New England College is now home to the new writing club on campus, Ravens and Writing Desks.
Working together over this past summer, co-founders Arianna Cagan and Olivia Wright, put their creative minds together to produce a safe and comfortable space for writers across campus. Choosing their workshop professor, Maura MacNeil, to become the club advisor was easy.
“Knowing her as a person helped,” said Wright, “because she is really cool. We love Maura.”
Although MacNeil’s role as club advisor is limited, she “expect[s] the club to be successful and to gain a positive presence on campus.”
To officially recognize Ravens and Writing Desks as a club, Wright and Cagan had to set up a table at the ConNECtions Fair. The first problem was getting people interested, but convincing students to come to meetings was a whole different story. Despite worries of low attendance, Wright and Cagan feel satisfied with the ten or so members that have come to the meetings so far.
Although Cagan mentions “trying to work with everyone and their styles” was harder than she thought, Wright is glad to “provide an outlet” to those who love writing and all it entails.
A typical meeting starts with a quick prompt, which can take around five to ten minutes to complete. Wright and Cagan, as well as supporting members, do their best to make meetings a safe place for sharing. Everyone is encouraged to share, but nothing is enforced. Wright wants to make sure that members didn’t feel like they were attending class and to feel “more free,” not like an assignment based group.
“We need actual feedback from people who like to write,” Cagan said.
Workshop classes can sometimes be filled with students bored out of their minds, required to be there for a few credits. To improve their writing, most writers want other writers to provide feedback that holds depth, not students who simply say ‘It was good.’or ‘I liked it.’
An activity fills up the rest of the time during meetings. In one of the meetings, Cagan handed out printed copies of character sheets for the group to fill out.
Both Wright and Cagan’s initial goals were to see all members having fun and enjoying what the club has to offer.
“It’s an opportunity for the freshman, and other years,” Cagan said, “To come and have a space, a place to meet people with the same passions.”
Running a club, especially as fresh as this one, can be quite difficult. Wright and Cagan have risen to the challenge, despite having such contradictory personalities. Ravens and Writing Desks has been pretty easy for them to run together.
“We use each other’s strengths and weaknesses to balance each other out,” Cagan said. Many members, as well as MacNeil, have been increasingly supportive of what these two do together to keep the club going.
When asked of their yearly plans for the group, Wright amusingly confesses “Who knows!”As Cagan admits, “Planning? Who does that?”
They want to listen to the group as much as possible. It is essential that all members are given equal opportunities to provide input and ideas for future meetings. These comments are helpful to Wright and Cagan, as they improve with every meeting. The plan-as-we-go-along method seems to be working well so far, and many members are satisfied with the freedom Ravens and Writing Desks offers.
Wright and Cagan wanted this club to introduce a friendly writing community to NEC. With no complaints thus far, Ravens and Writing Desks has successfully created such beautiful connections for all types of writers to explore.
MacNeil is happy with the way both Wright and Cagan have overcome the challenges that any new group offers. “I hope it sustains and grows over time,” MacNeil mentions.
Ultimately, Ravens and Writing Desks was formed to give writers of all kinds a comfortable opportunity to share and improve their writing. MacNeil loves that it is “a support system for writers on campus.”