MICHELLE XU/THE HOYA From left to right, Ben Card (COL ’17), Casey Knerr (SFS ’17), CWC President Dylan Orshefsky (COL ’17) and workshop leader Margo Poundstone (COL ’17) aim to form a literary community.
From left to right, Ben Card (COL ’17), Casey Knerr (SFS ’17), CWC President Dylan Orshefsky (COL ’17) and workshop leader Margo Poundstone (COL ’17) aim to form a literary community.

Whether you are an active writer looking for peers to critique your work or an aspiring author looking to develop your skills, look no further than the newly established Creative Writing Club. The premise of the club is simple: sign up for one of three weekly workshops, submit a piece of creative writing to a communal dropbox, read the other members’ submissions and come to the workshop ready to critique that week’s submissions.

Although the club has yet to hold a workshop, with its first next week, a series of successful prototype workshops held last spring suggests a promising future for creative writers on the Hilltop.

Among the founding members of the club are several sophomores, who in their first year at Georgetown, noticed a lack of collaboration between student writers.

“We started it out because we looked on campus and we saw that there were a bunch of literary publications, but there was no way for the writers of Georgetown to come together and to meet one another and to exchange each other’s work outside of a publishing framework,” CWC President Dylan Orshefsky (COL ’17) said.

This semester, the CWC will allow students to experiment with and learn about creative writing in ways that many have not been able to before.

As many writers can probably attest, creative writing courses on campus are always in high demand, and this fact fueled the creation of the Creative Writing Club. With waitlists for creative writing courses extending to 20 to 30 people per semester, it was impossible for many students to explore this realm of writing, until now.

“I’ve applied to it [a creative writing course] twice and have not gotten in either time. I think we formed this club because there was no other thing like it on campus,” workshop leader Margo Poundstone (COL ’17) said. “It wasn’t that we were trying to create something new because we didn’t like the existing framework. There was nothing there and we tried to fill the void.”

Based on student signups at the recent Student Activities Fair, the Creative Writing Club seems to have successfully filled that void, appealing to a wide array of students; signups at the Student Activities Fair totaled 124 names, and there are currently 38 students committed to attending some of the first workshops.

The club accepts all kinds of creative writing, from short stories, plays and poems to creative non-fiction. The only content-based rules for submission are that pieces not be pure hate speech without any artistic intent and that they not be about other members in the workshop, without their explicit permission.

Orshefsky points out some other foundational rules one should know before attending: “You can come as infrequently as you want, so long as the weeks that you come aren’t only the weeks that you have submitted. You’re allowed to submit as much as you can or as little as you’d like if you’d just like to sit and read each other’s work.”

While the CWC’s founders encourage writers of all experience levels to attend a workshop or submit a piece of writing, they realize how daunting it can be to subject your own writing to critique in such a public manner. To combat this possible anxiety, they vow to begin every discussion of a piece with five minutes of positive critique.

“It’s nice when you first submit to hear people say good things about what they read and how it influenced them; there’s always something positive about a piece,” Vice President Casey Knerr (SFS ’17) said.

The club’s board members and workshop leaders already have high hopes for the club’s future on the Hilltop.

“I think that one of my definite hopes is that this will continue to exist after we leave Georgetown, that we won’t end up simply doing this while we are here and that there won’t be an outlet for the writers at Georgetown to do what they want to do,” Orshefsky said.

Workshops will be held every Saturday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., with a third meeting time to be determined in the coming days.

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