The fifth annual National Writing Day took place on 23 June 2021, celebrating the power and pleasure of creative writing. This year’s celebrations took place both online and in schools, to ensure as many people as possible had the opportunity to put pen to paper.
After more than a year of separation, our theme for National Writing Day 2021 was connection. Our #FilltheBox activity challenged participants to write 280 Twitter characters or fill a post-it sized box with a poem, story or letter of connection. #NationalWritingDay trended on Twitter throughout the morning of the 23rd, and more than 500 people and seventy schools engaged with our Fill the Box challenge online. Here we have collated just a few of the incredible submissions we read.
Although this year’s National Writing Day focused on engaging schools to take part, people of all ages and writing abilities responded to the #FilltheBox Challenge. We saw an array of themes and subjects coming up, from letters to grandparents and celebrations of home and heritage to an exploration of a bug’s life and an ode to WIFI! We soon saw common themes trending in response to our theme of connection, with many participants exploring community, family, renewed freedoms and connecting with the natural world once again. Scrolling through the tagged stories really gave a sense of events and how the nation was feeling.
What follows is only a small sample of the stories and poems tagged on Twitter (though you can read more here.) We haven’t included the many stories shared on Instagram, Facebook, by email and via messaging apps, or the many stories that forgot to include the hashtag.
Community and family
Unsurprisingly, the impact of physically and emotionally reconnecting with family and friends shone through in the #FilltheBox responses. It was also deeply moving to see people responding to the National Writing Challenge with stories of loved ones lost during the pandemic, demonstrating once again the power of creative writing in sharing your story and giving voice to your feelings and experiences.
The natural world
After more than a year and a half of varying degrees of separation from the outside world and those (somewhat repetitive) lockdown walks, it was clear to see from the #FilltheBox responses that writers of all ages were finding connection in nature as they stepped outside.
We can’t describe the pleasure of seeing National Writing Day return to schools. While the importance of digital accessibility can’t be emphasised enough, we’re so glad that students were able to celebrate the power and pleasure of creative writing in person. Some lovely schools were kind enough to share a selection of their students’ writing from the day. Click the posts below to read threads of creative writing from young voices!
These snapshots represent only a tiny sample of the volume of creative writing inspired by this year’s National Writing Day. We now cannot wait to do it all again next year—although we can’t imagine what the trending themes will be then!