How to Start a Creative Writing Club
Forming Your Club
Decide your genre.If there is a specific genre that you want to focus on, decide and communicate this from the beginning. This will help narrow your set of prospective members to the right group for your goals.Depending on your interests, you may benefit from having your club focus on a specific genre of writing (i.e. romance writing, non-fiction, sci-fi, or another genre). Another option is to have your writing club focus on a specific style of writing (short stories, memoirs, novels, etc.), but leave the genre undetermined. Yet another choice is to leave all of the above undefined and start a general creative writing club.
Name your club.Even if your name choice is basic for now, don't worry; you can always pick a more creative name with the group later on, during your first meeting. You'll just need some kind of self-explanatory name to help you recruit members as you start out. You can initially publicize your club with a simple name, like a “Creative Writing Club” or “Romance Writing Club.”
Choose when and where you will hold the first meeting.At this first meeting, you can brainstorm as a group and make decisions about when and where to meet long-term.
- Possible locations include your house, public park, an open classroom, or anywhere else you can meet and converse without disturbing others.
Recruit and invite members.There are many ways you could go about recruiting members, largely depending on how and where you plan to meet, as well as your resources. Here are a few suggestions of how to advertise your club:
Consider searching for and recruiting an advisor.Some institutions require an advisor, so be sure to research your school's guidelines. This can be an English teacher, a creative writing professor, or someone who has some expertise in creative writing. Having someone who is both knowledgeable and supportive can be a valuable asset to your club, since a well-suited advisor can offer valuable advice and guidance.
- If you do decide to ask someone to be your advisor, be considerate of their time and respectful when making your request. Sending them an introductory email explaining your plans (in as much detail as you can) will allow them to make an informed decision. It is also courteous to offer to meet in person or talk over the phone/Skype so that they can ask any questions they might have before they make their decision.
- Advisors can be involved in a variety of ways, and this should be a conversation that you have directly with your potential advisor. Will they attend meetings? Will they offer guidance from afar? These are questions that are best to ask early on.
Fill out and submit any necessary registration forms.Check your school's guidelines to see if you need to submit any signed forms in order to start your club.
- This is related to possibly need an advisor: some schools require an advisor's signature on club registration forms. Once again, just be sure to research your school, university, or organization's requirements.
Holding for Your First Meeting
Prepare the agenda.Arriving with a plan will give your members a good impression of you as a leader. You can consider the following steps as suggestions for points to include in your agenda.
Include a fun icebreaker activity.This will help people get acquainted with one another! You can easily look up examples and ideas online.
Include a creative writing exercise.It's a good idea to start with this activity early on: it will let your members know that you are serious about writing. If you have a hard time coming up with prompts on your own, feel free to look for inspiration online. Some simple go-to writing prompts include:
- Write about an animal of your choice.
- Open up a dictionary, pick a word, and write what it means to you.
- Create a poem or story that starts with "Hello."
- Write a piece that's inspired by a conversation you've recently overheard.
- Write about something you dread or fear.
Decide if you want to appoint club officers.You can informally ask people if they are interested in assisting with co-founding efforts during the first few meetings, or you can hold formal nominations and elections. If you need time to build your membership up before thinking about officer positions, don’t worry; there’s no rush!
Decide where you will meet long-term.It can be helpful to have the entire club vote about the designated time, location, and frequency of meetings.
- If voting proves too messy (this might be the case, especially if you have many members), an easy and neutral online tool that may help you decide when to hold meetings is doodle.com (or other similar scheduling applications).
Define your club's mission.Talk about the purpose of your club as a group: this will ensure that you and your members are both working towards the same goal and that everyone has a chance to voice their thoughts. It's also a great way to gather ideas.
- Is your main goal as a group to spark new writing ideas together and actually practice writing during the meetings, or to critique and improve one another's written works? Alternatively, you may want to operate as more of a social/support group for writers, where you talk about your craft and hold one another accountable for your personal writing goals. Decide your focus together, and build that into your mission.
