The Writer’s Block

Brooke Sheehy, staff writer

The Writer’s Block is Edina High School’s student-run writing center. Every day, during lunch and online after school, students can receive writing tips and feedback on their writing including English papers, college application essays, Deca written events, and personal creative writing pieces.

Last year, the Writer’s Block was located in the English hallway on the second floor. Since relocating to the Youth Serving Youth room in the cafeteria, the Writer’s Block has a warm and welcoming feel with many coaches who choose to be there to help. Led by seniors Abigail Swoap and Owen Stidman, and advised by teachers Kristin Benson and Sarah Franssen, the Writer’s Block is a resource both during and after school hours whether you are searching for topic to write about, in the final editing stages, or anywhere inbetween. “It’s a perfect way to get other students’ points of view on your writing. Sometimes your peers’ opinions give you ideas that you never would have thought of otherwise,” said Stidman. While e writing center only offers in-person writing conferences during school hours, there is also an online component to the Writer’s Block that can be used when a lunchtime meeting is not an option in your schedule.

If you want an in-person writing conference, visit the Writer’s Block during your lunch hour, where two to three student coaches and an advisor await the arrival of a young writer in need of peer review. Should you prefer online feedback, submit your paper online at any time. “You can submit papers to The Writer’s Block through your teacher’s Schoology page or through the EHS website. When you submit a paper, one of our student writing coaches will leave comments to guide you as you continue writing. Feel free to submit the same paper multiple times,” said Stidman.

Passionate about their role, coaches at the Writer’s Block spend their lunchtime away from any friends and entertaining lunchroom drama. “During my sophomore year, one of my friends who was a coach at the time thought I would be a good writing coach. It sounded like a great opportunity to help other students with their writing while improving my own, so I became a coach the next year,” said Stidman. After dedicating two years to the Writer’s Block, Stidman is a head writing coach and in charge of running this student led organization. One of his main jobs, aside from coaching, involves assigning online conferences to newer coaches.

With a good number of highly qualified student coaches every year, mentoring opportunities are always available. If interested, you can join The Writer’s Block as a coach your junior or senior year. Qualifications include a letter of recommendation from your Pre-AP 10 or US Literature teacher, and a sample piece of writing. The sample piece can be anything including, an English essay you have written for class or a creative writing piece written for leisure. Time spent coaching at the Writer’s Block does count towards the 120 community service hours needed to letter, so if you enjoy writing and helping others, you should definitely consider joining.

The Writer’s Block is a useful resource that has greatly impacted student’s grades. Having confidence in your writing abilities is important, and The Writer’s Block will strengthen that feeling. “Don’t hesitate to come in for a writing conference. I feel like some students are intimidated by the idea of another student giving feedback on their papers. There is no need to worry about that because The Writer’s Block is a very collaborative environment,” said Stidman.