Two literature-loving students chose Western University on a whim. Not knowing much about their programs, they jumped head first into the English and Creative Writing program at Western University. After having a few classes in common, they ended up working together as Editorial Assistants at the Canadian Poetry Press. Coming face to face for the first time, they were able to introduce themselves to one another. These students were myself and Sydney Brooman.
Brooman is this year’s Writer-in-Residence at Western University. She has published a few pieces in Occasus. She continuously expands her writing skills while helping other students expand their craft.
Inspired by my peer, I approached Brooman to talk to her more about how she came to be the Writer in Residence and other questions about writing.
Q1) Why did you decide to pursue a Bachelor of Arts: Honors Specialization in English Language & Literature and Creative Writing?
I originally thought that I was going to do my Undergraduate degree in English Literature & Criminology. I’ve been writing fiction and creating stories for as long as I’ve been speaking and interacting with the world around me, but I was afraid to go to school for Creative Writing for two reasons:
Q2) What do you plan to do after you graduate from Western University in April 2018?
After I graduate from Western University in 2018, I’ll hopefully be going to graduate school for an MFA in Creative Writing (fingers crossed for those offers of admission!) at either The University of British Columbia, The University of Toronto, or The University of Guelph (Humber Campus). All of the programs would offer me a lot of publishing opportunities and mentorship with established professionals, so I’m excited to see my writing reach its new level of potential.
My most memorable experience thus far has been having the opportunity to give a joint reading/lecture in Professor Aaron Schneider’s “Write Now!” speaker series course alongside established playwright Daniel MacIvor. Answering questions with Daniel really made me feel as though I was “real” writer, and it was incredibly valuable practice for the professional world!
Q5) You currently have a wide variety of genres published. What is your preferred genre(s) to write in?
My preferred genre honestly depends on the time of year. I’m currently in quite a groove with short fiction and creative non-fiction, but about six months ago I was writing nothing but poetry. Overall, I think short fiction has to be my favourite.
My first is to always seek out opportunities that you are afraid of. I never used to submit to journals because I was afraid that my work wouldn’t be submitted, but unsubmitted work will never get published. Take chances when applying for positions and accepting work, and sometimes the universe surprises you.
My second piece of advice is that no matter what stage of your writing career you are at, you can always get to the point of producing publishable work if you continue to write. A lot of people stop writing because they think they aren’t good enough to write professionally, but you have to write clichés before you can not write clichés. Write and read so much that you almost become sick of words—then read and write some more.