Boutique

Education Consulting

Boutique is an education consultancy that specializes in editing and enhancing the admissions application essay, as well as other education services. Founded by Juli Min, Harvard and Andover alumna.

Fall Update - Personal

A quick update on what's been on my plate and what's coming up: 

  • The Shanghai Literary Review - As the Editor in Chief of this literature and art magazine, I've been busy reading submissions for our second issue coming out this winter, hosting open mic readings in Shanghai, and getting our journal placed into shops around the world. For now, we're selling in Shanghai, Beijing, London, and New York, as well as online. 
  • Jululu Independent Book Festival - This summer I worked with a friend to organize a zine and indie book festival in Shanghai. We sold books, held bookmaking and art workshops, and had a weekend of talks from book designers, printers, and authors. It was a blast, we had great publicity from the press, and we're hoping to make this an annual event!
  • Writing - I'm still writing freelance for magazines and papers. You can find some of my published pieces on my writing website. In addition to long form journalism work, I've been busy doing research and working on two books - one nonfiction and one fiction. In addition to these personal projects, I've also started a masters program in creative writing. :) 
  • Teaching - I've finished up my writing course at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and this fall I'll be the teaching assistant for two writing courses at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen campus.
  • Essay Boutique - Essay editing continues, as I've been working with students through video and in person, or through emailed document edits. It's a pleasure to get to know ambitious young people and help them achieve their goals, in the small ways that I can.

Back to School

Summer has come and gone, and I've had the pleasure of working with several really great students on their writing. It's been a lot of fun, and I'm super excited about their work so far. As we transition back into the school year and back into the rhythm of busy days and deadlines, best of luck to everyone preparing their applications! Take it one step at a time, and most of all: don't procrastinate.

One way that I've found works well is to complete one school one after another, in order of priority. This will help the stress of deadlines melt away over the course of the coming months. As you finish your essays, also put them away for a week or so before reading them again or giving them to peers, parents, or teachers for comments. When essays are just freshly written, just after spending a lot of time creating the work, it can be hard to hear feedback. When you've been able to gain some distance from the piece, you'll be more able to be open to constructive criticism. 

Schedule a few hours every week or weekend for writing and working on the essay. Work slowly but consistently.

Writing Contests - by Deadline Month

Here is my massive, definitive list of creative writing contests for student writers, organized by deadline. I left magazines and publications off this post since many of those accept submissions year-round. Contests open to international students are marked +international.

Unspecified or rolling deadlines:

Amazing Kids! ages 7-18 +international

Nasa Careers Poetry Contest ages 8-17

PBS Kids Go! Writer’s Contest grades K – 3rd

Write the World ages 13-18 +international

January

Columbia College Young Authors Writing Competition high School students
Submission Deadline: TBA for 2017
The Young Authors writing competition is a national competition for high school writers of fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry.

Hong Kong Young Writers Award grades 1-12 (HK, Macau, China) Since its inception in 2010, the competition has been a resounding success, with more than 980+ innovative entries coming in from 200+ participating schools across Hong Kong, Macau and China in 2016.

International Thespian Festival high schoolers +international Thespian Playworks nurtures original student-written plays from the page to the stage. The program staff will choose up to four works to be developed in June at the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska. Professional directors and dramaturgs will help the chosen finalists to workshop and present their plays with student actors. Writers must be active members of the International Thespian Society enrolled in high school during the current school year. All finalists must be available to attend the up-coming International Thespian Festival. Plays must be the original work of a single Thespian writer. Collaborative works or ad-aptations won’t be considered, nor will plays that include music, lyrics, or dialogue writ-ten by anyone other than the submitting writer. Musicals should be submitted to Thes-pian Musicalworks. Plays can be about any subject but should have a running time of thirty minutes or less (approximately thirty typed pages). Writers may submit more than one play for consideration.

Time for Kids poetry contest. ages 8-13. Deadline January 30. You must be a subscriber to get info.

February

The Gaithersburg Book Festival grades 9-12 (Washington DC area) a short story contest for students in living in the Washington metropolitan area. Short stories must be no longer than 1,000 words and must begin with one of three lines provided on the contest website.

