New faculty and staff club provides accountability, support for writing projects

For any professional, personal writing projects can often take a back seat to work, chores and all of life’s other obligations.

Dr. Anna Ziering headshot

Dr. Anna Ziering

With that understanding, Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Dr. Anna Ziering recently established a writer’s club to help fellow Oglethorpe staff and faculty stay accountable for their writing goals and provide support, encouragement and inspiration to each other along the way.

Participants meet every two weeks, alternating which members receive critiques for a given session. Writing can feel like a nebulous process; by implementing deadlines, the group pushes participants to finish projects they may be putting off, or challenges them to create something new. Put simply, the writing club is creating discrete, achievable goals.

“A major benefit is the group makes me accountable for getting some writing done or moving forward with a project,” says Dr. Iona Wynter Parks, assistant professor of French. “If it was just me, I would blow it off telling myself that my day is crazy, and I’ll get to it another time.”

The writing club has critiqued more than academic work like book proposals and research papers. Members have collectively workshopped poems, short stories, and even portions of novels. They have also dedicated their creative energies to writing in support of university projects and initiatives.

“Sharing something you’re working on is a very scary, vulnerable thing to do,” says Peter Dye, assistant director of community and global engagement and writing tutor coordinator. “This group has given every piece of submitted writing respect, care, and thoughtful critique. It has been incredibly helpful for me individually, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to read what others are working on.”

Interdisciplinary and collaborative at its core, the writing club has provided a forum for staff and faculty to learn about each others’ work. Members of the group represent a variety of departments across campus and, interest in the group has continued to grow.

“It’s wonderful to have a space and community dedicated to supporting academic and creative writing among staff and faculty,” says Ziering. “Our research and creative work means a lot to us, and it has been nourishing to do it with and among friends.”

Faculty and staff interested in joining the writer’s club may contact Dr. Anna Ziering at [email protected].

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