What are creative writing communities?

The creative writing community project is run by the Writing Center at UNL to give creative writers a chance to meet with other writers and a Writing Center facilitator to form a small, friendly group for sharing and improving creative work. Writing communities are groups of peers interested in developing creative writing skills together in a collaborative environment.

We do not see writing communities as an alternative or a replacement to workshop classes, but rather as another useful source of encouragement and feedback to provide creative writers with engaged support. The creative writing community is a chance to practice skills learned in workshops and to receive another style of feedback, though writers are by no means required to have had workshop experience--or any creative writing experience at all!

What kind of writing can I bring?

All genres of creative writing are welcome. As you scroll through our interests, you will see that we are interested in everything from poetry to creative nonfiction to fantasy to literary fiction. If you have a question about sending out a piece that may contain material you think might be difficult, please contact your facilitator.

What levels of writing do we expect?

We welcome all writers, from enthusiastic amateurs to published writers, to the writing communities. Likewise, we are happy to work with everything from outlines and notes to nearly-finished final drafts. We can even have conversations in which writers talk about their ideas for a piece and receive feedback from the others in the group.

How do creative writing communities work?

The role of the writing facilitator (the Writing Center consultant) is to offer another reader’s perspective and suggestions. The writing facilitator is not there to ‘lead’ the group, but rather to provide structure and guidance as one voice among the many in the community.

Writers read each other’s work and meet regularly to offer feedback and encouragement in sessions at the Writing Center. The structure (or lack thereof) of a meeting is completely up to the individual group.

A typical meeting may consist of writers discussing writing challenges they faced over the last week and thoughts about writing. The group may then have a conversation about each of the writers’ written drafts, commenting on what they enjoyed and what they each got out of the piece. Often, the most helpful feedback from a reader is to hear what the reader saw as the main ideas, plot, themes, conflicts, etc. The writers may then give suggestions for revision. At the end of the meeting, the writers may exchange the work they will be discussing in the next meeting, so they may read each other’s writing in the time in between. Writers may also choose to bring writing to the group on the day it’s going to be discussed, to do a ‘cold read’ of the work and discuss their first impressions and thoughts.