Students today are creating more text than any other generation in history, and for young writers who want to harness that flood of language to create art, Blue Lake’s Writing Camp is the ideal setting to pursue their discipline.
Henry David Thoreau wrote that he “went to the woods because [he] wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life,” and to see if he “could not learn what it had to teach.” Blue Lake provides a peaceful, wooded setting that helps students tune out the distractions of daily life and tune into their own inner worlds. Unplugging from the glare of computer screens, Blue Lake Creative Writers use pencils and paper to write, which not only allows them to reap the well-documented benefits of writing by hand, but also allows them to be highly mobile and write in different scenic locations on our lakeshore campus.
The Creative Writing program is a place for writers both new and experienced. Creative Writing faculty provide individualized attention in small class sizes. Students write and attend classes daily in our picturesque Art Barn and also frequently foray onto camp to seek inspiration for their writing by responding to dance, orchestra, band, vocal, and other exhibitions in writing. Collaboration between Creative Writing and other departments is rich, and students may have opportunities to practice ekphrastic writing with the Visual Art department or broadside production with the Printmaking department.
Through multiple drafts, every Creative Writing student works toward the creation of one or more polished pieces of writing to include in a bound anthology produced by Blue Lake faculty. These anthologies contain work from Creative Writing students in the session and are theirs to keep. This process-based approach helps students to engage deeply with revision as a form of “seeing again,” allows them to begin to envision their readers, and encourages deeper reflection about the use of white space, typographical and grammatical conventions, and more.
Creative Writing students can complete their instructional day and enrich their writing lives by choosing a Minor, allowing them to experience another area of interest while at camp. Students also have the opportunity to attend Summer Arts Festival performances, as well as participate in recreation, camp activities, and attend arts-focused educational events in the evening.
All sessions conclude with a celebratory live reading designed to get students thinking about the expectations of audiences, hone their verbal delivery skills, and boost their confidence in their written work. Students read from their anthology piece and have the opportunity to debut a new piece for their audience as well. Families are welcome to attend these rich Final Sunday Readings.
Sessions 1–2 Genre Studies
Students in Sessions 1 and 2 will take courses in craft elements of poetry and prose. In addition to several hours of intensive workshops, students will also have the opportunity to read and discuss the work of living writers as viable craft models. Upon enrollment and subject to availability, students may have the opportunity to state a genre preference to serve as their major area of focus. Students can expect to partake in several hours of discussion-based class time followed by two or more hours of independent writing studio time per day.
Sessions 3–4 Cross-Genre Approaches
Students in Sessions 3 and 4 take courses in multiple writing genres and focus on play and experimentation. These students make a deeper exploration of the sensory world in order to boost their grasp of image and detail, and also engage in process-based techniques like erasure, musical accompaniment, and curated nature walks. Students will have several hours of class time focused on hands-on exercises punctuated by hour-long stretches of supervised independent work time per day.