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Writing Workshop Advice

Mingle with the "In Crowd"

Things I learned from attending a writing conference...

by Pattie Crider, StageofLife.com writing intern

Attending a writing workshop or writing conference is an excellent opportunity to meet people in the writing industry.  Here are just a few things I learned the day I attended Gettysburg College Writing conference.

StageofLife.com Writing Contest for TeensIt's who you know.  The professionals on the writer’s panel all stressed how important having contacts has been in their careers. The consensus was attending conferences, meeting guest speakers and remaining in touch with college professors is what made a difference in their own success.  I took my business cards with me and handed them out to everyone I met, also asking for their card.  Later on the back of their card I made notes from our conversation.

Shoot for the moon.  No matter your career goal, don't be afraid to take chances.  Send out your resume, submit your work or even apply in person.  The worst thing that can happen, you don't get the job or you receive a "thanks, but no" letter.  One panelist suggested "wallpapering your bedroom with rejection letters" as a way to make some use of them as there will be many.  Don't feel rejected by these letters.

Internships are important.  The members on the panel all at one time were interns.  They usually weren't paid, but what they did earn was the knowledge in a work setting in their field.  Learning the ropes as an intern is just another important step towards a career goal.  While interning, make as many contacts as possible.

Learn a second language.  Several different panels agreed Spanish would be the ideal second language, but any second language may be helpful to an employer deciding on whom to hire.  Knowing the lingo of writers is also important.  I heard several times that writers are snarky or have snarky comments.  Since the conference I did some research.  Snarky is British slang for "irritable, testy and short."

Work that cover letter.  Write a sincere, informative cover letter telling what you can do for a company and include personal interests.  Make an impression with your cover letter and resume standing out and being competitive in their content.  Try to keep your resume to one page but include anything and everything that is relevant in your work history, education and personal interests that could help you get an internship or job.

Network online.  If you want to get your name out there, especially in a writing career, get on the Internet.  There are endless websites to use for networking.  It sounded a bit odd hearing the professional panelists pushing for Facebook, Twitter and other social network websites as useful tools in their career.

Enterprising stories.  My last panel session topic of the conference was "journalism in local news."  Local newspapers in Hanover and Gettysburg do not have enough reporters to cover the news.  An "enterprise story" is an idea for a story a reporter comes up with on their own and runs with it.  Local newspapers often print this type of story. Mainly because the topic is specific, no one else would have written about it.

Get the most out of workshops, booking readings, and writing conferences.  You are there for a reason and that reason is to learn and make contacts.  Ask questions, take notes, and get involved.  No one ever attended a writing event and later said, I wish I had spoken less.

Do you have advice for teens or students to share from attending a writing workshop or writing conference?  Share your experiences with us!

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Educational Resources and Free Lesson Plans

Free Writing Resources for Students

The below Stage of Life teen writing contests, teen trend reports, etiquette Q&A, and teacher resources have been mentioned by...

Our writing contests mentioned by TIME.com
Our Teen Trend Report mentioned by MarketWatch Our etiquette resources mentioned by FOX Business Educator tips mentioned by Mashable

 

With over half a million teachers, professors, teens, college students, and parents visiting StageofLife.com each school year, we make it a priority to create the best free writing resources for students and teachers.  We are a grassroots writing initiative founded with a mission to get people of all ages writing, and in particular encouraging students to write outside of the classroom...

Teen Writing Contest

National Student Writing Contests

  • Encourage your students to enter free, monthly national writing contest for high school students and college students.
  • StageofLife.com once hosted the world's largest international writing contest for high school students and college students.  Our essay winners have received mentions by the media including TIME.com, Mint Education, and more.
  • Essay contest topics dealt with real-world issues.
  • Great practice for AP Test, SAT test, college essay writing, and more.
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National author support for StageofLife.com 

Participating Authors

  • Question:  What do internationally published authors Susannah Cahalan, Richard Louv, Kimberly Rae Miller, Elyn Saks, and Andrew Soloman all have in common?
  • Answer:  They've all collaborated with StageofLife.com to support our grassroots international writing community.

