21 December 2021
Getting lost tapping at the keys of the computer, the music softly playing in the background, and finding the perfect ‘snapshot’ of a fantasy world. This is the atmosphere of the Media Center whenever the Creative Writing Club meets.
Creative writing is one of the most misunderstood disciplines in the 21st century. It is a missing part in the English curriculum of five paragraph essays, grammar, and clauses. When picturing creative writing, one often imagines a group of lofty teens who wear argyle sweater vests and have unproductive conversations about abstract and out-of-touch concepts.
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth: the creative writing program, prior to the current ban on extracurricular clubs, remained engaged with the real world, and the skills gained applied to nearly every facet of daily life, especially in high school English classes. Atholton’s creative writing program met weekly after school in the cozy corners of the Altholton library. Their homepage stated the intention was to “encourage literary passion and creativity” while at the same time bringing that creativity down to earth with applicable writing skills.
“Altholton’s writing club is a really good group of students who attend regularly. The students have an interest both in clubs in general and in writing,” said Ms. Stackhouse, the Creative Writing club’s sponsor.
Altholton is one of the few high schools that had a designated Creative Writing Club. Many other schools, including Hammond, Long Reach, Oakland Mills, and Reservoir, have writing clubs but no club specifically dedicated to creative writing.
At the Creative Writing Club you can expect the following writing processes: weekly prompts and writing exercises that help sharpen the precision and necessity of each word you use, constructive criticism from a community of writers, and a creative space to experiment with language and arrange words.
“The Creative Writing Club opens each meeting with a short and quick prompt. Today’s was lollipops and last meeting, we did spiders and jealousy, and followed up that with some sort of writing challenge to help them grow as writers,” said Caroline Greaser, the leader of the club.
The benefits of creative writing and being able to grow as a writer comes from engaging with the club’s material, the writing prompts, and other class members. The Creative Writing Club pushed members to connect ideas and create narratives using the best words, and that skill translated into academic success.
The importance of creative writing lies in its ability to describe the world through an unfiltered lens. Writers preserve the world as they observe it, while escaping into a new one, as Nadia Wilmcott, a former member of the Creative Writing Club, described. Creative writing has largely transfigured into a medium for emotional exploration, excavation, and self-expression.
The Atholton Creative Writing club, with its past successes in building a writing community and promoting self-expression, also had its setbacks, especially in the previous academic year with school-going virtual. They experienced a shortage of members, going from 8-10 members to 4, according to Caroline Greaser.
With virtual school now behind, the club is looking forward to “bringing back a new set of creative writers, now the club is back in-person..” Greaser also said. Many clubs struggled during the pandemic to attract new members. The creative writing club hopes this academic year will bring new, aspiring creative writers.
Although, getting into writing may be a difficult first step. According to Greaser, an important rule of thumb is “you can always edit a bad page, but you can never edit a blank one.”