Last semester I taught a Creative Writing club for 3rd – 7th graders. Besides learning a lot about how to teach writing, and how to encourage creativity in young kids, I learned a lot about my own writing. About how it’s one thing to write to pursue publication, but also that it’s important to have fun. You still need to write to write, create for the sake of creating, get stories on paper to get them out of your mind, even if they’re not “literary” or “marketable”.
At the end of the semester, we created a zine. I’ve wanted to make a zine since I was enchanted by Jennifer Mathieu’s Moxie. It seemed like an engaging way for the students to share their writing, so everyone made a one page spread that we compiled into a single booklet, copied, stapled, and distributed. We wanted something to show for all the hard work of the semester, but also something that was fun.
It made me remember the zine I created after finishing a semester of poetry workshop. It wasn’t that I had pushed it out of my mind, it was just that I created a single copy on a whim, and had never done anything with it. At the time, I had already taken fiction workshops and knew the importance of feedback and revision, but the practice seemed totally different for poetry. More involved. More delicate. I was proud of the work and wanted to do something with it, instead of letting the files stagnate on my hard drive.
I think that’s important for me now, too. I wrote something, and even if it’s not published, even if it’s not submitted, I can turn it into something more, something to keep, something to acknowledge. It’s an accomplishment, just getting the words out of my head, and I like having something to show for it. If the process itself is fun for me, then that’s a bonus!