We want to make this easy for you. Look at the topics below and if we still haven't answered your questions, feel free to contact YWP Executive Director Susan Reid, Reid on the site; or by email: [email protected]; or phone (802) 324-9538.

Welcome to YWP! Let's get started ...

How to join the site
Young Writers Project is intended primarily for teens, ages 13-19, but writers and artists who are 11 and 12 years of age are also welcome to join with parental permission. See the Parental Permission form here.

To sign up for a YWP account, follow these steps:
  • On youngwritersproject.org, click the link at the top right that reads "login/join."
  • On the page that comes up, select the tab for "Create new account." That will take you to the account registration page.
  • Select a username that you like – don't use your own name. How about a fun pen name? And a password that you can remember.
  • You'll be prompted to fill in some personal information – which YWP keeps private. Make sure it is accurate and complete or we won't be able to approve your account.
  • Scroll down and see "role." Mark off whether you're a teacher or a young writer. If you are a young writer, fill in the rest of the information that pops up.
Update Notify: We suggest you click the "Update notify" box so you can stay up to date on any pieces you've commented on. With that check box enabled, you'll get an email notification when a writer makes changes to a piece that you've commented on – so you can see the impact of your comments.
Terms and Conditions: The terms and conditions at the bottom of the form outline our publication and privacy policies. We never share any of your personal information, and you retain the rights to your work – but this also allows us to publish your work in our in-house and partner publications. Once you've agreed to the terms and conditions, save the form.
YWP staff will review your information and approve your account if everything is in order. This could take up to a full business day, so please be patient.
Logging in
So your account is approved... now what?
On the YWP site, youngwritersproject.org, click the "log in/join" link, top right.
You'll be prompted to enter your username and password.
Click the "Log in" button below.
After logging in, you'll be taken to your profile page. This is where you and others can find your writing and get in touch with you.
Click the YWP logo at the top of the page to navigate to the home screen – that's where you'll find new writing challenges, community updates, the Daily Read, "Tiny Writes," and other cool features.
 
Sharing your work
There are two main ways to post your work on youngwritersproject.org: create a blog post as its own entity, or respond to a challenge, adding your post to a collection of other responses to that challenge. Both types of post can be considered for publication in YWP's in-house and partner publications.

1. Free writes: To create a blog post not associated with a particular challenge, find the "write" button at the top of the page.
You can either click on WRITE, or on the "create a blog post" option that drops down below.
Either way, you'll be taken to the "create" form.

2. Responding to a challenge: If you see a writing challenge that appeals to you, you can respond directly to that challenge, by clicking the "Respond" link at the bottom.
Using this path to create your blog post automatically associates your post with the particular challenge. This makes it easier for the community to participate together. Great pieces often stand alone, even when written for a challenge. But it's great to see what different writers did with the same challenge!

The Create Form: For both ways of posting, once you've entered the "create" form, there are a few pieces of info you'll want to include.
  • You'll see that there are a couple of required fields when you create a blog post – they're the ones with the red stars.
  • You'll need to include a title, a genre, and either some text or some media. (We'll go through the process for adding media in the next series of how-to's.)
  • Your title will let people know what to expect from your piece, and the genre will help people search for pieces that they want to see.
  • Once you've filled in your title, genre, and the content that you came here to post, you can save your blog post, and let the community see it.
Publication: Posts default to being "submitted for publication;" meaning that we'll consider publishing them across our various channels. If you'd rather share your post on the website without the possibility of publication, you can select NO under "submit for publication."
Hidden: If you aren't ready to share the piece with the people on the site, you can select to leave the work "hidden" so that only you and YWP staff can see it. That way you can come back and work on it more later, and release it when it's ready.

Double-check to make sure everything is how you want it... and click save!
Adding images to your post
You can add images to your writing or submit them on your blog as standalone photos and art, as solo pieces or a slideshow.

