On the Friday before finals week, the Creative Writing Club hosted their very first End of Term Reading. This event was a way for members all across campus, not just in the club or the department, to share their work and hear the work of others in a relaxed and collaborative space. The members, and some who weren’t members, came prepared with a piece or two to share with the rest of the club.
“We wanted to give writers across campus the chance to share their work in front of an audience,” April Reid, President of the Creative Writing Club, says. “It gives them experience, it lets them see how audience members react to their writing, and it gives them a confidence boost when they get their work out there.”
In addition to giving members and nonmembers a chance to share their work, the reading was an opportunity for practice. “Most people dream of becoming a published author, and if they do become a big, published author, readings are a part of that lifestyle, so this is also good practice for the possible future,” Amber McGee, the Secretary and Website Manager, says.
“I was a college student at a different university before I came to SOU, and something that the arts program did there was put on exhibitions of student work at the end of the term,” Matthew Watson, the Treasurer of the Creative Writing Club, says. Because SOU didn’t have an event like this to showcase work from students, especially writers, the club decided to put together one and advertise it all across campus.
While this is the first term that the club has put on an event like this, they want to continue and do one every term, even hoping to bring in more people from across majors. “We hope that by doing this reading, it’ll encourage more people to look at the Creative Writing Club as, ‘Hey, we’re more than just a group of people who want to talk about writing.’ ” With this reading, the officers hope to show potential members of the club that it is not something to be nervous about, whether it be showing one’s work to someone, or offering help to someone who might be stumped.
Throughout the reading, students of various majors came up and read aloud the work they had written and wanted to share with the club. Many ranged from funny to sad, to thought-provoking to something to make the listener smile. Often, the presenter would give a brief introduction on their piece, and even some context to it.
One of their hopes for the future is getting more members from all different areas of the school, and show that it’s an inclusive group for all creatives. “Part of the mission of the Creative Writing Club is giving people in other majors a chance to express their creativity and their writing,” Matthew says. In the past, they’ve had a writing contest which went well, according to April, so that’s something that they’ve been planning to do again.
When asked about their favorite parts of the club, each officer agreed that the community the club offered was what made it special. “I like being able to share stuff in a more laid back environment,” Amber says, “because in class we’re mostly workshopping, and while we do a little bit of that in the club, there’s not that pressure of ‘Is this going to get me and A? Is this going to be what the teacher’s looking for?’ ”
April agrees, and adds, “it’s more of an outlet to get your work out there, to hear stuff about it, but it’s getting it out there instead of keeping it inside.”
“We’ve got a really good group of people that’s fun to share ideas with and get support, not just in your writing but also in the creative process,” Matthew says.
Each reading has the audience laugh, gasp, and sit in awed silence. When each person is done with their reading, the audience applauds and tells them their favorite part. It is an open, welcoming group of people here to support one another. Sharing one’s writing, especially in front of an audience, can be daunting, but with the Creative Writing Club, one does not need to fear.
“We want to give people in other majors a chance to express their creativity and their writing,” Matthew says, “we’d love to see people bring work that they’ve done for other classes or personal work they’ve done.”
“If you write, we want you to come,” April says.
The Creative Writing Club meets weekly, every Monday at 4:30 in Art Building 124. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org