Claim Your Voice: Creative Writing & the University Libraries
As National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo) came to a head, novelists everywhere were either in manic mode (“This story practically wrote itself!”) or panic mode (“Writer’s block has impeded my craft and decimated my future!”). But fear not, creatives! November, as we all know, is busy, but there are still 335 other days you can use to pour your creativity into poetry, prose, and digital content. And the best part is, the University Libraries are here to help at any point in the writing process.
Let’s say your character and plot ideas need a boost of inspiration, perhaps from a historical text or a niche online database. If you need to know what kinds of shoes your rebellious Victorian schoolgirl would have worn or how to describe the engineering behind a futuristic alien language translation device, then our subject librarians can point you in the right direction. Not only do they provide custom tailored research training and subject specific research tools, but they can also assist in purchasing materials the libraries don’t currently own. This is your chance to sit down with a seasoned researcher to learn about the many possible paths your story can take. Find out what you need to research in order to construct a meaningful world for your readers.
Got your first draft? Housed on the second floor of Newman Library is the Writing Center, an extension of the Virginia Tech Department of English. There, trained coaches are available for one-on-one workshops to get your creative scholarship where it needs to be! Coaches offer suggestions on form, tone, characterization, organization, and much more. We suggest making an appointment online, but coaches also take walk-in appointments upon availability.
Maybe you’re already at the post-production stage of your writing, and you need an outlet for it. Fortunately, there are several options for getting published within the Virginia Tech community. Some in-house platforms include Silhouette Literary and Art Magazine, Philologia, and SPECTRA: Social, Political, Ethical, and Culture Theory Archives. While Silhouette takes submissions as part of its solely creative, bi-annual print publication, Philologia and SPECTRA publish creative works alongside peer reviewed research. Each has its own guidelines, so check out the journals’ sites for more info!
We also have the specialized staff to help you out with any creative publication questions you may have. Open Education, Copyright, and Scholarly Communication Librarian Anita Walz and Director of Publishing Strategy Peter Potter are open to having a consultation with you about what your options are in publishing your work and who your audience should be. Should you self-publish with an open access license or publish freely online to establish an audience in the Virginia Tech community? Or perhaps you should find an editor to see which publishing houses might best suit your work? They’ve got the knowledge you need to spark your creative success!
Children’s fiction, memoirs, slam poetry, creative nonfiction, experimental literature, comics, and blog posts are just several of the many forms your creative writing can take. Whether you have something in mind to write about or something you’ve already written, the University Libraries are eager to give your writing the attention it deserves.
Written by Alec Masella with help from Anita Walz