Solo: If you want to add a photo to a post or create a new blog for a standalone image, go to Add Media > Image. Click the "browse" button to find the image on your computer, select it and click upload. Make sure you have filled in the title and category. Save.
Multiple Images in a Slideshow: You can also add multiple images at once to create a slideshow presentation. The process starts the same as adding a single image, opening up the "add media" section, and finding the image area. From here, you'll need to select the second image option: "Advanced upload." Once you open the advanced uploader, simply find the images you want to include, and drag and drop them to the designated area. Click the "Start upload" button and wait for the thumbnail images to appear. From here, you can rearrange the order of the slideshow, or decide to remove individual images. Remember to save!
Images in the Text: If you want to feature an image, but prefer to have it inserted directly into your text, you can use the media uploader. Scroll down to the body of the post (where you write your text). In the editor you'll see what looks like a photograph of a mountain. First, place your cursor where you want the image to appear in your text (you can make adjustments afterwards, but it's easiest if you insert it in the approximate location you want it). Next, click the image of the mountain, to bring up your file browser window. Click "browse" and find the image you want to insert. From here, you'll have to click through a couple of buttons. Click "upload," "next," "next," and "save." This will drop a full-sized version of your image into the preview window. Finally, you'll have to hit "submit" to get the image into your actual blog. Once the image has been dropped in, you can double-click it to change its size, alignment, border, and spacing. Play around with the options to get the right size and location. Spacing refers to how much space will show up between the image and the text beside (or above/below) it (measured in pixels). You'll want at least 3 or 4 pixels between your image and the text. Border refers to how wide the black line going around the image is, in pixels (1 or 2 usually suffices). You can upload multiple images, to various parts of your post, by placing your cursor at a different place in the post, and following the same steps. Once your image has found its final home, you are all set to save your work, and see your writing and images in all of their glory.
Audio
Uploading Audio: Create or open your post (remember Title and Category are required). Use only these types of audio files: .mp3, .m4a or .wav.
Go to Add Media > Audio Upload > Add a new File > Browse (find your audio file on your device)> Upload. Save.
Recording Audio: To record audio directly on your blog post, start by opening the Add Media tab. Click the Browse Audio button to bring up your audio options. In the media browser, select the Recorder tab. Click the green button that says "Start." You'll be prompted to select Audio or Video. Click the Audio option. This will direct the site to access your built-in microphone. You'll need to give the site access to your microphone. (Be sure to select "remember" before clicking "allow" if given the option.) After you allow/share your microphone with the site, you'll be greeted with a cool little audio-graphic. The next step is to "Press record to start recording." After you start recording, you'll see the timer begin counting, and you'll notice the waveform responding to the sound of your voice. Leave a couple of seconds at the beginning and end of the clip, so you don't cut off anything that you wanted to record. When you're finished recording, hit the stop button. Be sure to give your piece a title and category, and then select the save recording button, beneath the recorder. This will save the audio file to your blog post. From here, you can continue to work on your blog post, and when you save it, you'll see your audio displayed with your post.
Ways to connect with the YWP Community
Commenting is the most common way of connecting with someone's work. It's also the best way to get people to comment on your work! Leaving a comment is easy. To start, click the title of the piece you want to comment on, to open the piece up. Once you're looking at the complete piece, you'll see a comment/reply box to the right of the writing. Let the author know what you thought about their piece, and then click the big save button under the comment box. Be positive. Be encouraging. Be kind. Be honest. Constructive criticism with specific detail is helpful. Relating the piece to your own life or writing often starts a conversation. And a little love is always welcome. The author will be notified of your comment, and you can also choose to be notified if someone else leaves a comment. You can choose to be notified for all comments, replies to your own comment, or no notifications at all for this piece.
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Sprouts are a way for you to connect with a piece of writing at an ever deeper level than a comment. When we hear a story, see a story, watch a story – if we like it or it moves us – it makes us think of our own idea. We think that's the highest compliment you can make to someone else's piece. If you love someone's piece of writing, click the SPROUT button at the bottom of their piece. You'll essentially be using that piece as a writing challenge – once you click the sprout link, you'll be dropped into the "create" form, so you can start writing your own piece. The piece you create will be linked to the piece you sprouted from (and vice versa), so readers can jump from one to the other and see the thought process that led to your creation!
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Annotations are a special kind of feedback that YWP staff and mentors might leave on your piece, if they have some specific suggestions to make. Annotations are great because they can be directed at a specific segment of the writing, rather than to the entire piece. The other cool thing about annotations, is that other writers can't see them! Only the author of the piece, and the mentors and staff at YWP can see annotations. If you ever see a piece of your writing highlighted in yellow on the site, simply hover your mouse over the highlighted text, and an annotation will appear. Don't hesitate to contact a mentor or staff member if you're unsure of what they mean in their annotations (or comments).
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Loves are the simplest way to show your appreciation for a piece. Read a piece that you thought was great, and want to let the writer know quickly and easily? Click that love button! The author will get a notification that you loved their piece, and a tally of the total loves for that piece will appear at the bottom. If you have time, it's always good to leave a comment along with your love, to let the author know what you connected with – why you chose to give them a love.
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Private messages are a great way to get in touch with someone on the site – whether it be a mentor, staff member, or other young writer. Private messages are housed completely on the site, so you don't have to reveal any other personal information about yourself. Private messages are great for starting a collaboration, asking for feedback or clarification, or finding out how someone learned a tricky skill. Whenever you see someone's username, you can click it and you'll be transported to their profile page. On the left side of this page you'll see a link to "Send this user a private message." Click that link and you'll be able to fill in your message and send it directly to that user.
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Building skills: Young Writers Project is a lively, friendly, creative community of young writers and artists. It's also a place where you can learn and build your skills through mentoring, feedback, and online workshops. Watch the site for announcements of new workshops offered through the year.