Kids World Fun Story Contest ages 7-16 +international

Nasa's Scientist for a Day Essay Contest  grades 5-12 +international

Neuroscience Kids Poetry Contest grades K-12 +international

March

The Adroit Prizes high school and college students +international
Submission Deadline: TBA for 2017
Accepts Online Submissions
All secondary and undergraduate students are eligible, including those undergraduate students who have graduated a semester early (i.e., in December 2015). Submissions should include up to eight poems, and up to three works of fiction or nonfiction.

Princeton University Ten-Minute Play Contest for High School Students grade 11 +internationa

Scholastic’s Kids are Authors grades K–8
Details: This unique writing contests asks kids to collaborate in groups of three or more and the entries must be between 21 – 29 pages, illustrations included. (Text + illustration = 1 page.) The deadline is March 15, 2016 and is the last time for this contest. See all the rules and info here.

TIME for Kids 13 & younger is a non-fiction weekly news magazine for classrooms, a child-oriented version of its parent, TIME Magazine. Many of the articles are written by TFK’s Kid Reporters, a job for which the magazine opens a talent search each year in March--the TFK Kid Reporter Contest. Entrants must be 13 years old or younger and write a compelling news story about a school or community event and interview subjects. More »

Young Writers Explore Learning (UK ONLY) 14 and under (UK only)
Details: A UK based contest judged by author Lauren Child with specific prompts.

April

Washington Post KidsPost Annual Poetry Contest ages 5-14 +international occurs every April in honor of National Poetry Month.

May

Betty Award ages 8 – 12 +international
Details: Check the website for deadlines for their spring and fall writing contests. Cash prizes. $15 fee.

June

FenCon grades 3 – 5, grades 6 – 8, grades 9 – 12 +international

Details: We’re looking for a science fiction or fantasy story on any topic. The only limits are your imagination and the short list of rules. No entry fee. There are small cash awards for the winners in each category.  The submissions will be evaluated by a panel of teachers (retired and current). Due June 15, 2016.

Rattle Young Poets Anthology ages under 18 +international Poetry anthology

July

Foyle Young Poets ages 11-17 +international (UK contest)

Submission Deadline: July 31
Each year 100 winners (85 Commendations and 15 Overall Winners) are selected by a team of high profile judges, and will receive their awards at an annual prize-giving event on National Poetry Day. OverallWinners will have their poems published in the annual Foyle Anthology. Additionally, winners attend a week-long intensive residential Arvon course where they develop their creative writing skills alongside fellow poets or benefit from long distance mentoring.

September

Mrs. P’s Be a Famous Writer grades K-4th

Details: Submissions open from September to mid-November each year with a yearly prompt.

The Nation Student Writing Contest high school and college

October

Princeton University Poetry Contest for High School Students grade 11 +international

Submission Deadline: 2017 submissions will open late autumn.
Princeton University Poetry contest for High School Students recognizes outstanding work by student writers. The jury consisted of members of the Princeton University Creative Writing faculty.

YoungArts 15–18 or in grades 10–12
Submission Deadline: October 15th, 2016
Accepts Online Submissions
Cost: $25 per submission
The National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) signature program is an application-based award for emerging artists ages from across the United States. Winners receive valuable support, including financial awards of up to $10,000, professional development and educational experiences working with renowned mentor. It is the nation's only path to becoming a Presidential Scholar in the Arts.

November

The Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers grades 10-11 +international

Submission Window: November 1-November 30, 2016, TBA for 2017
Accepts Online Submissions
The Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers recognizes outstanding young poets and is open to high school sophomores and juniors throughout the world. The contest winner receives a full scholarship to the Kenyon Review Young Writers workshop. In addition, the winning poem and the poems of the two runners-up will be published in The Kenyon Review, one of the country’s most widely read literary magazines.

Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder all ages +international

The Intergenerational Sense of Wonder/Sense of the Wild Contest sponsored by Rachel Carson Landmark Alliance (RCLA) is a great way for you (as a child or as an adult, in an intergenerational team) to express an appreciation for nature, with a chance of winning for your team. Contest rules are the same as those used in 2015. Deadline for entries is November 1, 2016. Winners will be announced by December 1, 2016. We encourage teachers to use this contest as a class project. Contact RCLA for suggestions.

