For anyone dreaming of writing the next Harry Potter, hitting the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 or making an Oscar-winning movie, you’re in luck. Downtown bookshop and “artificial bird sanctuary” Writer’s Block is offering workshops for every kid and teen out there who wants to explore their creativity. With subjects ranging from poetry, songwriting, playwriting and flash fiction to role-playing and puppet making, the Writer’s Block workshops have a little bit of something for everyone.
And the best part is, all of them are absolutely free.
“We’re recruiting more teachers and dividing those classes into smaller classes, four-five at a time … I hate turning kids away.”
Created by Scott Seeley, The Writer’s Block owner and a trained educator, Seeley came up with the idea of a free writing program for kids in 2004, while working in New York. “The idea behind the workshops is essentially make writing fun for kids…” Seeley says. “Learning craft is important, but it’s more important to get students excited about it because if you’re excited about it, then you’ll want to learn more about it.”
The workshops are open only to six students, who are chosen by lottery, and range from ages 5 to 8, 9 to 11, 11 to 14 and 14 to 18 to keep them manageable. Although nearing the end on its second month, the workshops have had an overwhelming response, with 20 kids signing up for one workshop. To keep up with the demand, Seeley says, “We’re recruiting more teachers and dividing those classes into smaller classes, four-five at a time … I hate turning kids away.”
To also help offset the demand, Seeley has reached out to local educators to develop a field trip option for students. So worry not, future laureates, if you can’t make it.
Workshops are also led by some of the finest writers the city has to offer. While Seeley and his other staff member lead some of them, other instructors include local artists, journalists, bloggers and students from the MFA and Ph.D writing programs at UNLV.
“We help them create a lesson plan if they’ve never worked with kids,” Seeley says, “More often than not, we’ll sit in with the classes just to help coordinate.” Either way, kids and parents can rest assured that they’re in knowledgable hands.
The most exciting part about the workshops is that whenever kids finish a workshop, their hard work will result in a product they can take home.
“Writing class will actually result in a book. For the songwriting class, we’re going to the recording studio across the street [National Southwestern Recording, inside 11th Street Records] with the kids after they write the song to record the songs with musicians,” Seeley says. “Down the road for the screenplay workshop, they’ll write a screenplay and we’ll make films with the kids.”
So if you or your kids have the writing bug and dream big, why not sign up for a workshop? It’s all free, and you have nothing to lose … except yourself, into words and imagination.
Writer’s Block Book Shop, 1020 Fremont St #100, (702) 550-6399