David Weinstein, the founder of Write The World, shares with Girl Power Talk his vision behind creating a global community of empathetic, talented, and young writers. At his organization, he is committed to building a safe space for young writers to hone their skills, share their talent with the world, and get peer feedback.
I grew up in New York City in the 1960s at a time of social unrest. My father practiced law and my mother taught college philosophy and religion. They showed me that writing can connect the dots of my learning. In high school and college, to find my place in that turbulent world, I wrote poems in spiral notebooks that I shared with friends.
After college, I earned a law degree and wrote as an advocate, giving voice to others. I loved to get my creative juices flowing and help people solve their legal problems. At some point, I knew it was time to take off my father’s shoes and step into those of my mother. This set off the process that helped me become who I am today. I relished the life of an educator, volunteering on school boards and teaching law school. One spring, evaluating term papers, I realized that most law students had the right mindset but some were unable to adequately express their thoughts on paper. They were good orators but poor writers. Unfortunately, the American education system focuses too little attention on developing writing skills. I was determined to change that.
I started Write the World with the intention to create an international online community of students who had the desire to write. It’s a welcoming space where teenagers, ages 13-19, write, publish, and receive comments on their work with the utmost respect, understanding, compassion, and empathy. Our writers’ kind-hearted character is the special glue that keeps the community vibrant and engaged. Writing is a social act and community support is essential.
Our monthly writing competitions invite writers to submit pieces that everyone can read and respond to with honest feedback. I often log on to read these writings because they inspire me with their optimism. It is rewarding to see how passionately and creatively students express themselves. Through our community, teens grow as global citizens, developing writing skills and empathy. It is inspiring to see how our writers value each word they write, especially at this time when many throw words around thoughtlessly and with aggression. Words are sacred and powerful. They can bring people together. Our young writers give me confidence that Generation Z can change the world in ways that my generation failed to.
We plan to engage more schools and educators to create virtual classrooms and provide curricula to expand our global writing community, including in India. Most services on Write the World are free because our primary goal was never profit, rather education.
I live by the mantra that life is a marathon. The finish line is far in the distance, and there is lots to learn along the way. With self-awareness and reflection, the finish line might change with time. Reflecting on any failure is a great way to improve, change direction, and discover your authentic self. Working at Write the World helps me overcome some of the barriers of my own making. As a lawyer, I was trained to be risk-averse, but now I have learned to take reasonable risks to accomplish worthy goals. There is little in life that we are solely accountable for. Therefore, give credit to others where it is due, and do not take it hard when things do not work out.
My advice to budding writers is to write what you know. Balance writing from within yourself with an understanding of your audience. Finally, understand what writing routines motivate you. Remember, good writers are also good readers, so read, read, read.