On July 23, 6 author will gather at Indy Reads Books as part of the first Downtown Writers Jam hosted by The Geeky Press. We’re currently curating those authors, and taking recommendations from friends, colleagues, and other people involved in the Indiana writing scene. Don’t wait to be nominated, though. You can submit your own work for consideration.

We’re kicking off the Jam with a series of short 5-minute stories from young writers. These are writers working on their first professional long-form work. We want to introduce you to our first young writer: Sarah Janssen.


photo (17)Sarah is currently living in Chicago and working as the editor of a community newspaper in the southwest suburbs.

She’s been narrating her life inside her head ever since she can remember, but it was a stint at her high school newspaper that got her hooked on journalism. As a magazine journalism major at Ball State University, she was able to hone her long-form writing skills.

She’s been working in news journalism for more than three years and just recently started to refocus my own efforts on a return to writing and storytelling.

You can follow her at her website, on Facebook, and on Twitter at @scjans.


At The Downtown Writers Jam

What’s the name of the piece from which your DWJ story comes? I’ll be reading an excerpt from “Humble beginnings,” a story I’m working on about a fellow Ball State grad and his journey out of one of Chicago’s roughest neighborhoods.

What was the question or idea that sparked that original piece? The rampant drug, gang, and gun violence is no secret in Chicago. I know the subject of the story from college, although I didn’t know about his upbringing until later, and thought how refreshing it is to hear a different story, a success story, against the backdrop of 10-plus shootings every weekend. I wanted to find out what it was in his life or what quality about him that made him overcome the surroundings that claim hundreds of young black men as victims.

What should the audience expect from your storytelling at the Downtown Writers Jam? The audience can expect my out-loud storytelling to be a bit rough around the edges. I haven’t done much reading of my own work to an actual audience. Much of the work I’ve done since college has been reporting news stories, so it might have a little more of a news-story feel to it still.


Get to Reading

Best book or long-form writing we should read, but probably haven’t? And why? Recipes for Disaster, by Tess Rafferty. Rafferty, a writer on The Soup, weaves recipes into personal stories throughout her memoir starting in college all the way to her standup comedy days in Los Angeles. It’s obviously a lighter read, one that made me laugh out loud.