Oct 28


[Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash]


Q: How do I get started?

A: Sign up for an account, fill out all the little info boxes so we know you're real, not a bot, and so we can contact you about publication, events, etc. Pick a username that you would like to see as your anonymous nom de plume, something other than your real name. If you are under 13, you will need parental permission for your account to be approved. Once your account is approved, you can begin submitting posts to your own blog, write to the challenges or go your own way and write anything you like, submit photos, art, video, audio. You can also comment on other writers' work and sprout from their stories. It's a community, and it's really fun!

Q: My question isn't listed here. What do I do?

A. Try Site Help.

Q: I still have questions. Who do I contact?

A. Susan Reid, YWP executive director, (username Reid on the site), by private message; or email [email protected]; or phone (802) 324-9538. We're located at the Karma Bird House, 47 Maple St., Suite 216, Burlington, VT 05401.

Q: Does YWP have rules?

A: Just one, but it's important: Respect. YWP depends on all users to help maintain this site as a community of respect and creativity. Because of the respect YWP users show each other every day, this site is a model of civility. It is respect that lifts YWP above. Occasionally, very rarely, YWP administrators step in to remind users of:

YWP's EDITORIAL DISCRETION POLICY: Young Writers Project strives to create a safe, respectful, positive space for young writers and artists. We encourage free expression, however as a matter of policy and common publishing practice, we exercise editorial discretion and reserve the right to remove from the website any material we deem inappropriate. Such material would include but not be limited to content that encourages intolerance, violence, self-harm and cruelty, and any language that is threatening, bullying or uncivil.

Q: What if users ignore the policy?

A: As part of joining Young Writers Project, users agree to the following statement which is included in the signup form: "We have one simple rule for behavior on this site: Be respectful. That applies to all of your posts and interactions on this site. We trust you. Be safe. Continue to make this site an exemplar of civil expression on the web."

All young people from anywhere are welcome to take part in YWP. We encourage, within the bounds of respect and civility, the active exchange of ideas and viewpoints. Posts that stray from the basic tenet of respect will be removed from the site. The writer's account may be suspended temporarily, or permanently, at YWP's discretion. But above all, we trust you to keep YWP a respectful, positive place!

Q: Who manages the site?

A: Susan Reid, YWP executive director, Anna Forsythe, publications coordinator, and William Anderson, editor/administrator, and YWP mentors, volunteers, and community leaders.

Q: What is YWP's mission?

A: YWP's mission is to inspire, mentor, publish, and promote young writers and artists.

Q: Who are the Community Leaders?

A: Community Leaders are YWP writers and artists who are selected (and often recommended by others on the site) because of their positive impact on YWP, the site, and their peers. They create their own newsletter, they tag work for publication and recognition, suggest site improvements, create writing challenges and think of great, new ideas for YWP! See more here.
Q: Do Community Leaders have broader access on the site?

A: Community Leaders can technically edit someone else's piece (they can see the EDIT tab above the post just like on their own posts.) We ask that they not edit the body of the post BUT instead, they can tag it "Daily Read" and/or "Editor's Room" (if they think the piece deserves special display on the front page or should be published in one of YWP's publications or partners' media) or "Curated" (for the newsletter.)
Community Leaders can also create a CHALLENGE or prompt. Under WRITE, Community Leaders can see the option Create a Challenge and you'll find the form pretty much the same as the blog create form. THE ONLY DIFFERENCES are two additional fields (there are a few other fields, too, but don't worry about them): DATE: (Click in the box to pull up calendar and choose that day's date or a date in the near future) and STATUS (Choose "LIVE"). We also encourage you to add some visual element, a photo or piece of art (or audio) in the ADD MEDIA section. When you save it, it will go in the mix as daily challenges. But please also email [email protected] to let us know you've created a challenge.

Q: What happens when I graduate from high school?

A: STAY! Or at least we hope you will stay on the site, sharing work, giving people comments, sharing your audio and images. We ask only that you contact us and we will make you a MENTOR. This will allow you to work more closely with users. Some MENTORS also work for us -- in person or virtually -- as interns.

Q: How does my work get chosen to be featured or published elsewhere?​

A: YWP staff, along with Community Leaders, mentors and volunteers -- read every single post on this site. That's a lot. We are looking for posts that have energy and are "fresh" -- meaning they have a new idea or perspective or approach. We don't like clichés. We are looking, too, for a strong voice, that is, that you are confident and strong in your writing, that you understand what it is you are trying to say. We are looking for clarity and power. We are looking for posts that move us, make us think, make us wonder. 
The same process that is involved in the selection of written work for publication or Daily Read is involved in selection of photos and art for publication and feature on the front page. We feature a NEW piece of art and a NEW Daily Read on the front page of the site every weekday. NOTE: If you have a photo or a piece of scanned art you think is really good, ALSO upload a high-resolution copy via the ATTACHMENT field near the bottom of your blog form. 

For all users we highlight work here:
  • Daily Read: Each day we highlight one new piece of writing on the front page of this site. We also feature a new photo or piece of art at the top.
  • The Voice:  Our premiere monthly digital magazine. 
  • Annual Anthology! A beautiful printed book of the best writing, art and photography -- every year! Get your copy of the latest here! YWP reviews about 12,000 submissions each year, and from those, selects a small number for the anthology -- about 75 pieces of writing, and 25-30 pieces of art.
  • Community Leaders Newsletter
For Vermont users, we also publish weekly in VtDigger.org; and in these newspapers: Weekly: Burlington Free Press and The Valley News. Monthly: Addison Independent, Bradford Journal-Opinion, Brattleboro Reformer, Charlotte News, Colchester Sun, Essex Reporter, Milton Independent, Rutland Herald, St. Albans Messenger, and Williston Observer.

