The story of ‘Writers Unblocked’
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 20:10
For PUC students wanting to take a class in creative writing, there is not only the chance to learn to write creatively, but also the opportunity to have a creative story published in the annual publication “Writers Unblocked.”
Michael Dobberstein, associate professor of English, teaches a creative writing course and said “Writers Unblocked” was his idea.
“We no longer had funding for Skylark, which was the literary journal the English department published for many years, but money was available for a student publication,” Dobberstein said.
Another creative writing instructor, Janine Harrison, worked with Dobberstein to develop a procedure to allow students the opportunity to help choose selections for the journal. The two instructors also wanted students to name the publication.
Dobberstein said the name “Writers Unblocked” was a student’s idea. Students contributed to the design of the journal. The current cover design, he said, was created by student Megan Varney.
“Two or three years ago we thought it might be a good idea to include student photos in the journal,” Dobberstein said. Photos featured in the publication are from students in Associate Professor Tom Roach’s photography course.
“In my opinion, these photos enhance the general artistic appeal of the journal immeasurably,” Dobberstein said.
According to Dobberstein, the first issue of “Writers Unblocked”was published in 2007. After initial publication, Dobberstein said former Dean of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Daniel Dunn was interested in the journal and helped provide funding. Currently, both the English and philosophy and communication and creative arts departments provide funding for “Writers Unblocked.”
“The purpose of ‘Writers Unblocked’ is to give students in our creative classes an incentive to do their best work,” Dobberstein said. “We give it away, free, to all students who finished creative writing classes in the semesters for which the journal is published.”
The most recent journal will be distributed to students who were in creative writing classes in fall 2011 and spring 2012. Dobberstein said there are always extra copies for individuals interested in student work.
“There usually isn't much reward for [writing], and writers often go unrecognized. We thought that publishing in a journal whose selections were made by students and instructors would help provide students with the confidence needed to continue writing,” Dobberstein said.
Dobberstein said one of the major challenges that writers face is rejection of their work.
“Many writers have stories about desk drawers filled with rejection slips. These stories are not exaggerations. Every writer must learn to cope with rejection,” Dobberstein said. “Learning to do this builds character. This is not a bad side effect of striving to be a published writer.”
Dobberstein said “Writers Unblocked”will continue to be published as long as the English and philosophy and communication and creative arts departments support it.