StoryStudio Chicago Blog Posts

  • The World’s a Vast Stage: A Conversation with Mike Zapata

    This summer, instructor Mike Zapata is leading a new and unique Summer Creative Writing Youth Camp. The camp, titled The World Is a Vast Stage: Writing and Performing, takes place…

  • Top 9 Pub Crawl Panels As Romance Tropes

    February is the season of two things: love and Pub Crawl.

  • 2024 Winter Term Classes as Taylor Swift Songs

    As the resident StoryStudio Swiftie, I decided to pair all of our Winter Term class offerings with Taylor Swift songs.

  • 20 Stories: (#20) Jill Pollack

    Twenty years may seem like a long time but they have passed in an instant and it still feels to me like we are in the early stages of our tenure as an educational literary arts center

  • 20 Stories: (#19) Kavita Das

    And so I, and a handful of others, became one of the first students at StoryStudio Chicago, Jill’s new writing center.

  • 20 Stories: (#18) Nadine Kenney Johnstone

    My students were getting published. I watched them launch dozens of memoirs and countless stand-alone pieces. And, on top of it all, they created writing accountability cohorts and became life-long friends. There is no more rewarding outcome for a writing teacher than this. And StoryStudio had created the space to foster it all. 

  • 20 Stories: (#17) Mal Pavel

    There is a tacit understanding that if we don’t use our voices, the only power we really have as writers, then we might watch others tell our stories for us and paint a very different picture.

  • 20 Stories: (#16) Bridget C.

    This group is still together, still meeting every Wednesday. Some of us have turned eighteen this year. Some of us are getting college acceptance letters now and talking about graduation. But when we first met, all we talked about was what high school was going to be like. How did we grow up so fast?

  • 20 Stories: (#15) Zac Ginsburg

    Standing in the studio as the kids convened in their summer outfits and backpacks filled with notebooks, pens, and snacks, I discovered the joy of teaching creative writing, of giving these kids a space to be their brilliant, zany selves…

  • 20 Stories: (#14) Denise Santomauro

    I went into that first class with something to prove. I knew I was meant to live my life in stories. I’d gotten my undergraduate degree in theatre and had been acting for a few years, so my life already revolved around storytelling. But now, I wanted to live out the writing dream I’d abandoned…

  • 20 Stories: (#13) Jeremy Owens

    In the darkest time, Megan encouraged me to believe, and she made my book feel achievable. I will always be grateful to Megan, and StoryStudio for that time, that lifesaving class, and for the beautiful writing community they foster. 

  • 20 Stories: (#12) Ines Bellina

    To say I owe my writing career to StoryStudio is not an exaggeration. Yes, I love my hyperboles, but in this case the gushing is warranted. This is the place that believes in you before you even start believing in yourself.

  • 20 Stories: (#11) Jasmine Sawers

    While writing itself is a deeply solitary endeavor, I came to realize that the support of other writers during the writing process was invaluable and, indeed, exactly what I had been missing since finishing my MFA.

  • 20 Stories: (#10) Rowan Beaird

    The first time I went to StoryStudio was for a write-in. I loved that the space felt like an apartment—the creak of the wood floors, the ambient bubbling of a kettle, deep couches, warm lights. Though it attracts talented, accomplished writers, there’s nothing intimidating about the space, and that sense of warmth and community is…

  • 20 Stories: (#9) Alan Kercinik

    We had what we needed, just the same. Chairs arranged in a circle. Writing to share. And that nervous alchemy of belief and hope. The belief that writing mattered. The hope that our writing, one day, might.

  • 20 Stories: (#8) Suchitra Gururaj

    I knew when I saw [Jill’s plan] that she’d created something indispensable in a city that had all the talent of literary Brooklyn but not quite the same scaffolds.

  • 20 Stories: (#7) Carol Ludwick

    The sense of community was palpable as was the camaraderie of working side by side with others who had the same goal, to be the best storytellers they could be. And some of those storytellers became cherished friends. 

  • 20 Stories: (#6) Dan Finnen

    For me, StoryStudio is more than classes. it’s a place where I found people who lived to write, who wanted to talk about it, and who continued being some of my best friends years after our classes ended.

  • 20 Stories: (#5) Sahar Mustafah

    And more than a book, the program produced a more permanent effect on my writing: a newfound community of other like-minded writers

  • 20 Stories: (#4) Addison

    StoryStudio was there for me during all the uncertainty of 2020. They were there when I grew into my capabilities a little more. And they were ready to accept where I was.

  • 20 Stories: (#3) Dionna Griffin-Irons

    I am connected to some of the most prolific & talented writers in this community who have helped shape my own craft as student and instructor.

  • 20 Stories: (#2) Scott Onak

    No one chooses a project like this — in writing, work, life — knowing exactly what it will demand. And even if we did, for the ones worth doing, we’d do it anyway.

  • 20 Stories: (#1) Ericka Carmona-Vega

    Ultimately, StoryStudio Chicago’s teachings and empowering methods of inquiry led me to finish my first novel of the Rise series.

  • The Importance of a Writing Practice

    by Denise Santomauro Prior to writing, I was in the performing arts. Auditioning, rehearsals, and performances were a regular part of my life. There’s another aspect of being a performing…

  • Q&A with “Creative Writing Essentials” instructor Aram Mrjoian

    Aram Mrjoian is a writer, editor, critic, and educator. He is teaching an upcoming multi-week class called “Creative Writing Essentials” which starts on October 6. Aram shared some of this thoughts around…