Return of the Creator[s]

February 27, 2020
Grant Dever, Special Projects Manager

Wait, what is Rochester Creators?


We’re a one year old community at University of Rochester that helps students develop their creative confidence through writing. The goal of most of our “creators” is to create a piece of writing that they’ll feel confident showing to the world, as a series of blog posts, an ebook, a paperback book, or another medium!


We call everything we do at iZone a prototype and this is no exception. We believe that taking risks, conducting experiments, and learning from them is vital to success in all domains. We learned a lot from our initial cohort and we’re excited for the future of Rochester Creators. 


During our first cohort, we were solely focused on writing manuscripts, with the intention to publish in December of 2019.


The good news: four of our creators (so far) were successful in writing and publishing their first books (Jack, Devin, Grant, and Tianna)! 


The bad news: the initial pilot didn’t allow us to provide enough support for many of our creators. We lost some along the way as they became overwhelmed by their other commitments and others struggled to publish their manuscripts for a variety of reasons. 


After evaluating the outcomes of our pilot we’ve made various changes to better support our creators through this process.


The biggest one: we’re currently piloting Rochester Creators as a 4.0 credit CAS[162] course. This will enable us to better support each of the creators. Instead of meeting once a week for an hour, late on a Monday or Tuesday night (10pm, 9pm respectively…) We now meet twice a week from 4:50-6:05PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


We’ve also reframed the program to be solely focused on three objectives:

  • Building your creative confidence by: 
    • keeping a journal of your process
    • developing relationships with other creators
    • writing, writing, writing on a topic of your choice
  • Developing your research abilities by:
    • conducting primary interviews with experts in your field of interest
    • leveraging library resources to conduct a deep dive into secondary research
    • engaging in digital networking
  • Creating ~20,000 words worth of stories and material that the creators can choose to expand on and  publish (or not)  through a medium of their choice

Since the creators have committed an additional hour and a half a week to class time, iZone has allocated more of our time to supporting creators through this journey. 

We are using the additional class time to connect students to: 

  • The Greene Center’s resources for networking, turning their research and writing into job opportunities
  • The Outreach Librarians for research support
  • The Writing and Speaking fellows at Writing, Speaking, and Argument
  • An alumna who works as a literary agent at a large publisher
  • Supplemental materials focused on building an audience online, sharing your story, publishing online

Our goal is for every creator to create something that they feel confident sharing with the world. This isn’t a requirement of the class but an outcome that we aspire towards. Part of the creative process is overcoming the anxiety that comes when you press ‘submit’, learning how to ignore the haters, and taking constructive feedback to improve your craft. 

At iZone, we are building a community that prepares students to explore ideas with creativity, empathy, and resilience. The process of going through the Creators curriculum enables us to prepare a cohort of students to do just that!

Unfortunately, we’re no longer accepting any more students. If you’re interested in joining the next cohort in 2021, be sure to follow iZone on Instagram @izonercl and subscribe to our newsletter. Those are the best ways to ensure you don’t miss the next application cycle!