The Writers’ Guild of St. John

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The club that’s fostering a writing environment and publishing students in “Eudaimonia”

Begun in 2017, the Writers’ Guild of St. John is a club that works to support writers within the student body. Although it has moved locations and shifted members throughout its existence, the Guild has remained stable with its core mission to provide space, time and a positive environment for writers to hone their craft.

Cecilia Andrews, junior English major and president of the Guild, gave insight into the origins of the Guild and the slight changes it has under- gone during her three years of membership.

“When I joined, [the Guild met] in third floor SB Hall. We had one of those conference tables – it was much [quieter] and much smaller. Other than being a little bit rowdier now and doing a few more group activities, like the group writing exercises, we haven’t changed all that much.”

The general setup of the weekly meetings, held from 6 – 8 p.m. on Monday evenings in Gorman D, has not radically morphed over the years. Andrews de- scribed the ordinary meeting schedule that incoming members can expect moving forward, and the environment that adhering to the re- laxed routine provides.

“We start off at 6:00 p.m. and we run until 7:00 p.m. with quiet time,” Andrews said. “No music – you’re just writing on your own. At 7:00 p.m., you have the opportunity to start talking with your neighbors, share work and get feedback if you want it. It’s very lowkey and very chill.”

This fostering of a writing environment also expands to pro- vide inspiration and camaraderie. The Guild organizes monthly poetry nights, where members bring personally authored or general poetry to share and perform for the other members. Junior English student and secretary of the club Diego Flores described the low-stress event which highlights poets in the group and builds support among members.

“We had [poetry nights] in previous years, but very infrequently, and not many people showed up. So, we decided to host them during actual meetings one day per month. We try to bring tea and other snacks, and people share the poetry that they’ve written or the poetry of poets they admire or are studying currently, and perform it live.”

The Writer’s Guild provides another avenue to support its members’ writings. “Eudaimonia” is a club funded publication that combines members’ submitted works and puts them out into the world. Andrews pointed out the benefit of the opportunity to be published as a resume builder and overall motivating experience for the submitter.

“‘Eudaimonia’ has been around, I believe, since the founding of the club or very close to that,” Andrews said. “I think it’s a very good first step of getting yourself out there. Being able to write down that ‘I’ve been published’ is awesome.”

Both Flores and Andrews emphasized the Guild’s openness to all types of writing including, fan fiction and essays, during the quiet hour of meetings, which can be shared with other members for feedback. However, original fiction remains the most popular focus for members so far, and is the only genre the group can publish. Andrews discussed this wider allowance for participation despite the more limited scope of the Guild’s publications.

“We allow any type of writing because it’s really just a quiet environment for people to write in. You could write essays for your class, even though that’s not necessarily the point of the club,” Andrews said. “[However,] we have to publish only original work. We’re not allowed to publish fanfiction or things that have been published [in] other places.”

Thus, the Guild provides writing motivation, feedback, poetry readings and tea — what more could one ask for? Both members noted the extra benefit of having a dedicated amount of time for creative projects during semesters where the busy cascade of classes, assignments and other commitments might crowd out personal writing time.

“For me at least, and for a lot of people, it’s a good excuse to start writing or get your writing done. A lot of the time people will say ‘Oh, I have this [project] going on right now. I have to do my homework. I have other commitments.’ But if you set aside even two hours a month, it might help jumpstart you into actually starting what you want to write,” Flores said. “[The Guild] is a good way to set aside time and also to get nice feedback.”

The Writers’ Guild of St. John is currently looking for more members, especially among the freshman class. If interested, visit Gorman D anytime between 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday night to learn more.

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