December

Letters About Literature  grades 4-12. Sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the annual Letters About Literature is an interesting competition in that it combines both reading and writing. Students must write an essay (in the form of a letter) describing how a certain book or author has had a profound effect on their outlook on life. Students are grouped by age into three different levels, all of which are judged at both a state and national level. Entries are judged on the merits of composition (grammar, organization and language skills); content (how well the theme has been addressed); and voice. National winners receive a monetary or gift card prize as well as sizeable “LAL Reading Promotion” grant in their name for the local school district. More »

River of Words Poetry & Art Contest ages 5-19 +international A free international art and poetry contest, held annually since 1995 in conjunction with the Center of the Book in the Library of Congress

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards grades 7-12. This prestigious contest was begun in 1923 and its winners include such notable people as Sylvia PlathRobert RedfordJoyce Carol Oates and Truman Capote. Writers in grades 7 through 12 may submit work in one or more of the following categories: Dramatic Script, Flash Fiction, Humor, Journalism, Personal EssayPersuasive Writing, Poetry, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Short Story and Novel Writing. Entries are judged both regionally and nationally--the highest level regional work is submitted for national consideration. National level winners are published in anthologies and Scholastic publications. More »

Writing Times ages 5 – 12 +international (UK contest)

This online literary magazine holds writing and drawing competitions throughout the year about a specific theme.

Writing Contests & Publications for Students

I've put together this massive, definitive list of creative writing contests, publications, and writing camps for student writers. The list will stay live, and I'll keep adding as I find more. Please comment if you know of a new one or know if any one of these are defunct. 

Click here if you want to see this list of writing contests organized by deadline month.

These contests are geared toward US students, but many accept international submissions. I've noted +international where non-US submissions are accepted.

Thanks, and I hope this is helpful! -Juli

Writing Contests for Students

The Adroit Prizes high school and college students +international
Submission Deadline: TBA for 2017
Accepts Online Submissions
All secondary and undergraduate students are eligible, including those undergraduate students who have graduated a semester early (i.e., in December 2015). Submissions should include up to eight poems, and up to three works of fiction or nonfiction.

Amazing Kids! ages 7-18 +international
Details: Check the website for new contests.

Betty Award ages 8 – 12 +international
Details: Check the website for deadlines for their spring and fall writing contests. Cash prizes. $15 fee.

Columbia College Young Authors Writing Competition grades 9-12
Submission Deadline: TBA for 2017
The Young Authors writing competition is a national competition for high school writers of fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry.

FenCon grades 3 – 5, grades 6 – 8, grades 9 – 12 +international
Details: We’re looking for a science fiction or fantasy story on any topic. The only limits are your imagination and the short list of rules. No entry fee. There are small cash awards for the winners in each category.  The submissions will be evaluated by a panel of teachers (retired and current). Due June 15, 2016.

Foyle Young Poets ages 11-17 +international (UK contest)
Submission Deadline: July 31
Each year 100 winners (85 Commendations and 15 Overall Winners) are selected by a team of high profile judges, and will receive their awards at an annual prize-giving event on National Poetry Day. OverallWinners will have their poems published in the annual Foyle Anthology. Additionally, winners attend a week-long intensive residential Arvon course where they develop their creative writing skills alongside fellow poets or benefit from long distance mentoring.

The Gaithersburg Book Festival grades 9-12 (Washington DC area) a short story contest for students in living in the Washington metropolitan area. Short stories must be no longer than 1,000 words and must begin with one of three lines provided on the contest website.

Hong Kong Young Writers Award grades 1-12 (HK, Macau, China) Since its inception in 2010, the competition has been a resounding success, with more than 980+ innovative entries coming in from 200+ participating schools across Hong Kong, Macau and China in 2016.

