The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Community of writers work to sharpen their craft in the Guilford Writing Group

Looking for a nice, relaxing space to work on your writing whilst surrounded by non-judgmental, friendly peers? How about one with a flexible schedule, providing you with plenty of opportunities to unite with fellow writers?

If this sounds tempting, then the Guilford Writing Group may be just for you.

Those looking for a good, relaxing place to work on their writing will be delighted to learn that the writing group provides such a space. They can write to their heart’s desire in a setting where the only sounds are the clacking of keyboards and the scratching of pens and pencils against loose-leaf paper.

“It’s a no-pressure environment to work on writing,” said first-year Jessica Kellam. “It gives you a chance to focus.”

Individuals who regularly attend the group receive a number of benefits. For instance, their writing skills are likely to improve or stay sharpened.

“GWG helps to keep my fiction writing muscles in shape,” said writing tutor Linda Catoe in an email interview. “I hope this group will encourage me to expand my abilities into the long-fiction arena.”

Another benefit is the influence writers have on each other’s work just by attending the group.

“It’s very inspiring to be around a lot of other people who are interested in writing,” said Heather Hans, instructional design & assessment librarian.

The writing group encourages students to explore new territories, such as a different form of prose or an alternate writing style.

“I started writing in genres I normally haven’t written in,” said junior Gray Stanback.

GWG also boasts a judgment free environment. People who wish to come in and share their writing need not fear scathing criticism. Instead, they can expect to receive compliments and helpful feedback.

Participants have found that the writing group is a safe space to unveil their writing, and it helps them feel more confident about sharing their work.

“(The writing group has) been a catalyst for me to be more comfortable with (sharing my writing) and to just be comfortable with people’s suggestions,” said senior Faith Krech.

The familial feeling of the writing group complements the tolerant atmosphere. From the moment an individual walks into a GWG meeting they will find no animosity directed toward them, but rather people who are happy to have another fellow writer among them.

“(GWG) provides a good, open feeling,” said junior Sam Dawson. “I got to know a lot of people. It provides a sense of community.”

The relaxing, tolerant and friendly aspects of GWG have been present since its founding in 2012.

So, what is different about it this year? Flexibility.

“Rather than being a very static group, (the writing group) is responsive to the needs and ideas and inspirations of the people in the group,” said GWG Founder and Assistant Professor of English Mylène Dressler.

GWG members appreciate Dressler’s consideration for their busy schedules.

“I think it’s a very compassionate way of doing things, said junior Amanda Libby. “(Mylène) wants to have everyone come when they can.”

A gathering welcome to any member of the Guilford community, GWG encourages students, faculty and staff to attend its meetings. The group regularly gathers on Wednesdays from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. in Duke 103 to work on any type of creative writing.

In addition to having regular meetings, Dressler plans to schedule writing workshops and other literary events throughout the year. She is opening the gates of opportunity for people who cannot visit the group at its regular meeting time.

“(The writing group) is open to anyone, any major, any member of our campus community,” said Dressler. “Creativity happens in all kinds of places and we want to nourish that in every way possible.”

GWG is beginning to unfurl its wings by emphasizing that a community of writers cannot improve unless other fans of the written craft join in as well.

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