The Power of Prose

By Jennifer Ward, student, School for Graduate Studies, Metropolitan Center-Manhattan Unit

October 5, 2012

Writers worldwide, both professional and amateur, will unite to honor the significance writing has in our lives by participating in the fourth annual National Day on Writing on Oct. 20 and National Novel Writing Month in November.

The National Day on Writing marks its fourth annual celebration Oct. 20. Established and sponsored by the National Council for Teachers of English, this day addresses the vast variety of writing we engage in and its purpose, and helps us to grow as writers. Schools and communities across the nation participate in writing marathons, exhibitions and various contests. There are a number of ways to become involved such as writing, spreading the word and connecting within your community.

NCTE also formed the National Gallery of Writing in 2009, a website where visitors can access archives of more than 3,000 writing entries nationwide. Unfortunately, the National Gallery of Writing is no longer accepting submissions; however, prior contributions still can be viewed. For more information about the National Day on Writing or the National Gallery of Writing, please visit

National Novel Writing Month, celebrated in November, is an exciting, no-holds-barred approach to writing a novel. Everyone is encouraged to join this challenge, which begins at midnight Nov. 1. The objective is to write a 50,000 word novel by midnight, Nov. 30. Since there is a 30-day limit, the focus is more on quantity rather than quality, which helps writers move beyond those moments of despair to let the words pour onto the page. Within these 30 days, writers can create a solid foundation for a story that can be revisited later for editing. According to NaNoWriMo, "256,618 participated and 36,843 of them crossed the 50,000 finish line by the midnight deadline."

If you would like your name to be added to the official list of winners, you need to complete the 50,000 word mark by midnight Nov. 30. To sign up for this challenge, you can create a free account anytime and add your name to the list at

In light of our writing celebrations, I'd also like to mention a book I came across as I began writing this article, "On Writing Well" by William Zinsser; writer, editor and teacher. Zinsser's book offers invaluable advice for anyone who wants to improve their writing by explaining how to use words as tools, developing a writing style and avoiding clutter. Although his book was first published 36 years ago, it has been updated several times to keep up with society's steady changes. After reading "On Writing Well," I felt compelled to mention it because of its enthusiasm, sincerity and how much more I feel I've learned about the writing process.

Information in this article was retrieved from and

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Did You Know...

The new online program for students called Living Lean is available at no additional charge. Visit the Student Wellness Assistance Program site to learn more.

Student/Alumni Profile

Meet Michael Alston, by Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

Article Contributors
  • Helen Edelman
  • Jessica Estremera
  • Kameylah A. Hakim
  • Diana Hawkins
  • David Henahan
  • Thomas Kerr
  • Vickie Moller
  • Stephanie Schiffer
  • Janet Shideler
  • Jennifer Ward

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