I’ve started the next phase of my life at Fantasy Writing School and so far, it’s been the clichéd “everything I dreamed of and more.” My writing cohort welcomed me like family, and the level of talent is out of this world – I already know that I am in the midst of greatness. On the downside, it means less time to commune with the virtual writing community; on the plus side, I hope my story inspires someone out there to see the traumatic MFA app process through to the end. There’s a brilliant light at the end of the tunnel, I assure you. I’m not a great writer. What I do have is a willingness to try, and to try hard. With that said, here’s the last installment of the “MFA Applications” series. Continue reading
I have a method for unloading the dishwasher in order to save 11 nanoseconds compared to the traditional way. I use spreadsheets to manage everything from parties to finances to MFA applications. I am painstakingly diligent, even for a business person. There are times when this trait comes in handy, and times when it leaves me lost and frustrated. These are the changes the gods of writing tell me I need to make in order to transition to the next phase of my life. Continue reading
I'm not going to beat around the bush. There's no reason to be diplomatic about this. If you wonder what to major in, you've come to the right place. You'll get no pfaff from me about critical thinking and learning "styles." I don't care if you learn best by collaborating with crocodiles or converting information into sock puppet skits. Your ONLY option for a major is Literature.
Also known as The Only Thing That Really Matters in an MFA application, the writing sample is where you should be putting all your creative energy. It should represent your best work. But can it actually be made better in the few months leading up to application deadlines? Continue reading
One of my few blessings as a writer is that I’m intimately aware of my faults and am all ears when teachers and readers point out new ones. The curse of this blessing is that I’m always editing while writing, and I tend to lose my first-draft flow. But in general, ignorance isn’t bliss. I’d rather know objectively what’s wrong with my writing than spend my life vigorously defending prose that just doesn’t work. Here are my current Top 7 Writing Faults and their fixes. Any of them sound familiar? Continue reading
With a solid business management career spanning a couple decades, I’ve been living a somewhat privileged life. From where I used to sit, it wasn’t unusual for people to go for four-figure dinners out, hobnob at charity events, and see shrinks to help them navigate their rich-people problems. Not that I was ever swimming in cash or that these were everyday occurrences for me, personally – but they were part of my social lexicon at one time or another. Now I’m asking myself: besides quitting my amazing Magic-8-Ball-slash-Jungian-analyst every week, what else do I really miss about being gainfully employed? And, more disturbingly, did my job actually help my writing? Continue reading
If you’re in or have been in business like me, at least half your job requires some form of project management, otherwise known as doing a bunch of stuff very well and on schedule in order to meet a deadline. Creative writing MFA apps are no different. Just like that successful widget project you launched last fiscal year, there are dependencies and critical paths and internal milestones you need to stay on top of in order to call the project a success. But you can get it all done without a six-sigma black belt. Here’s how.