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Digital Writing Month Focuses on New Forms of Writing

Marylhurst sponsors month-long challenge to encourage and inspire writers.

Whether you text and blog or write novels, you're a writer. And the digital space brings many new opportunities to convey meaning. Those are just two of the lessons Marylhurst University hopes to share during Digital Writing Month, the online writing challenge it is sponsoring throughout November to shine a spotlight on the nature and practice of digital writing.

The event is a challenge for participants, and also serves as a massive open online course and a research tool for those interested in the practice of digital writing. Participants in Digital Writing Month ( are encouraged to write 50,000 words throughout November. They'll have a lot of help along the way from event facilitators, who will post exercises and ideas to spur new writing habits and inspire fresh thinking about a range of projects, from blogs to poems to text and image combinations. On November 17, participants will have the opportunity to gather on the Marylhurst campus for "The Night of Writing Digitally," where they can meet their fellow writers and cheer each other on in their projects.

"Digital writing can affect the way people write for print and the way they read. It can even affect the author's voice and how the audience responds to the text," said Jesse Stommel, director of Marylhurst's English and digital humanities online program. "Digital Writing Month will allow participants to really delve into what makes writing in an online environment different. And they'll get some excellent writing practice that encourages community and collaboration."

The month-long online event is sponsored by Marylhurst's English and digital humanities online program, which is launching a new bachelor's degree in January 2013 that integrates writing, literary studies and the humanities in a digital environment; most of the degree will be earned through online courses, with only periodic trips to the Marylhurst campus. The writing challenge is inspired by National Novel Writing Month, a similar event that encourages participants to write novels of 50,000 words during November.

Digital Writing Month will bring together a diverse audience – from local high school and college students to teachers and writers from around the country and world – to participate in digital writing projects. Digital writing includes all text written, transferred and published electronically, from email and text messages to blog and Twitter posts and Facebook updates. With digital writing, it's not just the words that matter; the images, formats and channels writers choose all provide important context in conveying the message.

"Digital writing is a core practice for the emerging field of digital humanities. But it's also mostly misunderstood," added Stommel. "We can no longer write the way we used to write, because the writing itself isn't the same as it used to be. When people join us in our experiment with digital writing, I think they'll discover that writing has evolved in surprising ways."

To learn more, visit the Digital Writing Month website at or follow @DigitalEnglish and @DigiWriMo on Twitter. For more information about Marylhurst's English and digital humanities online program, visit

About Marylhurst University

Marylhurst University, a private liberal arts university 10 miles south of Portland, Ore., on Highway 43, is regionally accredited and nationally recognized for innovation and academic excellence in serving adult learners. Founded in 1893, Oregon's oldest Catholic university serves nearly 1,800 multigenerational students of all faiths and backgrounds. Marylhurst offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degrees and professional certificate programs on campus and online, all of which integrate the liberal arts with professional studies and prepare graduates to be ethical leaders who think critically and creatively.

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