The Amazing Writing Race
Writing competition shows kids Power of the Pen
My mind went blank. I just stared at the empty piece of paper in front of me, pen in hand, waiting for the perfect idea to come. I was trying to answer a prompt at a regional Power of the Pen competition in Ohio.
Power of the Pen (POP) is an interscholastic writing competition where 7th and 8th grade members express themselves through quick compositions. POP teams are formed within junior high schools across Ohio. Most hold regular practices just like a sports team.
The big deal for me is the competition at the tournaments. We are asked to participate in three rounds of writing. In each round, you are given a prompt—and just 40 minutes to turn in a response!
For example, I was given the prompt, “What’s it like to be in between?” I decided to write from the point of view of a book that was in between owners. The judges liked it enough to give me a Best of Round award!
The sooner you can dream up a storyline, the better, because you need every second possible to put pen to paper and write it all down. And your creative juices had better be flowing, since there’s only five minutes between rounds!
After the judges grade our pieces, awards are given out. If you do well enough at the district competition, you get to advance to regionals, and maybe even state.
Developing an entire piece in 40 minutes is definitely challenging, but that’s part of the fun of POP. I’ve definitely honed my imagination and creative writing skills while participating. Most importantly, I’ve had a lot of fun doing it. And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about!
PHOTO: Kid Reporter Meggie Zahneis responds to a Power of the Pen prompt. She participates in the Ohio interscholastic writing competition as part of a school team. (Photo Courtesy Meggie Zahneis)