Hi everyone! Thank you for visiting my blog. Today, I’ll be introducing you to my organization, The Young Writers Initiative. TYWI was established in January of 2020, so it’s still a baby, but we’ve grown is expansively, so I wanted to introduce you all to why I started it, and how it’s gone this far.
This may become a series (if you would like) where I document my journey with TYWI. My laughing moments and my struggles. I know there are so many of you who want to start an organization from scratch as well, so I hope this helps you get your idea off the ground.
The first in the series: Why I Founded The Young Writers Initiative
Let me start this off with a funny story. In September, my friend Brent and I wanted to create a school literary journal, but that idea was quickly shot down by our admin because “they can’t regulate creativity” which is code for “we don’t want any school publication to insinuate something we don’t agree with.” We wanted to start a creative writing club, but there was a lack of interest and with the failed attempt at a lit journal, we were demoralized.
In December, I realized I was broke, and unless I pulled my weight and started a business to get some money in, I’d be struggling through college. I didn’t have a job (my school schedule wouldn’t allow it), and I needed something to make me stand out.
Bam! I decided I was going to be an editor. People would pay me to read and edit their works at a cheaper price than anyone in the market. I’d be able to stay home, show something to colleges, and get some big buck in.
Three problems immediately revealed themselves:
- 1. I hated editing with a passion
- 2. The industry standard for an average 100,000 word novel is upwards of $2000 dollars, and being cheaper than while not being ripped off is around $500 per edit.
- 3. No one was going to pay an amateur writer like me to edit their novel.
It became very apparent to me that this plan was destined to fail, so I was back to square one.
But then I began to think: so many young writers skip the very vital editing process because of the exhoribant price of services, and that harms them because it leaves them subpar work, lack of growth, and may tarnish their writing reputation.
In fact, so many young writers are thrown in the shark pond and expected to wade through the risky waters themselves. Sure, booktube and inspirational quotes help, but so many contests cost a lot, publications rarely accept young writers, and education is restricted to either expensive camps, local creative writing clubs, or instagram tips by…fellow young, amature writers.
I also still wanted to create a literary journal featuring youngsters.
Thus, The Young Writers Initiative was born.
On January 1st, 2020, I gave myself a goal: establish and grow The Young Writers Initiative.
What started out as an organization dedicated to editing and beta reading quickly grew into something much more. I noticed more and more problems that needed to be solved. Brent and I picked Board Members and got moving. We got an overwhemingly positive response and were so excited to see this come into fruition.
January 26th was when our board was put together. We needed to work fast. Our first contest was set to be in February, Enamor. We created a website, our instagram page, guides, structures, and resources in a matter of a week. We were all motivated and excited to get our buzzing ideas off the floor.
Contests, lit journals, services, future clubs, we thought of so much, but the overwhelming amount of hopes and ideas I had began to overwhelm me. I had so much to do at home and school, and as we rapidly expanded projects and people had to drop out, it became harder than ever.
Here’s my first tip to those hopefuls creating an organization: one step at a time. When you jump too far ahead of you, you lose footing and your entire system crumbles. That’s the last thing you want.
Eventually, I rehired my board and got these big plans moving again, one step at a time, and now look at us!
This is another reason I founded TYWI. I love building something from scratch, whether it be a book, a blog, a club at school, or an organization. I get excited by the idea of expanding my horizons and testing the limits of how far I go. I love to work: people say I’m a hardworker, and if you’re hard working with a good support system, your IQ doesn’t matter all the much.
I wanted to build something from scratch that directly impacted young writers by giving them opportunities and services that make them better. I also wanted to be able to give people volunteer hours by doing something they love, whether it be editing, reading, judging, designing, teaching, or more.
Trust me, building something from scratch is far from easy. It takes time and stress and anger and vexation and utter belief in yourself and your mission, but if you’ve got those traits, the sky’s your limit.
TYWI was a challenge particularly because I had to find free or affordable alternatives for team management and logistic platforms. I spent days researching websites, team management platforms, weighing the costs and making decisions based on what is for me and what isn’t.
But it’s the challenge that makes it fun. Do I particularly like creating volunteer guides or designing the webiste? No, I’d much rather be doing something with the team or contacting more partners, but that’s okay. There will be parts of running an organization or project that you won’t like, but you do it because you love it. You do it because you see the impact it’s made in other people’s lives. You do it because you believe in it.
You do it because you believe in yourself.
So tackle the challenge of a problem that seems to have a non-existant solution. Tackle the challenges in your community that need creative solutions. Dare to believe that this little dream of yours could one day change the world.
This is the last section in this article about TYWI and my personal projects, but it’s probably the most significant or stressful part of it. Maybe I want to change the world in my own little way. Maybe I want to change one young writers life so they can change one writers life so they could change another persons life and the spread of influence and inspiration goes on until it touches an unthinkable number of souls.
But if you want to change the world, know this: changing your community is changing the world. The world is built like a course of dominos, tightly packed together, branching in different directions, beautifully chaotic yet connected. And when you tip one domino over, that causes a dozen others to fall too.
Part of changing the world is looking in you and realizing you will have to change too. It’s okay to make mistakes, to get upset, to ruin something, to mess up. That’s part of learning. Try avoiding mistakes when you can, and always remember that whatever you say or do now can come and haunt you in 30 years. Be cautious yet daring. Take that risk, but have a safety net. Think logically and reasonably. Reflect upon yourself before you cast judgement on others. Be empathetic.
A leader is someone who is an empathetic, disagreeable giver, someone who has a clear vision and dream, but gives wiggle room and space for their dreams to function within yours. You should understand people, love people, and be flexible. You should hold your ideas to esteem, but don’t be hesistant for someone else to shine too.
A leader is the person who leads the pack, but makes sure no one gets left behind.
I’ll write an article about what I learned about leadership thus far soon. Until then, thank you for reading.