UI student to publish book of writing advice with 61 different authors

Caroline Meek publishes Project Canvas, a book written by 61 teen and young adult authors from all around the world


Adrian Enzastiga

Caroline Meek poses with her book, Project Canvas

Adrian Enzastiga, Arts Reporter

When it comes to storytelling, the more voices the better.

UI sophomore Caroline Meek is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Project Canvas. Project Canvas is a book written by 61 different teen or young adult authors from 15-28 years of age. The book teaches techniques and strategies for being a strong teen writer. The book has chapters on character building and how to write a good villain, and even a chapter dedicated to slang in the writing community.

Meek is an English and creative writing major on the publishing track and works as an office assistant at the Dey Writer’s Workshop House. She wrote the editor’s note and one chapter.

The book will be officially released Thursday, Nov. 15. It will be available on Amazon for $16.99; the book is self-published.

“We chose to self-publish because it was such a community-based project and there were so many people involved. We really wanted to have the experience of putting all the pieces together ourselves and being able to direct the project in the way we want it to go,” Meek said. “I think the freedom that we had with being able to put it all together made it more special because we did all the editing. That was the goal, in the end, to give these writers experience writing and publishing. I’m really glad that we were able to be so hands-on with it.”

Meek said that the book is geared towards beginning and amateur writers, or just anyone who needs inspiration.

“It’s also geared towards educators and people who are running a nonprofit, or a classroom for creative writing,” Meek said. “It’s split up into such short chapters and units based on elements of writing or what it’s like to be a writer. It would be good to use in a classroom or creative writing club because you can use a chapter per lesson.”

She described Project Canvas as “professional but very relatable.” Some of the young authors chose to interview older authors for their chapter, so there are mature perspectives as well.

Meek came up with the idea for this book almost two years ago in December of 2016 with her kindergarten friend, Olivia Rogers, who now attends Kansas State University.

Everyone is passionate about something, everyone knows something about something, that’s why this got started.

— Caroline Meek

“I grew up writing a lot and I realized that I wanted to share what I’ve learned. My friend and I decided to write this book,” Meek said. “We saw a lot of writing advice coming from authors that we really loved, but we also wanted something that came from people like us. We don’t know how to write about everything, so we got some of our friends together. Somebody knew how to write the chapter on character building, and somebody knew how to inspire you when you weren’t motivated to write.”

It soon expanded to authors from all around the world. Every young writer wrote at least one chapter, for a final 327-page, 71-chapter book written by 61 authors that come from 13 different countries and 6 continents. No two authors are from the same city. Many of these international authors also contributed to editing and formatting. According to Meek, they were able to bring together these young authors together via Facebook and other online sources.

“This global network, social media, and online writing communities, the blogging community, the twitter community, it’s where a lot of writers congregate,” she said. “We tapped into that and then it just spread all over. We just got a lot of people interested.”

Meek thanked many of her teachers and advisors for their help with Project Canvas, including Christopher Merrill, who wrote the forward of the book.

“So many mentors and people have given me advice and motivation,” she said. “There are so many people here who are willing to throw resources at you and be a mentor for you.”

Meek described the inspiration for the title of Project Canvas.

“Canvas is what artists use to put their work on. This book is a platform for writers to put their stories onto. We wanted to bring in the idea of inspiration and art,” she said. “This was kind of like a canvassing of the writing community. Project Canvas worked to gather these opinions from all over the world to put together this one resource.”

The book was an international community effort. Meek said she also hopes to partner with nonprofits in the future.

“If I had to boil down the mission statement of Project Canvas, it would be to inspire people to tell their stories and go out and do something, to find a community and just show people that their stories are worth telling,” she said. “Everyone is passionate about something, everyone knows something about something, that’s why this got started. That passion all put together is really powerful.”