International Thespian Festival grades 9-12 +international Thespian Playworks nurtures original student-written plays from the page to the stage. The program staff will choose up to four works to be developed in June at the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska. Professional directors and dramaturgs will help the chosen finalists to workshop and present their plays with student actors. Writers must be active members of the International Thespian Society enrolled in high school during the current school year. All finalists must be available to attend the up-coming International Thespian Festival. Plays must be the original work of a single Thespian writer. Collaborative works or ad-aptations won’t be considered, nor will plays that include music, lyrics, or dialogue writ-ten by anyone other than the submitting writer. Musicals should be submitted to Thes-pian Musicalworks. Plays can be about any subject but should have a running time of thirty minutes or less (approximately thirty typed pages). Writers may submit more than one play for consideration.

Kids World Fun Story Contest ages 7-16 +international

Letters About Literature  grades 4-12 Sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the annual Letters About Literature is an interesting competition in that it combines both reading and writing. Students must write an essay (in the form of a letter) describing how a certain book or author has had a profound effect on their outlook on life. Students are grouped by age into three different levels, all of which are judged at both a state and national level. Entries are judged on the merits of composition (grammar, organization and language skills); content (how well the theme has been addressed); and voice. National winners receive a monetary or gift card prize as well as sizeable “LAL Reading Promotion” grant in their name for the local school district. More »

Mrs. P’s Be a Famous Writer grades K-4th
Details: Submissions open from September to mid-November each year with a yearly prompt.

Nasa's Scientist for a Day Essay Contest  grades 5-12 +international

Nasa Careers Poetry Contest ages 8-17

The Nation Student Writing Contest high school and college

Neuroscience Kids Poetry Contest grades K – 12 +international

The Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers grades 10-11 +international
Submission Window: November 1-November 30, 2016, TBA for 2017
Accepts Online Submissions
The Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers recognizes outstanding young poets and is open to high school sophomores and juniors throughout the world. The contest winner receives a full scholarship to the Kenyon Review Young Writers workshop. In addition, the winning poem and the poems of the two runners-up will be published in The Kenyon Review, one of the country’s most widely read literary magazines.

PBS Kids Go! Writer’s Contest grades K – 3rd
Details: This isn’t the easiest contest to enter since it depends on local PBS stations and local stations also pick the winners. Word count depends on your grade but is about 100 – 200 words. Rules here.

Princeton University Poetry Contest for High School Students grade 11 +international
Submission Deadline: 2017 submissions will open late autumn.
Princeton University Poetry contest for High School Students recognizes outstanding work by student writers. The jury consisted of members of the Princeton University Creative Writing faculty.

Princeton University Ten-Minute Play Contest for High School Students grade 11 +international

Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder all ages +international

The Intergenerational Sense of Wonder/Sense of the Wild Contest sponsored by Rachel Carson Landmark Alliance (RCLA) is a great way for you (as a child or as an adult, in an intergenerational team) to express an appreciation for nature, with a chance of winning for your team. Contest rules are the same as those used in 2015. Deadline for entries is November 1, 2016. Winners will be announced by December 1, 2016. We encourage teachers to use this contest as a class project. Contact RCLA for suggestions.

Rattle Young Poets Anthology ages under 18 Poetry anthology

River of Words Poetry & Art Contest ages 5-19 +international A free international art and poetry contest, held annually since 1995 in conjunction with the Center of the Book in the Library of Congress

Scholastic’s Kids are Authors grades K – 8

Details: This unique writing contests asks kids to collaborate in groups of three or more and the entries must be between 21 – 29 pages, illustrations included. (Text + illustration = 1 page.) The deadline is March 15, 2016 and is the last time for this contest. See all the rules and info here.

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards  grades 7-12 This prestigious contest was begun in 1923 and its winners include such notable people as Sylvia PlathRobert RedfordJoyce Carol Oates and Truman Capote. Writers in grades 7 through 12 may submit work in one or more of the following categories: Dramatic Script, Flash Fiction, Humor, Journalism, Personal EssayPersuasive Writing, Poetry, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Short Story and Novel Writing. Entries are judged both regionally and nationally--the highest level regional work is submitted for national consideration. National level winners are published in anthologies and Scholastic publications. More »

TIME for Kids 13 & younger is a non-fiction weekly news magazine for classrooms, a child-oriented version of its parent, TIME Magazine. Many of the articles are written by TFK’s Kid Reporters, a job for which the magazine opens a talent search each year in March--the TFK Kid Reporter Contest. Entrants must be 13 years old or younger and write a compelling news story about a school or community event and interview subjects. More »

Time for Kids ages 8-13 poetry contest. Deadline January 30. You must be a subscriber to get info.

