An expression of creative writing written by an MCC student from Nov. 8, 2023. (Photo by Diego Esquivel)

Mesa Community College program helps students find unique writing voices

The creative writing program located at Mesa Community College has been assisting students throughout the fall semester in pursuing their careers as fiction writers, editors , copywriters, and lyricists. 

The creative writing program’s main objective has been to assist students in producing the best work possible by providing classes, workshops, and the chance to participate in competitions. 

Instructors focus on the quality of the students overall writing skills and see how their work could be enhanced while maintaining their own creative voice. 

“What these classes provide is a space for students, even if we are for 75 minutes at a time, twice a week. They have this place where they go to work specifically on the craft of storytelling. To work on the stories, and the poems, and the novels that they hope to see one day out into the world,” said Jeremy Broyles, instructor and director of the creative writing program.

Broyles acknowledged that a career in writing could be a difficult path to follow, as the industry is so competitive and can chip away at self confidence.

However, Broyles believes what MCC does so well is giving the students the skill and proper experience they need before starting their career.

Although many writing careers may start with a few hurdles or pitfalls, the program makes sure to better prepare students for such situations and give them confidence to push through adversity. 

Students begin by taking an introduction to creative writing course and get to choose one of two paths from there, either fiction or poetry based writing.

During the fall semester, students have the opportunity to enter in the Maricopa County Community College District creative writing competition which is open to all students within the district.

A competition is first held locally within MCCCD schools and categories include fiction, poetry, personal essay, and one act play. 

Winners of the local district competition go on to the national competition where they will compete with students from across the country. 

The competition comes with opportunities, not just to get their work out there but also cash prizes if a student is able to earn a place or win the national competition.

A spring competition held exclusively at MCC is open for any student to participate and students are encouraged to submit their work in either the pro or poetry categories to win potential cash prizes.

“When I go into the classes I teach, if there’s an opportunity that I am seeing within my own personal reading or research about a publication outlet that might be a good fit for either a particular student or the class in whole, that’s something that I share on a regular basis,” said Broyles

Broyles also appreciated how students have helped each other and formed what he calls informal writing clubs. 

Broyles noticed students getting together outside of class to talk about each other’s work, creating their own network of people with similar interests and similar living experiences. 

Graduates such as Nathaniel Buckingham have gone on to pursue their passion in writing. Buckingham is now a co-editor of the literary magazine Suburbia Journal. 

Buckingham works at the Suburbia Journal alongside editor Miranda Williams, who also graduated from the MCC creative writing program. Williams is currently at Northern Michigan University, looking to achieve a master of fine arts degree in Creative Writing, according to Broyles.

Broyles discussed how he has invited some of these alumni on several occasions to speak to students about their experiences in the industry.

“It’s very encouraging for current MCC students to see what previous MCC students have done with their education experiences at Mesa and how they can potentially be the next in line,” said Broyles.

This story was edited on 11/14/2023 to correct an error at the time of publication. It is Maricopa County Community College District, abbreviated as MCCCD.

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