Park City Library’s writing center open to all levels of wordsmiths
Bi-monthly sessions held on Wednesdays
Writing is more than nouns and verbs.
It’s a complex concept that involves prepositions, adverbs, adjectives, participles, synonyms, antonyms and correct spelling.
The process of composing sentences can be daunting, especially for someone who wants to correctly write an essay, book, or even a letter.
To help writers of all levels, the Park City Library offers a free writing center from 3-6 p.m. the first and third Wednesday of each month.
“The idea and goal is to reach out to the writing community in Park City and offer them coaching and editing through the writing process,” said Kate Mapp, Park City Library adult services librarian. “This is an opportunity for local writers to come and not only get help with their writing, but also brainstorm for ideas.”
Mapp said the writing center is also a great opportunity for students in junior high and high school to get writing advice.
“This can help them with ideas, or at least get their work edited by a professional,” she said. “If people bring their work on a flash drive, we can print it out for them.”
The library provides a sign-up sheet.
“It’s on a first-come, first-served basis, and we allow up to 30 minutes per person,” Mapp said. “If there is a longer waitlist, we will ask if they can work in groups or pairs.
“We’re flexible and we also provide some snacks.”
The writing center was conceived by professional writer and Park City resident Richard Ellis, whose articles have appeared in Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., Ad Age, Fortune, VentureBeat, TechCrunch and other publications. His website is penandpath.com.
Ellis met Mapp during a yoga class in January.
“I had been thinking about this idea since last fall and looked at the Park City Library website and saw Kate’s name and figured that’s who I would email,” Ellis said. “I then went to a yoga class and came to find that we were the only two in the class that day. So, I told her then I was going to email her about starting up a writing center.”
Ellis wanted Park City residents to know they have access to professional writers who can help with a book, blog post or essay.
“I think writing is a resource that is important but also something that people have a hard time getting access to,” he said. “If you’re a CEO of a business with a lot of spending power, you can hire a writer, but if you’re a student or just someone like that, getting professional writing assistance is hard.
“For people to have somewhere to come in every few weeks to show their work and get direct feedback is valuable.”
Ellis, who graduated summa cum laude from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts in History, didn’t know he would end up a writer.
“I studied history, but loved the research and writing aspect about it because there was something about interrogating dead people that was really fun,” he said with a smile.
Ellis learned about an internship at a wine media company in the Bay Area during his junior year.
“They just wanted someone to write articles for their daily newsletter,” he said. “I applied for the internship and ended up writing about wine for the summer.”
After graduating, Ellis taught English in Turkey for a year and landed a “typical” corporate job in a management-training program when he returned stateside.
“After a few months, I realized it wasn’t working for me,” he said.
At the time, one of Ellis’ former sister-in-laws, who was in public relations, complained to him about press releases.
“She was fed up with the writing and suggested I give it shot,” he said.
Ellis pitched his writing to a public relations firm and found himself with a full-time job a month later.
“There was that much need for writing,” he said. “And that’s something I still see today. There is an enormous demand for writing, especially for online.”
The Park City Writing Center is held from 3-6 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of the month at the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave. The free sessions are open to writers of all levels. Writers should bring a printed copy of work and will have the opportunity to spend 20 to 30 minutes — on a first-come, first-served basis — with a professional writer to brainstorm, plan and plot. For information, visit http://www.parkcitylibrary.org.
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