Washington Post KidsPost Annual Poetry Contest ages 5-14 +international occurs every April in honor of National Poetry Month.

Write the World ages 13-18 +international
Details: This is a online writing community for kids. Contests are posted from time to time here.

Writing Times ages 5 – 12 +international (UK contest)
This online literary magazine holds writing and drawing competitions throughout the year about a specific theme.

YoungArts ages 15–18 or grades 10–12
Submission Deadline: October 15th, 2016
Accepts Online Submissions
Cost: $25 per submission
The National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) signature program is an application-based award for emerging artists ages from across the United States. Winners receive valuable support, including financial awards of up to $10,000, professional development and educational experiences working with renowned mentor. It is the nation's only path to becoming a Presidential Scholar in the Arts.

Young Writers Explore Learning (UK ONLY) ages: 14 and under (UK Only)
Details: A UK based contest judged by author Lauren Child with specific prompts.
 


Magazines and Online Publications for Students’ Writing

Adroit Journal under 21
A literary magazine run entirely by high school and college students. Adroit publishes poetry, fiction, flash fiction, art/photography, and cross-genre works with separate submissions for “adults” and those “under the age of 21.” 

Amazing Kids! Magazine ages 5 to 18
Details: A magazine written by kids and teens looking for stories, articles, adventures, and more. Submission guidelines here.

American Girls Magazine unspecified
American Girls Magazine is only open to unsolicited submissions from children. They accept submissions of crafts, recipes, puzzles, profiles, drawings, jokes, letters,

The Apprentice Writer high school students
This literary journal is run by Susqehanna Universities Creative writing program. They publish work only by high school students. Every September they send copies of the journal to nearly 3,500 schools.

BALLOONS Literary Journal ages 10-16 An online journal that publishes poetry, fiction and art that is primarily aimed at young readers aged around 10-16. They accept submissions from adults and teens.

Canvas ages 13-18
Submission Window: Fluctuating window, capped at 500 submissions.
Accepts Online Submissions
Canvas is a teen literary magazine, run almost entirely by its own Teen Board. They accept all types of written work, from all over the world. They publish quarterly, releasing a print book and ebook copy of each issue.

The Caterpillar unspecified
Details: This is an Irish publication but accepts entries from anywhere in the world.

Cicada ages 14-23
Submission Window: Accepted Year Round
Accepts Online Submissions
This website, blog, and magazine publish a variety of written pieces as well as artwork. They have thematic submissions and general submissions, and a great blog.

The Claremont Review ages 13-19
Submission Window: September-April
Accepts Online Submissions
This international magazine is published twice a year—spring and fall—and welcomes poetry, short stories, and nonfiction writing. They steer clear of science fiction, fantasy, romance, and rhyming poetry. All work submitted receives a personal response.

Creative Kids ages 8-16
Submission Window: Accepted Year Round
Does not Accept Online Submissions
By kids, for kids, Creative Kids is published quarterly. Submit cartoons, songs, stories between 500 and 1200 words, puzzles, photographs, artwork, games, editorials, poetry, plays, and any other creative work that can fit in a magazine.

Cricket ages 9 – 14
Details: Fiction, poetry, and nonfiction welcome in this literary magazine.

Cuckoo Quarterly ages 12-18. An online literary journal for writers between the ages of 12 and 18. They are based in the UK. They are looking for submissions of poetry, periodicals, short stories, essays and opinion pieces.

Élan grades 9-12. They accept original fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, screen writing, plays and visual art from students. They publish two online and one print issue a year.

Ember ages 10 – 18
Details: This publication is searching for compelling poetry, short stories, flash fiction, and creative non-fiction that paint images with language.

Figment ages 13+
Details: This is an online writing community meant to encourage teen writers to write and share their work. You can post your work and get feedback as well as give feedback to other writers. Contests are posted throughout the year.

