Creative writing workshop: Quill

By Samantha Smith

Youngstown State University’s Quill, a group within Creative Writing Workshop, allows students to write different pieces such as poetry, short stories, song lyrics and more.

McKayla Rockwell, first-year graduate student in English, manages emails, sends reminders to the group and helps set up events. She said the purpose of the group is to help students improve their wording and writing skills with the feedback they give each other.

The group meets virtually on Discord for weekly write-ins of about 3,000 words at a time. There is no exact meeting time, but throughout the week students must read the piece sent out in the Discord through Google Docs by Rockwell. Students can then leave a critique or comment at the bottom of the piece for the writer to later read. 

Rockwell also said when they are not having critiques, she will give out small writing challenges to keep students writing throughout the semester.

In the Discord server, there is a general chat and voice chat for members to communicate with one another throughout the week about the piece.

Rockwell said Quill is holding a raffle until the end of the semester and what the rules and prizes are for students.

“It’s where, if you submit a piece for critique or if you comment on a piece or you give a critique, then you get entered to win a raffle. And it’s as many times as you either submit a piece or comment on one,” she said. “It’s to win a Barnes & Noble gift card and a Dairy Queen gift card.”

In the past, Quill hosted student pizza parties and participated in National Novel Writing Month. At the beginning of the pandemic, they continued to keep members involved by having a Facebook open mic night where the group members sent in videos of themselves reading or singing any piece of writing they have.

The group is celebrating National Poetry Month in April and usually tries to have a celebration or open mic night for the group members at the end of the semester. With the pandemic causing changes to meetings and events, nothing is set in stone yet. Rockwell said the group will keep its Facebook page updated with later announcements.

In the Facebook group, there are future writing events, publication opportunities and other writing workshops being posted and promoted in the group for any students interested.

“We’d love to have more members,” Rockwell said. “We’re really small, really relaxed.”

For any student wanting to join Quill, email [email protected] or [email protected] for information on the group, guidelines for submitting writings and links for the Discord and its Facebook.