The Writing Center: A Q&A

By Amanda Lehnerd

Youngstown State University’s Writing Center is here to help students across campus and others in the community with different types of writing. There are many workshops offered for people to partake in that can help them with their current writing projects. Amanda Miller of the Writing Center was able to answer some questions about current workshops going on in the center.

Q1: What is the creative writing workshop?


A: The writing workshop is open to all members of Youngstown State University and all members of the community. It’s a free program that we offer on Fridays at 2 p.m. in the Writing Center. What we’re doing is talking and looking at fiction, poetry, plays, screenplays or anything that’s creative writing related. We talk about craft and theory and workshop pieces that people bring in. WritingCenter by AlyssaPflug


Q2: How can people get involved with the workshop?


A: Anyone can email [email protected], and there is also a Facebook group called YSU Creative Writing Workshop, or anyone can just show up at 2 p.m. on Fridays in the Writing Center. Anyone can pop in any time at the Writing Center and someone can give information about the workshop.


Q3: Are there any steps or preparation methods someone should take before attending a writing workshop?


A: No, anyone can just show up. I sometimes send out weekly articles that I want them to read. I put that in the Facebook group and attach it in an email. It’s just an optional reading and we do talk about it, but I usually have printed out material here that, if somebody didn’t get a chance to read it, they can just follow along while we talk about it.


Q4: How does the creative writing workshop improve the people’s and students’ writing?


A: We try to fill a gap for people who may not be in a creative writing workshop, poetry workshop or fiction workshop so that they can still work on those things. They can come here and talk about fiction and get support for their writing and maybe to learn new things that aren’t covered in all the fiction workshops that they may have had at YSU. It’s also just exposure to different people who are seniors or graduate students or somebody who is older in the community who has been out of school for a long time, but they still want to show their short stories.


Q5: What is the thesis group for graduate students?


The thesis group is just essentially a support group. It’s a quiet study hall type of group. We’re all working on the same things. We’re all graduate students, so we have … different skill sets than … a freshman working on … [a] composition paper. What they do is meet in the lower level of the library (that’s room 159) and sometimes in the Writing Center too because we need to use the computers. Essentially it’s a support group, and we all meet and we silently just research, work on our thesis or our portfolios and ask questions just in general. We don’t offer specialized help — that is for Writing Center appointments, but it’s more just like we’re all in this together. Let’s do it.


Q6: What other services are offered by the Writing Center other than private appointments?


A: There’s always something going on, and I encourage people just to stop in and see what different things are going on across campus. Different submissions that people can enter in, like if the honors program is accepting submissions, we’ll have information here about it. It’s kind of like we’re just expanding to all areas of writing. It’s not just typically like, “Hey you’re having a hard time in composition, make an appointment where we’ll just look at your grammar,” … there’s so much more that we have going on down here than people probably realize.


Q7: Is there anything else you think students should know about the writing center that they probably don’t?


A: Yeah, just to keep an eye out for a call for submissions for these groups that are going on. If anybody has anything they would like to start, like, “Hey I want to get a weekly thing going for this,” they can certainly stop down and talk to us. We’re always looking to improve outreach and include even more things into our lineup.