Guardian Angel Kids ages up to 14
Details: Themes for submissions here. If your work is accepted (articles, fiction, poetry) then the magazine will own in and will pay you for your work. Just be sure that if your writing is accepted, you don’t post it anywhere else since you will not own it anymore.

Highlights Magazine unspecified
Details: This magazine publishes kid writing but also will publish: drawings, poems, jokes, riddles, tongue twisters, stories, science questions, and book reviews.

Kiki unspecified
Details: This girls magazine is looking for artwork and fiction stories.

Magic Dragon elementary school
Submission Window: Year Round
Accepts Online Submissions
This magazine comes out quarterly and publishes stories up to 3 pages, poems up to 30 lines, and artwork.

New Moon Girls ages 8+ Magazine focuses on girls, women, or female issues. New Moon Girls was created by girls and women for girls who want their voices heard and their dreams taken seriously. It is edited by and for girls ages 8 and up. New Moon Girls takes girls very seriously; the publication is structured to give girls real power. The final product is a collaboration of girls and adults. An editorial board of girls aged 8-14 makes final decisions on content for the magazine and website.

One Teen Story ages 13-19
Submission Window: Year Round
Accepts Online Submissions
One Teen Story is looking for great short stories focused on teen protagonists and dealing with teen experience (issues of identity, friendship, family, coming-of-age, etc.).

Stone Soup ages 8-13
Submission Window: Year Round
Accepts Online Submissions, with fee
This magazine is printed six times a year and is entirely made up of stories, poems, book reviews, and artwork by children. Submissions can be up to 2500 words.

Skipping Stones ages 7 to 17
Details: This publication has a multicultural focus. Send in essays, interviews, poems, plays, or short stories. $5 fee. Winners published in their autumn issue.

Teen Ink grades 7-12
Submission Window: Year Round
Accepts Online Submissions
This website, monthly newsprint magazine, and quarterly poetry magazine features personal essays, short stories, reviews (books, CDs, concerts, movies), and interviews from young authors.

Teen Voices Girls, ages 13-19
Submission Window: Year Round
Accepts Online Submissions
Teen Voices, the global girls’ online news site of Women's eNews, is looking for girls who are interested in journalism and media to write for it site. All girls 13-19 years old are invited to join its writing staff. Teen Voices also publishes a series by and about girls with physical disabilities, called Girl Fuse. For more information about how to get paid to write, check out the submission guidelines.

The Telling Room ages 6-18
Submission Window: Year Round
Accepts Online Submissions
We publish kids work in a variety of ways: in our annual anthologies, in small chapbooks for workshops and small writing groups, on our website. Email writers@tellingroom.org, to learn more!

Tunnel high school or advanced middle schoolers An e-zine for writers who are teenagers or ‘fresh voices.'


Conferences and Camps

New England Young Writers Conference
(high school students)
Application/Registration Deadline: Two students per school.
Cost: $375

Teachers may nominate five students and up to two students may attend. The New England Young Writers’ Conference (NEYWC) at Bread Loaf is a four day writing-focused workshop for high school students in New England and from around the country.  The long weekend is packed with writing seminars, workshops, readings, and opportunities to meet fellow young writers.

Idyllwild Youth Writing Program
(ages 11-18)
Application/Registration Deadline: 2016 registration is currently open, TBA for 2017.
Cost: $3,150

Located in Idylwild, California, workshops are open to multiple grade levels, including introductions to genre and writing workshops in both poetry and fiction.

Interlochen Arts Camp
(Grades 3-12)
Application/Registration Deadline: TBA for 2017
Cost: $5,137

Located in Interlochen, Michigan, the daily schedule includes fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and playwriting workshops, "studio time" to work independently and meet one-on-one with faculty, as well as evening readings by the faculty and visiting authors.

Juniper Institute for Young Writers
(Grades 10-12)
Application/Registration Deadline: TBA for 2017
Cost: $1,700

Hosted by the University of Massachusetts MFA Program for Poets and Writers and the Juniper Summer Writing Institute for adults, the JIYW offers participants a unique opportunity to participate in intensive creative writing workshops, craft sessions, and studio courses designed especially for young writers.

