Creative Writing Opportunities, Summer 2018

Summer is quickly approaching, and now is the time to sign up for summer writing programs to continue enriching our craft. Here are two options to take into consideration as you search:

Interlochen High School Creative Writing Summer Program is holding two three-week programs for students in grades 9 – 12, the first from June 23 through July 14, and the second from July 15 through August 6. The tuition is $5,500. Interlochen is still accepting applications for their summer programs though their priority review date had passed. There is a $65 non-refundable application fee. According to the website, “Based on your preference and portfolio review, you will concentrate on two of four areas of study: poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and playwriting.” Portfolio requirements includes up to five PDF files, one of which must be a personal essay and the others must constitute a portfolio containing at least two of the four previously mentioned genres. More information and guidelines can be found on their website.

Auburn University is also holding a  summer creative writing camp for rising ninth through twelfth graders from July 8 through 13. The camp fee is $750, which includes:”on campus housing, all meals, snacks and drinks while at camp, program instruction, materials and equipment, transportation to and from off-campus field-trip sites, [and] recreational activities.” Participants stay in the Hills or the Quad dormitories, and meals will be held in the Student Center or The Village Dining Facility. According to the website, this program will include workshops, classes, readings, guest speakers, and a” tour of how a literary journal, the acclaimed Southern Humanities Review, works.”

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“The fundamental rule is . . . “

In his classic book On Writing Well, William Zinsser advises writers: “The fundamental rule is: be yourself,” while also acknowledging a few pages later that “no rule is harder to follow.” Throughout the text, Zinsser gives advice to removing the “clutter” from a piece of writing, to “strip it clean,” mainly for the purpose of exposing the work’s truth with no impediments. That, for Zinsser, is what all writers must understand.

Here, as their final year of high school is nearly complete, the nine seniors in the Creative Writing magnet offer you their own bit of wisdom. One misconception about writing is that it’s easy – or at least it should be, if you’re good at it – but the truth may be the opposite. Nobel Prize-winning writer and critic Thomas Mann is famously and often quoted as having said, “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” At the end of their time in the Creative Writing magnet, these high school senior know exactly what Mann meant.

In writing, the fundamental rule is:

Know that writing won’t always be easy. – Peyton Bean

Reach for the outer limits, and when you get there . . . jump! – Maytreecia Harriell

Study the masters but do not copy them. – Alexandria Hale

Allow the words to flow from your heart! – Destini Jewell-Wright

Everyone is something to someone, but find that someone who thinks you’re everything. – Kaylee Kelley

Have access to Microsoft Word or Google Docs – Rebekah-Rose Jones

Avoid trying to hide behind your work. – Stephanie Lopez

Just do it. – Angie Phaophongsavath

Just write what you know. – Kayla Williams