Coming Off Hiatus: Some Notes, Thoughts, and New Directions
About a year ago, the Creative Writing Guild went on hiatus. Now, at long last, I have the opportunity to end that hiatus and reactivate the site. For casual visitors, that’s all you need to know: There will be fresh content posted to the site regularly starting at the beginning of 2017.
For those who have been paying attention for a long time, who are interested in the inner workings, or who are otherwise curious about what’s been going on and what is to come … the rest of this post is for you.
Once Upon a Time
The Creative Writing Guild began five years ago as nothing more than a series of articles on my personal blog. When these articles started gaining more traffic, I decided to move them to a dedicated site. My work with a creative writing student organization during my undergrad years also made me want to expand more in the direction of community-building and supporting local groups.
I had a great deal of help during some of those early days, primarily from members of the aforementioned student organization. Understandably, many of these people became more busy as time went on — and I did too. As a result, the amount of content for the site varied wildly from 2013 to 2015. In a number of ways, my ambitions for the site were simply bigger than my stomach.
What Now? What’s New?
While I am still receiving some support from friends and fellow writers for this site, it’s become clear to me that — despite the many potential benefits — forming and managing a group of volunteer contributors is simply beyond my capabilities. The best way to produce a stable flow of content for the site is to take on that task myself and focus exclusively on the aim of writing new content for you each week.
To reach that goal, two things are changing. First, I’m simplifying things. I will no longer be trying to maintain five or six social media accounts, a weekly newsletter, a team of contributors, experiments in monetizing the site, weekly comics, and the beautiful but distant dream of starting local chapters of a nation-wide creative writing organization. Rather, the Creative Writing Guild will be about the content and insights I can provide right here, right now.
I want to focus on what I know I can do. I believe that consistently producing valuable content is what matters. Someday, I would love for the Guild to reach toward some of my other ambitions, but for today, I just want to provide quality, useful content for my fellow writers.
This leads me to the second major change: A tonal shift. There is a standard in web writing that says you should speak as an authority. Talk like you’re an expert, and people will believe you — at least if you don’t make claims that are too outlandish. But one of the major things I’ve learned in my experience as a writer is how much I’m not an expert. I’m not even sure I know what an expert in writing looks like. At the very least, I’m not a wildly successful author who has published highly successful novels. I’m not a best seller or a tenured professor. And I think it’s worthwhile to bring a more complete an honest version of myself to this site and my posts.
So, Who Am I?
Hi. I’m Rob. I received my undergrad degree in creative writing and educational psychology, and am currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in fiction (though I also explore other genres and am fascinated by the space that lies between genres).
I read about thirty books a year, and my approach brings a mix of traditional critical literary theory, rhetorical philosophy, narrative psychology, and reading as a writer. I have published about a dozen creative pieces in literary journals, including small-time student lit journals and larger, actually-paid-me-money journals. My published work includes poetry, creative nonfiction, drama, and fiction — and it’s won a small handful of awards, but not from any group you’re likely to have heard of. I also spent six years as a full-time freelance writer and editor, primarily working on content for the web.
Hopefully those experiences give me some insights that will be valuable to you, but I also hope that my drives will make me an asset: I am a person passionate about the craft, about fiction on the whole, about the beauty of the various genres, and about the learning process. I’m a person who believes communities that pursue mutual learning can enrich all members — and that’s really the foundation of what I’d like the site to be.
So the second shift is basically about being more direct about who I am: A (hopefully) thoughtful guy who is striving to be a successful writer, but who is still — and plans to always be — in the process of learning. And while the change is found in bringing that I to the table, it’s really for the purpose of helping us talk in a more authentic way.
What You Can Expect
You will be seeing a simpler setup that consists of just two major items on a regular basis: A monthly newsletter and a weekly craft article.
There may be extras — like “writerly humor” items, social media updates, writing exercises, guest posts, etc. — if and when I can manage. Right now, though, I am much more concerned with producing valuable content at a rate that I can sustain for the long haul.
There is one area I would like to expand, however: I will be working to do more interviews with people who are thoroughly established, successful writers. I’ve loved the content from past interviews, and feel focusing more on this type of effort will add tremendous value to the site. While it’s too soon to say for certain how often such interviews will be on the site, my current goal is to do an interview once per month.
Hopefully you’ll find things on this site that make you think, prompt you to join some stimulating conversations, give you some fresh insights, and push your work to the next level. As always, just let me know if you feel there are ways the site can better serve you or the community as a whole.