Explore the dozens of published authors that have worked with us.  We're proud of the support these literary greats have put in the digital literacy mission of StageofLife.com...


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Word of the Day - Vocab Exercise
 

Word of the Day

  • We featured a new vocab word each day
  • Use our Word of the Day as inspiration for a personal essay or blog post on StageofLife.com
  • Teachers and educators can integrate the vocabulary in their classroom activities or ask the students to use the word in a free-write activity.
StageofLife.com's word of the day
 
Classroom writing exercises and ideas
 

Notes to the Teacher


Notes to the Teacher - Writing Exercises
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 Homeschool Writing Resources

 Homeschooling Writing Resources

  • Our writing resources are great for the classroom, but if you're a homeschooling student or parent, check out our free, homeschooling writing resources.
  • Writing contests, educational resources, and homeschooling resources are updated here...
Homeschooling Writing Resources
 
 Free classroom poster

Get "Writer" Classroom Poster - OUT OF STOCK

  • We've created a 18" x 12" color poster for high school or college classrooms.
  • We only charge for the shipping and handling fee
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Introduction to Blogging Lesson Plans

Introduction to Student Blogging

  • Get the 101 on blogging
  • Digital literacy - why blogging is important for the classroom
  • Our Blogging Lesson Plans include activities such as...
    1. Blogging Basics lesson plan
    2. Values & Beliefs lesson plan
    3. Reflection & Wisdom lesson plan
    4. Life stage interview lesson plan
    5. Food, Health & Writing lesson plan
    6. Heroes lesson plan
    7. Teen stress lesson plan
Blogging lesson plans on StageofLife.com
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Mentor Texts and Essay Examples

Mentor Texts

  • Use our past student winners as good examples of essay writing, i.e. Mentor Texts
  • Our teen writing winners provide excellent essay examples of authentic voice and utilizing a stylistic point of view
  • Read past writing contest winners and finalists by visiting our Teen Trends reports
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Examples of good essay writing -- mentor texts
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Teen Trends 

Teen Trend Reports

  • Over 800,000 teenagers, college students, and teachers visit StageofLife.com each year to either read or submit an essay.
  • Because of these visits, we are able to pull together full teen trend reports from our national writing contests and survey results on topics ranging from sports to politics to nature to bullying and more.
  • You'll also find in each report links to the relevant student essays, all grouped by topic.
  • View Teen Trends

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Teen Writing Workshops

Writing Conferences and Workshops for Teenagers


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 Essay Writing Prompts

Writing Prompts

  • Are you looking for ideas on though-provoking writing prompts for your Creative Writing, English or Language Arts classes?
  • We have scores of writing prompts that deal with real-world issues important to teens
  • Each prompt came from one of the previous Stage of Life national student essay contests
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Ideas for writing prompts
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Library Resources on StageofLife.com 

Library Resources

  • As a free literacy initiative, Stage of Life features blogs, articles, statistics, trends, resources and information about libraries
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 Common Core State Standards

English and Language Arts Common Core State Standards

  • Stage of Life mapped its digital literacy activities to the Common Core State Standards
  • Get ideas on how Stage of Life fits many of the Language Arts State Standards, both for those states using the Common Core State Standards and those using their own.
  • View the Stage of Life and Language Arts State Standards Mapping

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New Journalism - Use Blogging to Conduct Interviews 

Interviews - Students Use Blogging as Form of New Journalism

  • Interviewing a professor or teacher, celebrity, band, government official, or really anyone for that matter, is a great way for students to use blogging to explore "new journalism" formats and techniques
  • View our blog interview example
Example of Blog Interview - StageofLife.com
 

How Would Teens Improve Education

 

How Would Students Improve Education?