Slam Camp
(Grades 9-12)
Application/Registration Deadline: Early bird registration is before June 1st. Late registration begins June 1st.
Cost: $650-$700

Hosted at the University of Indiana at Bloomington, students will study creative writing conventions and performance techniques for slam poetry. Students will be exposed to the roots and tradition of the spoken word movement.

The Telling Room
(ages 7-18)
Application/Registration Deadline: Open until full
Cost: $325 unless otherwise noted.

The Telling Room offers a variety of city-based options that allow for exploration both on foot and on paper. A wide variety of genres and mediums are available through different camps, including fiction, poetry, essay, and sports writing.
 

(My sources are Imagination SoupKids ActivitiesMaryamatoschool reading listauthorspublish, & tellingroom)

2016 Year in Review

2016 was the most life-changing year of my life. I got married, moved to Shanghai full time, and explored a few new directions for my writing here in China.

Of course, there were moments of transition that were difficult. My health faltered for a while upon moving to this city and I spent a stressful couple of months really thinking hard about what projects and work I could both do well and feel truly passionate about. This involved a bit of self-reflection, and of course with it, self-criticism, which is not always easy. I identified a number of problems that had led me to my feeling stuck in a paralyzing crossroads: 1) I enjoyed a quite narrow field of work and at times could be inflexible about it 2) I had a hard time saying 'no' to people and projects, sometimes taking on too many and less-than-ideal opportunities 3) My writing and my editing work was all done individually, which meant at times I felt isolated and without a network or community to lean on.

To deal with the first and second issue, I made the decision to cut out all extraneous work that did not either relate to my individual development as a writer or that did not relate to working with the kinds of writing that I enjoyed and cared about. I have dedicated myself to the goal of mastering one craft and for now, focusing on work related only to that goal. 

To deal with the third issue, I began to go out more, to commit to more social events, and to tell more people about my goals and my plans. The more people knew, the more relevant opportunities came my way. I also began to feel like I had more of my own network of friends and acquaintances in Shanghai, as opposed to leaning on my husband's.

By doing some self reflection and by opening myself up to more people and opportunities, I was able to start and find some exciting projects and new paths for myself. 

To that end, here are the things I'll be working on in 2017: 

  • I'll be continuing to write about culture, education, and travel for newspapers and magazines as a freelance journalist. This work and the small collection of clips I've gathered over the past 6 months are something I'm proud of; that give me a sense of progress as pieces are accepted, edited, and published; and that help me grow individually as a writer. 
  • I've joined up with three friends between Shanghai and New York to start a literary magazine here in Shanghai. I'll serve as the Editor of the journal. 
  • I've started running creative writing workshops for young students, between the ages of 10-15. This is not only one of the most fun things I've ever taught as an educator, but it's a regular reminder to me of the natural creativity we all have within us. Therefore, it is a true pleasure and also a huge source of inspiration. 
  • Next year I'll start a role as a part time lecturer at a university nearby, teaching writing to a new cohort of graduate students. This is a new challenge for me, an honor, and an opportunity to take my teaching to the next level.  
  • And of course I'll continue my admissions essay editing, upon demand. I don't do much marketing anymore for Boutique - the requests roll in via word of mouth and I like it that way. But I can't say that this will be my main focus anymore, as I'll also be taking on more responsibilities elsewhere. I'm focusing on my craft as well as cultivating younger and peer writers in my community. Going forward, I'll maintain this blog and my work here - it is largely rewarding working with cool people with big dreams who are honing smart pieces of personal narrative. I am hopeful that all my other projects related to writing and teaching writing will inform and influence my work with Boutique students for the better. 

Thanks very much for your time and your support this past year. It's been a thrilling and at times rocky road transitioning my life and work to the other side of the world. But I've made it here safely, and now I'm finally settling in and figuring out who I can be and what I want for the short, medium, and long term. I've faced the risks and responsibilities of accepting that it comes down to one thing: writing. I want to be writing, to be a writer, and to be engaging with quality writing and writers in my community. That's it, folks! Here's to a hopeful 2017, to you and yours and your beautiful dreams.