Meet Joyce Nelson

Do you like writing? Are you free Wednesday evenings? Are you looking for a diverse group of friends?  

Come to Creative Writing Club!

Contrary to popular belief, “there’s a variety of people. Some English majors, some engineers, some historians . . .  just like a bunch of random people. That’s the best part, though, because if you are in a creative writing class, it's mostly English majors or minors, but here it can be anyone and you get a wider range of perspectives,” President Joyce Nelson says. Nelson is a Super Senior and became president this semester after an anonymous vote. She was the Vice President last semester.

The club meets for three hours, 4:30-7:00 in the Boardroom of the Webb Center, on Wednesday evenings. You do not have to go for the whole time but can just pop in for a few minutes. On the weekends, members post their recent writing in a google drive and comment on each other’s creations. Then, at the club meetings, they have discussions about them and do writing prompts to get the imagination working.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a pro. Creative Writing Club is for people in all stages of writing who just want to come share and have conversations about writing.

Nelson is an “English major with an emphasis in journalism. I did creative writing in high school and it is something I do on the side, a hobby.” She is in between major works right now, but dabbling in short fiction on a break from her poetry writing.

Through editing with peers in the club, it has helped her find patterns of errors and also her strengths as a writer. “If multiple people notice the same thing and make a comment about it, then you know it is something to look out for in your writing in the future,” she advises. Nelson generally doesn’t focus on the nitpicky details when she writes. She suggests for writers to get all of their thoughts out on the page before going back and editing for grammar and spelling. “This helps the story transition correctly between ideas and also can give you a clearer image of what needs help and to be clarified.” If you edit the little errors while writing, it can interrupt your thought process and lead to choppy writing.

Short stories are not the only genre critiqued by the club, they accept poetry, prose and even chapters from longer novels. Nelson suggests submitting a novel outline or chapter by chapter to stay under their 4,000-word limit.

Writing at night is one of Nelson’s favorite things, “I just sit there and free write random stuff that doesn't make sense before going back to the main idea. . . Most of the time I listen to music or have it on in the background to have my mind focus.” She believes that the night is the best time for her to concentrate on her craft because “there’s less noise, it’s quiet. I just put in my headphones and don’t worry about the sunlight. It’s peaceful. It makes you want to get up and be creative because there is no distraction, just you and the darkness.”

There’s more to Nelson than just running the club, however. After achieving her associate’s degree in liberal arts at Tidewater Community College, she began commuting to ODU. She is graduating in the fall of 2018 and plans to pursue a masters degree in creative writing. In addition, she is a member of WODU’s gaming division and helps run the podcast Nerd Talk. As a gamer, she recommends “Overwatch” and “To the Moon” because of their thought out storylines.

Running the Creative Writing Club is definitely on her favorite’s list of activities because she “can create events, work with other students, and see what they need help on. Now I can be more attentive to people and try to fix things that are wrong with the club and make collaborations.”

When Nelson joined, she “saw one of the flyers at the BAL, and as a nervous person, I emailed the president. The president at the time, now one of my good friends, though I was an older person because I emailed instead of just showing up at the club because, as a nervous wreck, I needed details.”

Have nothing to do this Wednesday? Try out this inclusive, welcoming, club and get to know a community of writers on Campus.

Have we convinced you to join?

If so, just look up ODU Creative Writing Club on Monarch Link or email [email protected] for more information.