Writing can often be a lonely task. No matter how passionate a writer is, it’s hard not to feel isolated sometimes when it’s just you and a keyboard. Once in a while, we need to step away from our characters and interact with real people. Luckily, there are plenty of options! Between clubs, literary magazines, events, and organizations, there is always something to participate in. Even as a scared freshman, it was so easy to get involved on campus. I have already had so many great experiences being apart of these clubs. So, if you ever find yourself in need of human interaction after hours of being hunched over a laptop, here’s some great options.
The most obvious club to begin with for Writing Arts majors is, of course, Writing Arts Club. Writing Arts Club is a place to share your work, foster creativity, and start new projects. Each meeting begins with a few writing prompts- sometimes poetry, sometimes short stories, but it is always encouraged to write whatever you want! There is so much freedom in this club, it’s really what you make of it. The goal in this club is to ultimately end the year or semester with a zine. A zine can be a work of fiction, poetry, or anything you desire. Last semester, we broke into groups based on what genre we were interested in, and worked on building one world together where each of our stories would take place. We discussed world building, character development, and plot throughout the semester. I learned new ways to world build through collaboration, considering aspects I hadn’t before. I specifically learned a lot about worldbuilding for modern magical worlds, something I hadn’t had experience in before. Character development we mostly did on our own, but we took turns updating our groups on progress and receiving feedback. As for plot, we took on the challenge of intertwining some of our plots since they all took place in the same world. Once the zines are completed, they are posted on the website. This semester, we are starting new projects and practicing our pitching skills. We have time to pitch concepts for our stories and receive feedback and advice from the rest of the writers. Writing Arts Club usually has a large amount of attendants- not so much that it’s overwhelming, but just enough for it to feel like a community. This semester, the Writing Arts Club meets every Tuesday from 6:30-7:45 in Bunce, room 304.
Another club on campus that is perfect for writers is Avant Literary Magazine. Avant is the undergraduate literary magazine on campus, and Rowan’s second oldest club in history. The meetings are a little more structured compared to the Writing Arts Club, but relaxed nonetheless. The weekly meetings consist of going through manuscripts of submissions from the magazine. First we read them aloud, then critique, and after everyone votes to either accept or resubmit. Avant never rejects a piece of work, only suggests it to be resubmitted, because every piece can be improved! Through Avant, I’ve learned how to both give and take constructive feedback. Critiquing others’ work is also extremely beneficial to your own writing, as it might make mistakes you’ve also made more apparent. I’ve found that I am much better at editing my own work and identifying problems in it since joining Avant. There is so much great work that is submitted to Avant, and it’s always interesting to see what my fellow writers have been working on. Even if you don’t have interest or time in attending meetings, you can always submit your work through Avant’s email, email@example.com. If you are interested in participating in meetings too, Avant meets every Thursday this semester in Enterprise 417 from 7:00pm-9:00pm.
If you’re interested in expanding your skills as a writer, and want to try your hand at journalism - The Whit would be a great fit! The Whit has been Rowan’s campus newspaper since 1983. They release weekly editions throughout each semester. Each edition includes events on and off campus, opinion pieces, arts and entertainment, features, sports, and more. Getting involved in The Whit is simple - all you have to do is email them with an idea of anything you want to write. The Whit is extremely welcoming and works with you to make your ideas happen. Going to the weekly meetings is not mandatory, so don’t worry if you can’t make it! Emailing back and forth is effective enough, and they’re always looking for new writers! Don’t be afraid to experiment a little and try writing in a new way. You will receive weekly emails from editors detailing what they need that week, and can either take ideas from that or offer your own. They are always supportive and open to new voices. Once you’ve written three pieces for The Whit, you are considered a staff writer. The Whit is both a physical and online newspaper- their website has all of their published articles and keeps you up to date on what is trending. If you’re interested at all, or have any questions, The Whit’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Throughout the semester, you can find all of these organizations at organization fairs, and some even host their own events! Avant, for example, often holds readings and even collaborates with Rowan After Hours for open mics. In fact, This Thursday, February 27th,Avant and RAH are holding an event from 9:00pm-1:00am at the Student Center. It will be a Coffee House Open Mic Night, the first event of the semester! In addition,The Writing Arts Club just sold poems for Valentine’s Day! There are always events going on, so don’t be afraid to come out. Being as involved as possible on campus will only make your experience better and benefit you in the future.