Dallas Woodburn Writes On
Feature by Justine Manzano
Her story would make a great book—and she would probably be the one to write it. Dallas Woodburn is a young Californian starting her first year of College at USC at the age of eighteen. She is eighteen—and she has written and published two short story collections, various articles, has won a myriad of awards, and runs a website, www.zest.net/writeon, which heralds a successful non-profit organization.
Write On, was created by Dallas after the publication of her first short story collection, There’s a Huge Pimple On My Nose, at the age of ten. She was much more successful than she had originally expected thanks to the support of the people around her, and she decided that she wanted to help support other young writers like her. Using the proceeds of Pimple, Dallas set to work creating a website that would be the flagship of her mission.
Write On was created to “encourage children to gain knowledge and have fun reading and writing”. Dallas keeps the site interesting with a myriad of tidbits for the young writer. Dallas, who communicates with many published writers to gain writing tips, posts a writer’s quote on the main page of her site—a new one for every month. Her site also includes a section with writing prompts to help young writers beat writer’s block and a “Find Your Genre” writing quiz, which turned out to be fairly accurate as it pegged me for writing fiction—my first love. There are sections of the website with tips, a links section, and a free newsletter.
The best thing about this site is it’s organized contests and fundraisers. Write On holds essay contests and read-a-thons and includes a Writer’s Corner on the website, where young writers can send in their poetry and short stories and have them critiqued by Dallas. The site also showcases book reviews by young writers. The largest attraction of Write On at the moment, is it’s annual Holiday Book Drive, with the motto “Toys get broken, but books last a lifetime”. In four years of the drive, 6,390 books have been collected and contributed to underprivileged kids for Christmas. An excellent idea, indeed!
Current activities include the book collection for this years Holiday Book Drive and Write On’s first annual Short Story Contest. So, if you know any young readers who would be interested, or if you would like to send books to the Holiday Book Drive, please visit www.zest.net/writeon for more details.
While the site could use some more updating (it’s just a tad out of date at certain points), it is a great wealth of information and a fun place for kids to feel comfortable in their own literary skin, without any fear of backlash or that strange, pitying look young writers tend to get when they declare their passion for writing—and get glared at as thought they will grow old immensely poor and unhappy. A fun site for everyone and a great and caring idea, Write On, is just plain heartwarming—Dallas Woodburn should be proud of herself.
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