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Cashing in on the Speed Writing Craze

To the chagrin of the literati, National Novel Writing Month and its ilk can indeed spark great work.

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Every November, thousands of people around the country stop everything they’re doing, sit down with a notepad or some kind of keyboard, and start furiously writing. Racing to pump out a 50,000-word story within the month (about 1,667 words a day), these manic typists aren’t doing this for cash or any kind of direct compensation. They’re doing it because November is National Novel Writing Month, a competition urging would-be writers to overcome their doubts and fears and just write a whole book. Some in the literary world see the competition, which originally put no emphasis on editing, as a scourge, regularly churning out self-indulgent pulp. In truth, quite a few successful books have come out of NaNoWriMo (as it’s often shortened). More importantly it encourages people to actually do what they love and brings literature back to a popular, accessible, and relatable level for all of us.

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Azure Created Her Own Happiness

Finding herself uninspired at her HR job, 31-year-old Azure Antoinette from NYC, knew that there had to be more to life. So, when she witnessed...

Finding herself uninspired at her HR job, 31-year-old Azure Antoinette from Los Angeles, knew that there had to be more to life. So, when she witnessed a spoken word performance on TV, the poet’s words did more than move her – they awakened Azure’s life-long passion for writing. The next day, she quit her job to pursue a life of creative writing.

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Why I'm Bringing Story-Based Learning Into My Community

In cities and neighborhoods nationwide, story-based learning prevails as a key exchange of knowledge and motivation. It also offers much promise to youth and adults alike as we continue to reform the way we learn and address prominent challenges within our communities.

When I was a kid, I often felt that the best part of my education came from the porch of my grandparents' house in Staten Island, New York. I learned the science of Southern cooking, the history of the African Diaspora, the language arts of New Yorker accents, and the math of how many generations it took for someone in my family to graduate college.

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When we started making our first documentary feature, Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself, we knew the famed journalist and editor of The Paris Review would never actually star in the film. Plimpton died in 2003, but left behind a treasure trove of audio, video and photographs that we used to have him act as a posthumous narrator in our film where the noted storyteller told his greatest story—that of his own life.

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Intermission: This Private Library Looks Like the Most Peaceful Place on Earth

Architect Andrew Berman was tasked with three simple requirements for designing a workspace for a writer.

[vimeo][/vimeo]

Architect Andrew Berman was tasked with three simple requirements for designing a workspace for a writer:

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Penpal Exchange Helps Students Squash Red-Blue State Divisions

Penpal News is connecting 6,000 students in 25 states to talk about election-year issues.


When Mackenzie Sweitzer, a high school senior, introduced herself to her penpal, she described where she lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Hudson, North Carolina, as a very conservative place. "We're in the Bible Belt," Mackenzie wrote, "what more do you expect?"

Ashlie Humphries, Mackenzie's penpal, lives in Sammamish, Washington, a wealthy Seattle suburb. When Ashlie wrote back, she told MacKenzie that the typical mom where she's from is like one particular mom in the movie Mean Girls, "the one who rocked the Juicy sweatsuit and acted like she was 22 years old," she wrote. "Haha, anyways...what is a 'Bible Belt'???"

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