Talk about the structure of your club.Will your creative writing club be workshop-based? Will you have people pair up as writing partners, and will these partnerships rotate? This is related to when and where the club will meet, but the focus is on how you plan on spending time during meetings.
Establish club expectations.Because you will likely be sharing and critiquing each others' work (which can be personal), it is important to establish expectations early on. Talk about how you want to ensure that everyone respects others as well as feels respected.
Keeping Your Club Going
Clearly communicate contact information.As the leader of your club, it will be helpful if your members know how to contact you, whether that's via e-mail, text, or another avenue. Consider setting up a club-specific email address for the group.
Keep club members informed about future meetings and events.
- It's a good idea to start an e-mail list, a Facebook group, and maybe a group chat so that you can add members and keep them informed and up to date on club meetings and activities. It's all up to you, but clear communication will help your club flourish.
Consider how you will handle writing partners.Writing partners are by no means mandatory, but some writing clubs and workshops assign writing partners. Writing partnerships often allow for the exchange of more personalized, detailed feedback between two members; they can also help establish connections between members. That being said, this may be something that you want to delay for the first few meetings until attendance stabilizes. It's common for new clubs to have many members come and go over the first few months, before a central group forms. Keeping the membership open to new people during that time is beneficial in helping solidify the core membership.
Gather ongoing feedback from your members.Making sure that members know that you care about their thoughts and opinions is an important part of establishing trust and developing rapport. People want to feel seen and heard.
- One way to do this is creating and sharing the link to a standing Google Form that is specifically designed for feedback. Creating an anonymous Google Form (or whatever type of digital survey works best for you) will encourage members to voice their opinions. It's good to establish protocol for how this feedback will be dealt with, early on: will you (as the leader) check the responses regularly, and will suggestions be discussed at meetings?
- Another way to gather feedback is to designate an allotted amount of time during meetings to open up the discussion for feedback and suggestions.
- If you and your members do decide that you want to discuss feedback weekly (however you choose to gather it, whether electronically or during meetings), you may also want to discuss the format of this discussion. Will it be an informal discussion? Will people vote? Will it depend on the feedback? These are good points to consider early on when determining club guidelines.
Make sure that you have a plan moving forward.Decide when and where you will meet next, and communicate anything that members should do in the interim (i.e. Fill out a Doodle for scheduling purposes, coordinate with a writing partner, or complete a writing assignment for workshop).
- Let members know what they should bring to the next meeting (i.e. laptop, notebooks, pens, etc.).
- Ideally, set at least a loose agenda for your next meeting, before you wrap up your first one. Your goal should be to get right down to writing and club discussions in your subsequent meetings, now that you've set some ground rules and expectations.
QuestionHow do I start one outside of school?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can organize a group chat or email chain to send around prompts and samples of each other's work and then maybe everyone could meet up to discuss and critique what's been written.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if am unable to email through my computer, and I cannot use a group chat?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDo you have a smart phone? Can you email through the use of your own phone? Otherwise you can go to the local library and email them from there.Thanks!
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- Bringing snacks can be a fun addition to any meeting. But be sure to communicate any allergens (nuts, dairy, etc.)! This will help incentivize people to come to the meetings, and—particularly if your club is hosted during lunch or after school—makes sure that no one is hungry entirely.
- Bringing some extra notebooks and pens to the first meeting (or first few meetings) is always a good idea, just in case someone forgets their own.
- Try this fun activity: Pass sheets of paper around so everyone has one. Have everyone write the beginning of a story, pass the sheet to the person on their right, and have them continue the story (then folding the sheet over so the next person can only see the most recently added sentence, not any of the previous sentences). It's sort of like the game "telephone," and you can theme it around a particular topic!
Video: Starting a Young Writer's Club | Adventures in Learning | PBS Parents
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Date: 03.12.2018, 18:26 / Views: 53154