What an incredible semester this has been! I finished the year, turned in all my final portfolios, and finished registering for the spring on December 2nd, my 29th birthday. I can hardly believe it’s over and I’ve finished my first year of graduate school and my first semester as an MFA student. I can’t even begin to list all the things I’ve learned about craft, writing, and the profession but I feel absolutely giddy to be participating in all of it. Here are 5 fabulous moments I had this year as a result of school and being in the MFA.
- I went to 2 Writers’ Conferences. The first was the UNM CE Writers’ Conference, “Start to Sales.” This was my second year and it was great. I got to meet David Morrell whose craft book changed the way I write from the first chapter I read. If you’re in New Mexico, you should attend. It’s inexpensive to register ($150) and they have fantastic workshops, speakers, and round-table discussions. The second conference I was able to attend was the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference (now called The UNM Summer Writers’ Conference in Santa Fe–it’s long story). TSWC is sort of a big deal. It’s a week long and regularly named one of the top conferences in the country. I was only able to go to the weekend session but I learned so much about querying and the process of getting an agent, getting a publisher, and selling your book. I left Taos with a much stronger query letter and the results have been awesome.
- I workshopped Triangle and I know where I’m going with it! It was invaluable and I’m thrilled. If you are a writer, serious about crafting your very best work, you need to be in a workshop. You can attend university level workshops as a non-degree seeking student (we had several in our workshop) or you can join a writers group or any number of clubs for people seeking constructive criticism. I don’t think you can reach your potential as a writer without submitting your work for critique by your peers and being receptive to their input.
- I unpublished The Golden Apple and am going to spend the winter break (2 weeks of paid vacation–a big perk of working for the university) revising.
- I was the fiction judge for the Lena Todd Awards. They asked me in October and I nearly cried. The Lena Todd Award is a scholarship award given to the best undergraduate creative writing in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. I was so honored and humbled to read and judge the stories.
- I did my first reading two weeks ago! I was very nervous and had a tremendous time deciding what to wear (I also had a big work thing happening that day so I had to be dressed work-appropriate as well). I read for approximately 10 minutes (Good Lord, that is an eternity!) from a short fiction piece I wrote and revised and revised again throughout the semester. I love going to the W.I.P. readings and hearing my peers read their work. It’s so inspiring and it emphasizes what an honor it is to be part of the program with so many talented writers.