One Stop Word-Shop: Wordshop Creative Writing Club offers low-stress environment for literary expression


Amidst seemingly never-ending essays, midterms and internship applications, many students in college dream of never having to write a single original word again. Yet, Wordshop, the College of William and Mary’s fast-growing creative writing club, provides students with a unique opportunity to write not for the sake of reaching that 1,500 word mark by the 11:59 deadline, but rather for creativity, enjoyment and self-expression.

In its weekly meetings, Wordshop brings students together to develop their creative writing skills and share their pieces with others in an open, non-judgemental and stress-free artistic space. They explore a variety of different genres including fiction, nonfiction, prose and poetry, and seek to welcome students at the College with all levels of writing experience. The club also hosts a myriad of guest speakers and social and workshop-based events to build a tight-knit community of student writers. 

At its core, Wordshop aims to keep the art of creative writing alive and thriving within the student body, framing the skill as an enjoyable and revered one rather than one that is mandated by academic commitments.

“Stories and writing are not only about creative expression, they also come to shape our social reality and historical narratives,” co-president of Wordshop Yannie Chang ’25 said. “What is canon and what is not, what narratives and perspectives are preserved and which are not; all these things matter. Wordshop aims to embody the spirit that writing is a valuable and privileged tool to share and preserve ideas and stories.

Wordshop co-presidents Chang and Malvika Shrimali ’24 emphasized that Wordshop requires no prior writing experience and that anyone with an interest in creative writing can join club meetings. 

“We also always encourage newcomers and don’t want people to be intimidated by the notion of never having been to a meeting before,” Chang said. “Even if you’ve never been and you find yourself wanting to write or simply hear some beautiful stories, you will always be welcome.”

At each Wordshop meeting, members are given around twenty minutes of writing time on a themed prompt, which was voted on at the previous meeting, and they are subsequently offered a chance to share their work with the group. Past prompts have ranged from “misunderstood monsters” to “love poems.” Additionally, a “follow your heart” option is always provided for those who wish to write whatever they would like.

Given that writing is often situated in a stressful academic context in college, Wordshop aims to operate in an entirely different low-stakes sphere of creativity and artistic freedom.

“Wordshop has always been intended to be a low-stress environment for writers. Many clubs require high degrees of commitment, and even within the creative writing space, workshops elsewhere are often formalized in ways that scare away aspiring writers,” member Charlie May ’24 wrote in an email to The Flat Hat. “At its core, Wordshop is a place that focuses on writing as a way to decompress, which is something I think a lot of us could use.”

Wordshop aims to reframe writing in a positive light for students, providing an escape from the drudgery of certain academic writing requirements. 

Writing isn’t a chore or an obligation here; it is a means to destress,” Treasurer Iman Hersi ‘27 wrote in an email to The Flat Hat.

Club members also pinpointed how Wordshop helps maintain constant writing practice amidst the many different aspects of a busy college life. 

“We’re so focused on classes or other clubs and responsibilities that it can be hard to focus on writing for fun or to further your own personal projects, and Wordshop has helped me sit down and write every week to keep my skills sharp,” Outreach Chair Phebe Gentlesk ‘27 wrote in an email to The Flat Hat.

In addition to honing their creative writing skills, other members highlighted that writing in a shared, communal setting was more appealing to them than working individually.

“People come and go over the months and years, but the club has always retained a uniquely chill vibe that makes sharing work more comfortable,” May wrote in an email to The Flat Hat. “It’s a very relaxing feeling that beats typing away alone in a dark, drab dorm room a million times over.”

Social Chair Angelina Joa ’25 shared a similar sentiment, underlining that Wordshop is unique compared to other clubs at the College in its ability to successfully build an environment that is extremely welcoming and non-intimidating for all members, new and old. 

“Wordshop is the first club where I feel comfortable and content. It’s the first club where I feel like I don’t have to force myself to be there out of necessity,” wrote Joa in an email to The Flat Hat. “Rather, I’m there because I really want to be there. Wordshop for me is a place of comfort.”

Considering the overwhelmingly positive experience relayed by Wordshop members, the club has sought to expand and strengthen its student writing community through a multitude of new initiatives in the last year and a half. The club has created a social media presence on both Instagram and Discord, increased social events, fostered collaborations with other groups at the College and invited various guest speakers. The organization has also recently expanded its executive board team and started fundraising events in the hopes of growing its presence on campus.

“I would love more people to get involved,” Shrimali said. “Writing does not have to be stressful and I want to encourage people to explore the arts.”

For anyone who has ever considered doing some writing just for the fun of it, Wordshop offers an easygoing environment to do that during its weekly meetings on Mondays at 7 p.m. in Chancellors 133.


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