Writers learn skills, stay inspired

Fernando Castaldi Print-1

During the Boldface Conference, writers visited the Writing Center on Saturday to attend the Write-A-Thon, an opportunity for students to prepare for their careers. | Fernando Castaldi/The Daily Cougar

Aspiring writers flocked to the Writing Center on Saturday to participate in the Boldface Write-A-Thon.

Hosted by Glass Mountain, UH’s undergraduate literary magazine, the event benefits the annual “Boldface, A Conference for Emerging Writers,” which is held during the summer. In addition to participants concentrating on their own literary works, contests and raffles were also held. Participants also helped with the fundraising by having sponsors donate under their name.

Boldface is a week-long workshop-style conference which gives students and members of the writing community the opportunity to get involved in the undergraduate writing community. During the week, the aspiring writers pair up with a graduate student who acts as a dedicated workshop instructor.

Creative writing senior Brett Forsberg thinks that Glass Mountain and Boldface provide an opportunity to survey people who are professionals in the academic writing community.

“Any emerging writer — anybody who has never been in an M.F.A. or Ph.D. program in creative writing — can attend the Boldface conference,” Forsberg said. “These professionals are at this conference, and they’re here in this room for you to kind of get exposure to, get engaged in the community and see if it’s something you want to involve yourself in.”

Participants can read their work in front of crowds, which may be a deciding factor in focusing on this career.

“You actually get to experience reading it, which any writer will tell you, that’s kind of like taking the next step,” Forsberg said. “It’s a huge deal to read your work in front of people. It really kind of shows you whether or not it’s something that you want to do.”

English literature senior Brooke Lightfoot said she learned two things that have helped her with her own writing.

“One, writing is revising. I thought I was a crummy writer, but that’s because I never revised my stuff. The first draft is never going to be perfect,” Lightfoot said. “You’ll always love your work the more you revise. Two, to be completely separated personally from your work and to take as much feedback as you can — those have been amazing for me.”

At the Write-A-Thon, Lightfoot worked on a collection of short stories. She hoped to get revisions on her current body of work as well as have others read it, which is something she says that she is getting more comfortable with.

“I’m an aspiring writer; I’m still very green to this,” Lightfoot said. “I’m a literature major, so I’ve only taken two creative writing classes ever, so I do want to continue my schooling with it. Because I’m so green, I think I need a lot more development, and once I go through some programs and develop my skill more, I can start applying to some grad schools. That’s the ultimate goal.”

Creative writing and media production senior Caroline Cao offered advice to other aspiring writers.

“Don’t stop writing. Think of the weirdest thing in your head and put it down on paper. It will become normal to you later,” Cao said. “Good luck to all the writers out there. I can’t wait to read your works.”

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