I recently got my copy of The Creative Writing MFA Handbook by Tom Kealey back from a friend who borrowed it (and was accepted to Goddard College) and was transported back to two years ago when I was in the “MFA zone.” All I did was research, revise my story, research some more, talk to people, research some more, and prayed I’d get into an MFA program. When I was rejected by all seven schools, I took a break. But man, it was brutal to try to put yourself on the page, sell yourself, and want to study with other writers. Continue reading
March of this year, I received a rejection letter from the University of Arizona. The letter went something like this:
This morning, I finished a short story for my writing workshop. I was enchanted and completely involved in my story like I’ve never been before. I was lost in the story, I liked what I was writing, and although I know the tale has many places where it can benefit from some description, the first draft is complete. The only place to go from here is the revision state.
I was in the revision zone last year with a piece I had workshopped in so many places and the result was a polished story lacking emotion. I read the manuscript myself a few days ago and was impressed with how I crafted my tale but as for impact, there was none.
With this story, I can build on it without making my message saccharine but truthful and honest. My goal is to put myself entirely on the page, which I was unable to do with my piece for MFA applications.
I have officially decided to put aside applying for an MFA degree this year; I’m having too much fun writing both creative non-fiction and fiction to worry about application deadlines. The good news is I can attend university open houses and start saving for school when I apply for 2012. Seems so far away but time will fly.
I’m focusing all my energy on my craft and also running, but that’s another entry (when I finish Marukami’s book) so I will be busy this fall.
How’s everyone about to apply this round doing? Psyched? Scared? Who’s taken the GRE? I’m so glad I never have to take that test again!
I’m writing. I’m reading. I’m reading about writing. I’m reading about writing as a writer. I’m writing about writing and reading. I’m doing the work. But I’m not MFA application ready.
I want to be so solid that I’m a shoe in. I want to spend another year thoroughly researching my programs and have a great manuscript ready for the applications. My spirits are lackluster in applying this time around and I’d rather not haphazardly apply in the hopes I’ll get in and then kick myself for not providing myself with more time to hone my work.
I’ve made my decision but am open to suggestions. Should I wait another year to apply or should I apply this year?
I am obsessed with the Biography Channel lately. I came upon this channel one night as they showed a special on Animal House. Although not a huge fan of the movie (maybe I wasn’t ready for it the first time I watched it?), I was entranced by the behind the scenes aspect of the two-hour special. I never got a chance to finish watching the program but I became hooked on the channel.
There are biographies on actors – known and well-known (by me) – and I learn so much about them and in turn my motivation to watch the specials on them.
Their struggle, perseverance, and motivation for success keeps me hopeful. I know I should be writing and reading instead of watching these programs but this gives me aspirations of something more.
Maybe it’s shallow, maybe it’s not, but I’m extremely hopeful for my future.
I called up the University of San Francisco and flat out asked about the status of my application. I was not accepted which was saddening but I already knew I wasn’t getting in. The person I spoke to was very nice about it and I didn’t feel terrible or let down. I read my own work so I knew the end result.
Then I called up the last school I’m waiting to hear from – San Diego State University – and they told me they wouldn’t let me know until April 23rd. What..the…frak. Seriously? That late in the month? Whatever. I wanted USF the whole time and I didn’t get in so I’m done. Next!
I’m going to Greece, I’m taking a copyediting class, I love my internship, I’m applying to publishing jobs, I’m learning how to play tennis and golf, I’m going to watch two concerts in July and…I’m going to have a great summer! I have many things lined up so I won’t be wallowing in my sorrow.
I can’t front – even with the rejections, my head is still high and when I apply again for next fall, my writing will be much stronger.
Presently, research low residency programs, scholarships, and other MFA programs.
Alright universities, no more Mrs. Nice Girl. I need to know if I’m in or not in these universities! I’m trying to get my dates straight for my Greece trip and I can’t do anything until I know what’s going on.
Isn’t it quite rude for schools not to notify folks their decision early enough so the potential students can plan? Honestly, if I haven’t heard by now, maybe the tardy response means a definite no? One of my friends told me she didn’t hear until mid-April from one school that she was accepted so I’m not completely out of the running. However, I’m already making plans for other things in my life and because I don’t know what’s up, I’m a frakking sitting duck. What the frak.
