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Review for The Office of Letters and Light, Berkeley, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I am writing on behalf of the Office of Letters and Light, a non-profit organization that sponsors free events that focus on creative writing. These programs include National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), held in November, and ScriptFrenzy, in April. These programs respectively encourage the writing of a 50,000 word novel and a 100-page script in a supportive, fun manner. These programs are open to people of all ages, and NaNo is international in scope.
I signed up for NaNoWriMo because my sister challenged me to it, and because a change in employment allowed me to have time for it. People, from teachers in grade school to writing friends, have long told me that I am a good writer. However, lack of time, and the sense of being blocked had kept me from writing anything more than e-mails a to-do lists.
NaNo forced me to stop being a perfectionist, and to just get the story out of my head and on to the electronic page. The encouraging e-mails from published authors, some well-known to me, others new, were full of such humor that I laughed out loud while reading them. The NaNo web site allows participants to communicate with other participants and ask for help from the writing community that the program creates. There are even some write-ins and parties associated with NaNo, which I was not able to attend but hope to in the future. I am impressed that the number of participants increases every year; I believe the 2010 count was somewhere north of 250,000.
I am pleased to say that I finished the challenge, and had such a good time doing so that I am not only planning to participate in NaNo again in 2011, but also want to attempt ScriptFrenzy in April.
I even made a donation to support the Office of Letters and Light's school writing programs. I strongly support the notion that such programs must be available. In these difficult economic times in which tax receipts are down and the costs for education are up, I believe that any free program that encourages literacy and writing are an absolute necessity. So often, creative programs are the first to be cut as school systems focus their teaching efforts on the basics that will allow students to pass the standardized exams. To have available classroom instruction and encouragement is essential to cultivating communication skills in the next generation. Those skills could be the difference between career success and career failure.
Thank you!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

getting past my writing blocks. I also contributed to the OLL's classroom writing programs, and will no doubt do so again.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

strengthen its Website to offer more bells and whistles and enable easier communication amongst participants (there are so many!)

Role:  Client Served & For the first time, I wrote a 50,000-plus word novel, and enjoyed the process, along with over 200,000 other participants (not everyone hit the 50,000-word mark).