As our publishing programs grew, Inklings mentor Beth Spencewood stepped in to take on the role of Director of Youth Publication Programs at Society of Young Inklings. We are so glad to have Beth on the team to shape and grow our Fresh Ink and Your Name in Ink programs. In this interview, Beth shares more about her role as director of the programs.

What inspired you to move into the Director of Youth Publishing Programs Role?

I worked in nonprofits my whole career before getting an MFA in writing. This role lets me use my organization and coordination skills and also the creative and technical skills I gained getting an MFA. It’s great to do something that is challenging, uses my skills, and also values craft and creativity. The young authors we get to work with are incredible and it’s so fun to help them create something that worked really hard on and then share it with others.


What do you enjoy about this role?

I’ve gotten the chance to learn about so many new things and collaborate with people I would never have otherwise, including writing mentors, copyeditors, cover illustrators, and the young authors themselves. Writing can be such a solitary experience but Inkling’s publication program is a team working together to bring a young person’s book to life.


Why is that program important to you?

It would have been so powerful if I had been encouraged to share my voice in this way as a kid. It took me years to be comfortable sharing my writing with anyone and it’s inspiring to see young people work on their craft and make their story the best it can be for their readers.


How has the Inklings community supported you and your dream?

Inklings has been extremely helpful as I learn the ropes. I’ve been trained on every aspect of the publishing process while also giving me the power to shape the program. Our Executive Director has a lot of expertise and is always available for support.


How have you grown while pursuing this dream?

I’m still pretty new to the position but I’ve learned a lot about the publication process!


What’s next? What’s your vision?

I would love to be able to offer more scholarships to the publishing program. Nothing tells a young person that their voice matters quite like having their book published by a team of professionals and available to the public and I’d love to see more people realizing that dream.


How can the Inklings community support you in activating that vision?

Encourage young people in your life to write! So many people get stuck thinking they aren’t a good enough writer yet that they just decide it isn’t for them. Writing and revising is a craft that can be learned and it’s never too early to learn how to effectively express yourself.


Beth Spencewood grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota where she spent the long winters reading her favorite books and writing funny short stories starring her friends. She got a bachelor’s degree in psychology and worked in nonprofit management for many years. Now she has an MFA in writing and writes novels for young adults. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling, playing board games, biking with her family, or cross-stitching.

Support Grit, Empathy, and Vision through Creative Writing

When passionate youth mentor with talented pros, they not only grow as writers, but they develop core skills that affect every area of their lives.  In Inklings programs, youth learn practical strategies for developing as artists, gain creative momentum, and tap into the power of their voices as they share their work with peers and a reading audience. Thank you for our financial support of Society of Young Inklings.