Q: This is Young WRITERS Project. Can I also submit photos and art?

A: YES, PLEASE! This is a community that emphasizes words. HOWEVER, we love images. And images often can add a new dimension to your post. So by all means share a photo that you think works with your piece and you don't have to be too literal about it. Check out The Voice for examples of photos and words that pair well.

Q: How do I upload photos to my post?
A: There are two ways to upload photos:UPLOAD via ADD MEDIA field. In your blog create form, click ADD MEDIA >> Image >> Add new file and click choose file for a single photo on your computer and click "Upload." If you have more than one photo -- which automatically creates a slideshow -- use ADVANCED UPLOAD to drag and drop multiple photos to upload. Make sure you choose the "visual" Category in your blog form. (You can actually choose three Categories by right-clicking your mouse.)

NOTE: When you use this option, the photo is scaled to a 4:3 ratio (horizontal/vertical) so if you are uploading a vertical photo, it will be cropped. You can offset this by editing the photo and expanding the "canvas" around the photo to re-proportion the image to a 4/3 ratio. The image will be smaller but it will not be cropped.
NOTE: Again, when you use this option and upload multiple photos, they will automatically be turned into a SLIDE SHOW.

UPLOAD IN BODY. ​In your blog "body" box, put your cursor where you'd like the photo to appear; click the  media icon in the editing toolbar; you will be uploading your photo a different way and can only do one at a time. Follow instructions all the way through and the photo will be embedded into the text "body" where you put it at the size you choose. Choose "default" for the standard size of your photo.

​NOTE: This method will scale your photo to fit the webframe, regardless of device used, but the photo will not be cropped. This is the best method for vertical photos. This is also a good method for including a photo within a text. To further edit your photo so it appears the way you want, RIGHT CLICK the photo after it has been placed in the body of your post and click "IMAGE PROPERTIES" ... There you can alter the size, add a border (usually "1), give it Hspace ("10" is best) or Vspace (leave blank is best) and Alignment (usually "left).

Q: Why are my photos cropped at the top and bottom?

A: The photos that you upload are set to automatically scale or crop to 1170 (pixels) x 768 which is, approximately, a 4:3 ratio which is the customary ratio for horizontal photos. If your camera's ratio is different, say you take a square photo, then your photo will be cropped accordingly. And if your photo is vertical it will crop the top and bottom. SUGGESTION ON VERTICAL PHOTOS: As we mentioned above, If you have a single vertical photo that you want to include with your piece at the top or bottom, we suggest that you use the method above to UPLOAD IN BODY.There is also a converse situation where you may have a cropped photo that has a wide horizontal dimension but a very narrow vertical dimension, say something with a 4:1 ratio, almost like a banner photo. If you upload via the UPLOAD IN BODY method, this ratio also will be honored. 

Q: How do I embed video on my post?

A: Your video has to be published on a video sharing site such as vimeo.com or youtube.com. Go to the video and in the "Share" section, select embed, and copy the code. Return to your post and in the ADD MEDIA section, scoll down to MEDIA EMBED and past your code in there. Put some text in the "Body" of your post so people know something about the video. SAVE

Q: How do I add audio to my post?

A: There are two ways to add audio to your post:UPLOAD a .mp3, .m4a, .wav, .webm file directly to your post in your "Create Blog" form: Click ADD MEDIA >> Audio Upload field. You can upload more than one file if you wish and you can use "Advanded Upload" to drop and drag your files (after you move them, click "start upload." MAKE SURE YOU HAVE CHOSEN the "audio" Category just below the title. And make sure to SAVE at the bottom. This method produces a small, circular player that will appear at the top of your post below the Title. 
RECORD directly onto your post. Now this takes some nerve, BUT it's an easy way to do it. Just go to ADD MEDIA >> Audio Record and you will see a black box with a green "Start" button. You will then be asked (only once) to grant access to your computer's mic and camera. SAY YES. You will then see a multicolor sound indicator that moves as you make a sound. IF YOU DO NOT SEE THIS, check your mic and audio settings until you do. IF YOU DO SEE THIS then click the red "Record" button, speak normally (narrate your post, tell a story, whatever) and when you are done, click the STOP button. Wait a moment for the player to appear and DO NOT PLAY, just make sure you've chosen the "audio" Category and scroll down to the bottom and SAVE.

NOTE: If you don't like the recording you did, simply click EDIT, go back to Audio Record and do it again; your second recording will erase the first. IF YOU DO NOT like any of what you've done, there is a little quirk that we're trying to fix but just go back and repeat the steps, but only turn the "record" on for a second and immediately stop and then SAVE. You will have a nice recording of 1-second of nothing. (We are trying to find a fix, as I said.)
NOTE: Please do NOT upload audio within the body of your post. We have discovered that this causes a conflict which is too complicated to explain, but the net effect is that sometimes it hides the audio of the post that follows when you, say, click the "audio" category sort. 

Q: What are Sprouts?
A: You may have noticed SPROUT at the bottom of each post (if you're logged in). This is to help you respond to a piece, when you read something and you are compelled to react with your own story or poem or essay or photo... This is the highest form of complement you can make to a post (even more than sharing it on social media) because you have engaged so deeply, you want to express something yourself. How does it work?

Simply click the "SPROUT" button and you will see a "Create a Blog Post" form pop up. Write away and save. The site has magically tied your story with the one you sprouted from -- there will be a link in your story to the piece you sprouted from and a short summary and link of your story will be shown at the bottom of the original. 

Q: When did YWP start?
A: YWP was founded in 2006 by Geoffrey Gevalt, a former journalist, (gg on the site). Since his retirement in 2018, his work can be found at geoffreygevalt.com.

About the Author: YWP
Hey YWP! You're at Young Writers Project headquarters! Want to get in touch? Just message Executive Director Susan Reid here!