Monday, March 21, 2011

Dancing With The Pen - guest blogger Dallas Woodburn

Ink Slinger's Whimsey welcomes guest blogger Dallas Woodburn as she celebrates the release of . . . 

Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today’s best youth writing
“The best children’s book writers are not people who have kids, but people who write from the child within themselves.”
— Andrea Brown

In 2010, I founded the youth publishing company Write On! Books with the belief that young people need and deserve a vehicle to share their unique voices with each other, and with society as a whole. Our debut anthology, Dancing With The Pen, features stories, poems, and essays by more than sixty young writers in middle school and high school from across the United States and even abroad: Singapore, Canada, and New Zealand.

Write On! Books has a twofold goal: give young writers an outlet for expression, while also publishing exciting, creative work that gets kids excited about reading. Dancing with the Pen is a book for young writers, young readers, and the young at heart. I like to tell young people, “Even if you are not normally a big reader, this book is still for you. Maybe you'll recognize yourself in these pages.” I hope people who read this book are inspired to pick up a pen, step out on the dance floor, and go for a whirl themselves.

The idea to start Write On! Books was sparked within me more than a decade ago, when I released my first book, There’s a Huge Pimple On My Nose: a collection of stories and poems. I was in fifth grade, and the book – and my writing dreams – snowballed in magical ways I had not thought possible. Pimple was reviewed in national media outlets including CosmoGIRL!, Girls’ Life, and The Los Angeles Times. I was interviewed by newspapers and radio shows. I spoke at various writers conferences and book fairs, and the Santa Barbara Book Festival had a “Dallas Woodburn Day.” Perhaps most important of all was the thrill of seeing my own words in print. I felt proud and energized – the excitement of Christmas morning paled in comparison. My self-confidence blossomed. My love of writing intensified. I wanted to be a writer. I saw myself as a writer!

In the thirteen years since Pimple debuted, I have published a second collection of stories; contributed pieces to dozens of magazines, newspapers, websites, and Chicken Soup for the Soul books; written plays that were produced in Ventura and Los Angeles, California; and am currently pursuing my Master’s degree in fiction writing at Purdue University.

When I visit schools to speak about my own personal writing journey, I always ask the students if any of them are interested in writing. Usually a few tentative hands raise. In contrast, at the end of my talks when I ask the same question, nearly all the students excitedly thrust up their hands as if trying to touch the ceiling. Many young people tell me they didn’t know kids could be writers. Not only can kids be writers, they can be brilliant writers! They can write imaginative, touching, thought-provoking pieces, as Dancing With The Pen attests. And writing, especially for young people, can create many amazing opportunities.

The mission of Write On! For Literacy, which I founded in 2001, is to encourage kids to discover joy, confidence, a means of self-expression and connection to others through writing and reading. Activities and projects include writing contests, fun creative writing workshops, and an annual Holiday Book Drive that has collected and distributed nearly 12,000 new books to disadvantaged kids. For every copy purchased of Dancing With The Pen, a new book will be donated to Write On’s Holiday Book Drive to benefit disadvantaged youth.

Copies of Dancing With The Pen are available on Amazon:

Discounted bulk orders are also available through our website:



Bio: Dallas Woodburn is the author of two award-winning collections of short stories and editor of Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today’s best youth writing. She has written more than 80 articles and essays for national publications including Family Circle, Writer’s Digest, The Los Angeles Times, and the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Creative Writing and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Fiction Writing at Purdue University, where she also teaches undergraduate writing courses.



  1. Vonnie, thank you so much for your kind words and support!

  2. Hi, Dallas! Great to see you and Vonnie working together. Congratulations on your new book.