How would teens improve education?
  Print Free Goal Setting Worksheet  Print Teens and Education press release   Contact Us with comments about how students can improve their schools
 
 Student goal setting

Goal Setting Worksheet

  • Help your students set goals
  • Our Stage of Life Goal Setting Worksheet can be used as an in-class activity or as a take-home assignment
  • Educators are encouraged to use it themselves as a personal or professional tool too
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Goal setting worksheet
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 Teacher Appreciation

Teacher Appreciation

  • View over 180 positive essays written by teens about their teachers
  • Read the five positive relationship benefits good teachers bring to their students
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Teacher Appreciation
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Teens Making the World a Better Place

  • Utilize our "Making the World a Better Place" writing prompt to get students thinking and writing about how they can change the world and make a difference
  • Read past student essays about making the world a better place
  • Ask your class to explore the list of student-nominated, "making a difference" organizations by our teen bloggers and writers - maybe they have their own cause to add to the list?
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Making the world a better place on StageofLife.com
  Be The Change lessonPrint press release
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Inspirational Videos

  • Watch our collection of inspirational videos sourced from YouTube
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Digital Literacy

Digital Literacy - Using Blogs in the Classroom

  • Hear from our panel of experts who use blogging in the classroom
  • Get tips on how to increase your students' digital literacy by incorporating technology into the classroom
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Health effects of writing

Health and Writing

  • Read about the positive health effects of blogging and writing
  • Help your students reduce teen stress through journaling, blogging or writing
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 Susan Wooldridge

Poem Writing Tips

  • Tips for writing poetry from author of Poemcrazy, Susan Wooldridge
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Poem writing tips from StageofLife.com
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Education partnerships 

Education Resource Partners

Stage of Life has been fortunate to either work directly with or referenced by organizations, schools, non-profits and programs who see a value in our mission to improve digital literacy and have a like-minded mission to support students, teachers and educational initiatives.

A few examples of our educational partnerships or features...
  • NCTE - Stage of Life was an exhibitor at the 2013 NCTE Annual Convention in Boston.  Hundreds of high school Language Arts teachers and college English professors stopped by to meet our VP of Education, Rebecca Thiegs, and pick up our classroom writing contest poster.
  • Teach.com - inspirational resource for anyone currently teaching or thinking about becoming a teacher.  Our very own Stage of Life education consultant, Rebecca, was featured on the Teach.com blog.
  • Mint Education - helping teach students about financial literacy.  Mint featured several of our Stage of Life student blogs about money.
  • Lancaster Museum of Art - Stage of Life CEO, Eric Thiegs, was invited by the LMAPA to present a seminar to teens on the power of writing and artistic collaboration.
  • Tech.IT.U - Stage of Life CEO, Eric Thiegs, was a featured speaker on "the Benefits of Teen Blogging" at the Penn State York sponsored Tech.It.U conference.
  • PCTELA - "Voices of Literacy" Conference - Stage of Life co-Founders, Eric & Rebecca Thiegs, were featured session speakers on "Extending Writing Outside the Classroom Through Blogging" at the 2012 PCTELA conference (Pennsylvania Council of Teachers for English and Language Arts).
 
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StageofLife.com was launched in 2009 as the premier destination for people of all ages to find information, coupons, and stories about one of ten key stage of life transitions:  high school, college, on my own, wedding, married without children, having a baby, home ownership, parenting, grand parenting, and empty nest/retirement.  Nearly 1 million visitors come to the site each year to find information about their stage of life.  Stage of Life users (teens, college students, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) can also share and archive their life stories via their Stage of Life profile page.  Specialized content includes statistics, quotes, videos, financial tips, coupons, news, writing contests, and more tailored to each of the 10 life stages featured.  My Life Rewards® is the free discount program for all Stage of Life users, readers and writers dedicated to providing printable coupons and coupon codes tailored towards each stage of life.

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