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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

I have been a writer my entire life, yet, I’ve only ever done one open mic.

For my final year at MSU, I was the President and one of the founders of the Creative Writing Club. The CWC had a fairly consistent rotation where we would spend two weeks writing, one week workshopping, and then the next week doing an open mic.

Anyone was welcome to join the club, and likewise, any student at MSU was welcome to participate in our open mics. These were successful from the start, as it gave students a chance to share their work in a way most of them haven’t experienced before. Most students chose to read poetry, but every so often a few prose stories would make their way in.

I loved attending and helping to lead these. Having someone read their work out loud allows you to see the passion they put into it. They also give clues as to what the key parts of the piece are based on tone and inflection.

My first semester in the club was mostly centered around keeping the club running, and seeing what it was that people enjoyed and what they wanted to get out of the club. Everything was trial and error.

The second semester, I made it a personal goal to bring a piece of my own work to either a workshop or an open mic. I even told the others of my goal to further hold myself accountable.

My last semester was anything but easy. With school, more health issues, all the stressors of graduating, it all took a toll on me. Before I knew it, we were at the end of the school year and approaching our last open mic.

The day of the last open mic, April 10, will remain a core memory for me. I had gotten out of my favorite class and had a few hours to spare on campus before an office hours appointment. It was beyond beautiful outside, so I spent the time sitting outside of Wells Hall, near where our previous open mic was, and where it would be that day. 

I spent about two hours attempting to write poetry, playing around with a lot of ideas, and ending up with two pieces that I was passionate about. ‘Lavender’ and an untitled piece about my job and the mental impact it had on me.

I was terrified, and once I got home I was reading them in front of the mirror, trying to practice tone and inflection on my own. I was even timing my poems because I was scared to take up too much time.

Our club’s secretary, and one of my closest friends, Bella, was honestly my biggest supporter in all of this. They let me practice my poems in front of them, hyped me up the entire time, and encouraged me to go through with it once we were actually at the open mic.

I knew that there would never be an exact time where I would feel fully ready, but I went for it nonetheless. I was scared, I was shaky, but I did it. I read the first one, and even though I felt like it was terrible, my friends cheered me on. I even ended up reading my second poem as well.

I truly felt amazing afterwards. I was proud of myself. I now got to say that I participated in an open mic and I am so lucky I was surrounded by such an amazing support system. My favorite professor is the faculty adviser for our club. He even spoke with me about it afterwards, and then I truly did feel confident.

An open mic may not be right for everyone, and even though I’ve been a writer since elementary school, I’ve always been scared to share my work. I’m so connected to every piece that I write and so much of my life is put into them, so it feels like opening up the deepest parts of myself.

Instead, I would say to take your time and set a goal for yourself. Bonus points if you share your goal with someone who pushes you to be better to help hold yourself accountable.

Kaytlyn is a Senior at MSU majoring in Marketing and minoring in Creative Writing. She has been a published journalist and writer for over six years. Kaytlyn is currently the Chapter President and Campus Correspondent for HCMSU as well as being involved in the Campus Trendsetters program, College Fashionista program, and the HCM Internship Credit program. Outside of Her Campus, Kaytlyn has two cats, Leo and Zelda, as well as a ferret named Willow. She is also the President, Marketing Director, and a co-founder of the Creative Writing Club at MSU. She is also a cheer coach.