Write-alongs & Write-ins

Write-ins are optional live sessions where participants gather to write independently, together. Juniper staff—students in the UMass MFA for Poets and Writers—share generative prompts and multimedia inspiration, as well as help participants troubleshoot, share, brainstorm together, and build community in the creative process. Write-ins are not offered during the summer Juniper Young Writers Online.

Write-alongs are sets of writing prompts and challenges that guide participants through a daily writing practice. They are a chance for young writers to put into practice the lessons, techniques, and craft elements they have been learning throughout the week, or to simply write and explore on their own. The Write-along materials will remain accessible to participants after the program has ended.

During Juniper's summer programs, participants receive two Write-alongs each day, for a total of ten self-guided writing sessions. During the JYWO Winter Workshops, participants receive one Write-along each day, for a total of four self-guided writing sessions.

Write-alongs and Write-ins are offered during the Juniper Institute for Young Writers, Juniper Young Writers Online, and the JYWO Winter Workshops.

Here's a sample of one of the Write-alongs from the 2022 winter program:

Finding the Strange in the Mundane, a winter 2022 Juniper write-along. The text of the write-along is laid out in four rounded rectangles. The text of the Write-along is below this image.

Finding the Strange in the Mundane (a home exercise)


Choose something in your writing space that you have not been paying attention to or may not have noticed (the pattern in the carpet, a sticker, a mark on the wall, a scuff on your fingernail, a paperclip, etc). Take some time to study this thing, making it the center of your attention. What do you notice about it? What new associations does this attention bring up for you? How does your attention transform this thing, the space, your writing?

Warm Up:

Choose an activity or task that you do every day, something small and maybe mundane, like brushing your teeth or writing in your journal. Take a minute to jot down notes about the sensory experience of this action and/or the sensations you associate with it. Think about smell, sight, sound, feel, and taste. Try to be specific!

10 Minute Prompt

In as much detail as you can, describe this action/activity you chose. Narrativize it, breaking it up into many small parts. Dramatize it by exaggerating the time it takes to complete this action or the significance of the action in your life or in the world. Describe this action in a way that elevates it out of the mundane.

30 Minute Prompt

Drawing from your description, begin writing a story or poem that connects the action or sensations you described to a larger idea, concept, or thought. Feel free to make large and surprising leaps! What does brushing your teeth have to do with the formation of the universe? How does the act of writing in your journal relate to the concept of love?