Creative writing clubs at universities make writing less daunting. They provide an environment of encouragement and constructive criticism, not to mention a community of like-minded students in a competitive career, although one does not have to be studying English to join these clubs. In fact, the University of Florida’s Creative Writing Club is comprised of diverse majors outside of the English department.
The Vice President of the University of Florida’s Creative Writing Club, Cristian Villaran, believes that the club is important for harboring good writers. He assures me that anyone with a pen and paper can write, and sometimes they write better than they think they can.
“I have found some of the most compelling and nuanced storytelling in the tossed away scraps of an insecure writer in my club. It is not everyday, that it happens, but it can rival even the literary cannon,” he says.
Villaran and other members of UF’s Creative Writing Club participate in weekly writing workshops. The students then critique each other’s work, which he believes helps the writers “cross that initial hump it takes to tell stories in the medium.”
So, whether these students are working to be the next David Foster Wallace or simply improving a hobby of theirs, they are progressing, and that’s good enough to have them.
Creative writing, both as a program and in extracurricular clubs has had its purpose questioned. But this art form helps students make sense of the world, and themselves, as they write beyond what is needed for a book report or research paper. Building narratives, adding humor, constructing characters, and metaphors come from the human experience. This form of uncensored writing is improved through practice and critique, as is any writing, and extracurricular clubs offer that safe space.
Back in 2012, The Atlantic published an article titled, “A Passionate, Unapologetic Plea for Creative Writing in Schools,” by Rebecca Wallace-Segall. Wallace-Segall discusses the importance of teaching creative writing in schools as well as implementing programs that encourage this form of self-expression.
She writes: “Human beings yearn to share, reflect, and understand one another, and they use these reflections to improve the state of things, both personal and public. If we want our students to have this kind of impact, we have to teach them to express themselves with both precision and passion.”
The Muñoz Publishing House is a proud partner with the St. Thomas University Creative Writing Club. Nathaniel Muñoz, the club’s president and our founder believes that his club provides a space for diverse, passionate, and creative thinkers – emphasis on the creative part! The club members consist mostly of people interested in poetry and fantasy, and who want to learn the art of storytelling.
The club has two meetings per week: one is a workshop day that focuses on things like world and character building and dialogue, and the other day is a free write/student critique day. This allows for honest feedback.
In April, the club will host guest speakers including publishers, authors, poets, and book cover designers. Muñoz says it’s important to have publishing companies as partners, because it provides real-world exposure to the industry and connections to students.
Now more than ever, students need to be prepared for the job market post-graduation. Publishing companies should do their part by providing guidance and resources to university clubs.
Wallace-Segall, R. (2012, October 04). A passionate, unapologetic plea for creative writing in schools. Retrieved February 25, 2021, from https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/10/a-passionate-unapologetic-plea-for-creative-writing-in-schools/263212/
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