Put it all on the page: Express yourself as a student writer

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Fellow students, it’s time to write more than that paper due next week—it’s time to share your story with the world.  

And it’s the perfect time. April is National Poetry Month. Take a break from studying for finals, stretch out your achy fingers, and jot down a poem—or anything else that comes to mind.

If you’re struggling to find something to write about, take a walk outside in the brisk Minnesota air. Take in the scents of budding leaves and fresh soil. Listen to the melodic spring bird calls and the wind rippling through renewed trees. Inspiration is only a step outside.


Where do we write?

Submission is an important aspect of writing, but it’s daunting to say the least. It’s common to hear the phrase, “You’ll get rejected twenty times more than you’ll be accepted.” And while that can be true, it’s worth risking rejection.

I submit because it’s nice to see what others might think of a piece,” creative writing student Maggie Dyslin told me. “That, and it’s just nice to have your piece published. It’ll help to get my name out there.”

But where can we submit? Here at Metro State, we are lucky to have two on-campus places to get published.

Metro State’s student newspaper, The Metropolitan, welcomes new reporters and opinion writers year-round. It’s a great opportunity to not only get some quality writing experience, but also get involved with the community on campus. The newspaper invites letters to the editor as well.

Haute Dish is Metro State’s arts and literature magazine. Printed twice a year, this writing outlet is open to submissions of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, memoir, personal essay, visual art, digital art and digital storytelling. The deadlines for submissions are April 15 and Nov. 15 every year.

Rhyan Bogle, who has been published in Haute Dish many times, shared his thoughts on submitting: “Well one, it’s just really cool to see your name in print. It’s an encouragement to keep writing.”

When asked what advice he would give someone when submitting, Bogle said simply, “Just do it.”


What do we write?

Sitting down to write your story is challenging. It’s easy to think your story isn’t worth telling or that you have nothing interesting to say. That’s simply not true, and certainly not a reason to hold you back.

But how do I start, you may ask. Do I need to have ideas for my characters and settings all mapped out? Do I need to know who I’m writing for or what I’m writing about?

Nope. It doesn’t matter—or if it does, you’ll figure it out later. What matters most is picking up your favorite half-chewed pen or your laptop and writing whatever words simmer in your mind. Then turn up the heat and see how those words take shape.

Try keeping a journal close by. Write for ten minutes or write all day long. Just write.

In his memoir “On Writing,” Stephen King offers great guidance to budding writers: “The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.”

That’s advice I need to hear.


Why do we write?

Writing is storytelling. Whether fiction or not, every genre shares a story. Writing gives us a chance to walk in someone else’s shoes, to see through another person’s eyes if only for a moment.

It doesn’t matter what genre you choose to shape your story. What matters is simply transcribing your words from soul to paper.

I write because sometimes reality isn’t enough,” said Farrah Al-Humayani, a creative writing major. “Other times it’s too much, so I use writing as a form of therapy through which I process my thoughts and emotions.”

Founder of a small writer’s group on campus, Al-Humayani hosts a workshop on the first Sunday of every month in the Student Center. All Metro State community members are welcome (Email her at farrahalhumayani at yahoo.com for more information).

So why write? Simply put, we write because we all have stories to tell. Each and every one of us. And it’s time to share them with each other.