I’m going to hope that in a week, I will receive some type of notification because this is absolutely ridiculous!
Yesterday afternoon I received a rejection letter from the University of Arizona. Every time I receive a letter from a school, I assume “rejection.” But here’s the thing: I’m already past this. To me, I’ve already been rejected from the rest of the schools (even though one school keeps sending me incomplete application status, its so frakking annoying!) and I’m fine with that.
I was able to read my submission with the same attention a department member would and its not MFA material at this time. I accept that and I’m glad that I can recognize that I have room to improve. My writing has improved and flourished since I applied which is apparent with the work I’ve been creating lately (memoir mostly).
I’m already looking into a certificate program at the Graduate’s Center called The Writer’s Institute which is an intense one year program. I read about the program on the Mediabistro website. They call themselves the Un-MFA program. Application deadline is April 15th so I need to get up on it.
My head is in a good place now. With this writer’s institute, what I have to decide now is if I want to apply to take courses in fiction or non-fiction. My heart knows what it wants so I’ll follow wherever it takes me.
Bring on the letters, for crying out loud, so I can move on with my life!
One of my classmates in my memoir writing class shared with us that she was accepted to the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa. I was so happy for her and impressed; Iowa is one of the best schools one can get accepted to and its a free ride! She’ll be missing our class next week and possibly the last class because she’ll be visiting Iowa. How exciting is that? She also said that because none of her friends are writers, they have no idea how huge this is. She’ll be getting her MFA from one of the most prestigious writing schools out there. Pretty frakking kool.
On my front, second week of March and four schools pending without any indication of acceptance or rejection. When I check the mail everyday, I brace myself for good or bad news. Once I notice I don’t have mail from a school, I relax. But I know when I receive a single thin envelope that its totally a rejection. I’m waiting on Four, for crying out loud! It’s driving me crazy. However, I am writing on a more consistent basis, which is wonderful for me. Which brings me to…
Am I writing in the wrong genre? I’m enjoying my memoir writing class too much and have had no interest in crafting a fictional piece. I’m probably feeling this way because I realize that my submission to graduate school wasn’t interesting or insightful which showed. I was content with the way the piece was written but not the underlying message or the characters. I didn’t even like my protagonist; I liked the people causing her harm more than the other way around.
Additionally, because I have been journaling for as long as I can remember, writing about my life is effortless. Every assignment is a breeze; even the piece that I workshopped the first time and this second time around, I felt proud of and I look forward to receiving feedback. I think getting workshopped is great but sometimes I rely too much on workshopping when I write a piece. I anticipate some critiques and most aren’t a surprise, which I’m unsure if its a good thing or a bad thing – meaning, I know my writing so well I know the good and the bad things myself.
I can’t front though; workshopping has significantly attributed to me having the knowledge now about my writing and my pattern. I have to say I have been amazed at how far I have come from my first workshop.
I am patient with the possibility of having a significant other, moving on my own someday, being at my ideal weight, running a marathon but, I’m extremely impatient with this! I wanna know Now if I’m in or out so I can move on with my life. I’ll just bury my head in the sand and wait for my frakking letters. (R.I.P. John Hughes)
I received my first rejection letter from the University of Texas at Austin. As soon as I saw the letter, I knew it was a rejection. Maybe its wrong of me to think back to when as a high school student, I paid attention to the thinness or fattiness of the university envelopes.
Getting into undergraduate school was a breeze – only one school rejected me – Hamilton College – which at the time, I didn’t even know why I applied there in the first place. I got into every school I wanted. Even at a Pennsylvania school I never intended on attending like Susquehanna University!
This time around though, is completely different. My acceptance is based on this – what I’m doing right now – sharing my thoughts and experiences in fictionalized form. Maybe I jumped the gun; maybe I should have waited another year before applying to grad school. I feel like the time between applying and now, my writing has already improved. There are instances that I’m already aware of improvements without a workshop.
After all that, how do I really feel? The free ride was a Sweet deal but that’s all I was thinking about. And because it was a good program. Was I in love with the prospects of attending UTA? No. Am I sad with the rejection? No. I got six more schools to hear from. Bring it on! I’m ready.