I love my job as a school librarian mostly because I get to enjoy the personal satisfaction of matching readers with great books. I also love my job because there is at least an element of writing in most of the activities I help out with at my school.
Near the end of last year I was asked by a couple of students if I would start a writing club. This would take up the remaining noon hour I had free during the week with Monday to Thursday already booked with yearbook, rock band (twice a week), and radio club. At least two Saturdays a month you will also find me at the school with our animation/computer programming club. Did I mention I love my job?
Anyway, our school writing club is my new favourite club (actually, like children, the clubs I take care of are all of my favourites, just in different ways). So far our writing club is very low key without the pressure of preparing for a show or eventual publication that comes with the work I do with my radio, rock band and yearbook students. As our group progresses this could change but for now the six or so regular attendees are content to take part in discussions and writing exercises about setting, character, plot and adding emotion, realistic dialogue and action to scenes.
We kept up our Writing Club Edmodo page (an educational, secure Facebook-like interface) over the summer and the students were able to share story prompts and examples of works in progress. One student is writing a historical teen romance novel. Another has been writing song lyrics that will likely eventually be the basis of some original songs for our school rock band. Another student has a writing blog with fantastical tales about a muffin robber. Some of the students have been exploring other student writing on Wattpad.
For me, our meetings on Friday at lunch are a time to wind down from a busy week and a scheduled excuse to write. I am always refreshed by the creative energy I expend during the less than an hour that we are together and the students involved seem to be too. I have surprised myself at how my own creative writing education as part of the Creative Communications program at Red River College where I majored in Journalism has come back to me. I know our writing club has inspired me to write more and I love how it has inspired the students involved in the club as well.
If you would like to try starting your own writing club or are just looking for some inspiration, here are the first two activities we tried:
Write a 144 character twitter story. Include a main character, a secondary character and a beginning, middle with climax, and end to your story. You don’t have to tweet your story or even have a twitter account. Just keep your story to the Twitter length of 144 characters.
Write a character biography. Answer the following questions in your biography about your character:
What is your character’s name?
How old is your character?
What hobbies does he or she enjoy?
Tell us about his or her parents and your character’s relationship to them.
Give us a description of your character.
Tell us about where he or she lives, etc.
You can write your biography as if a narrator is describing the character (third person) or as if the character is talking (first person).
On a Friday when our writing time was cut a bit short we decided to just write using one word prompts and came up with the word “relative”. The results were different for each writer but each of us had an interesting piece of writing to share when we were done.
According to my literary heroes, the most import part of being a successful writer is to write. Like me, you may find that being part of a writing club is a fun way to include more writing in your life.