-Fi and Fantasy Short Story Contest to kids and teens.

Students in 3rd–12th grades are invited to express their creativity through EMP’s fourth annual Write Out of This World: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Short Story Contest.

Submissions are judged by a panel of experts including EMP Museum curators, professional writers, and Seattle community leaders. Student winners for first, second, and third place will be awarded by grade level in the following categories: 3rd–5th, 6th–8th, and 9th–12th.

Contest winners will be invited to participate in workshops with Jack Straw Productions’ experienced team of arts professionals. Winners will receive workshops on writing, editing, and vocal coaching, and will take part in a recording session to produce an audio version of their winning entry. Winners will read excerpts from their stories in EMP’s Sky Church during an awards ceremony held in May.

January 31, 2014  EMP-exterior