I calculated that the majority of my choices’ deadlines are actually next year. However, I’m an early bird. Last year, I sent out all my applications around December. Additionally, I was on vacation for the majority of December so I had no choice. This time around, I’m wondering if I should take my time with my manuscript per application. I’m not applying to seven again like last year. Plus, most of them are in my city so the applications won’t take forever to reach their destination. The applications that will travel are the low residency programs I’m applying to.
I started my excel sheet for materials like in the MFA Handbook. What I don’t have are my recommenders. I have two in mind but I need to figure out how many each school wants. If it’s only two, I’m good. If I need a third, this will be difficult. I’ll make it happen somehow.
How are first, second, or third-timers handling the MFA application process now?
Monday night, our instructor went over the homework assignment which was primarily about subject and verb agreements. I had to look up what the subject for a sentence was because I hadn’t studied this since junior high school.
Upon reviewing the homework, I did well – better than I expected. Where I was lacking was in changing subject/verb agreements in sentences.
Then we did an in-class exercise which consisted of rearranging sentences, subject/verb agreement and a long article about Black Jazz Vocalists with crazy errors to remedy.
At the end of the class, I realized I’m not cut out to be a Copyeditor. I thought I’d enjoy this but knowing myself, I would get bored. I think if I had a job like say, Production Editor, where I oversaw edits on manuscripts and did other things other than only copyedit, I would be happy. Freelance Copyeditor? Me? I don’t see it.
For those interested in looking for Copyediting jobs, I have conveniently provided the websites referred to me by my instructor. Enjoy.
Copyeditor Job Board: http://jobs.copyeditor.com
The Slot: http://www.theslot.com/howto.html
Freelance Mailing List: http://www.comteck.com/~tanuki/
Editorial Freelancers Association: http://www.the-efa.org/
Copyediting Job Resources: http://www.nyu.edu/classes/copyXediting/eresources.html#job
I’ve decided what schools I will apply to in the fall for Fall 2010.
New School University – had a post about how awesome the program is so I’m in.
Brooklyn College – gorgeous campus and potential to have be a TA during my academic career.
Hunter College – I’ve heard absolutely nothing but great things about this program so I’m applying based on that. Plus, my brother actually attended and that wouldn’t hurt for making friends.
University of San Francisco – that’s right, I’m trying again because I will not be stopped in the face of “No”!!
So far so good – I will start writing my personal statements, save up for my applications, work on or edit a piece for my submission and most importantly, get all those damn undergraduate transcripts all over again. Not to mention, hit up more folks for recommendations. I hope all I need is two because three is ridiculous.
As for low residency choices, I perused the Poets and Writers MFA database, wrote down a few choices but have yet to research which ones to apply to. I’ll narrow it down in the next month and go from there. Some of these schools have rolling admissions which freaks me out because I’m absolutely not ready with anything readable to those committees so I’m doing them all at the same time like last year. Why does it feel like application time is almost nearing and it’s only April? I’m already psyching myself out! I need to chill.
I’m ahead of myself but I do need to work on my manuscript (whatever that may be) because I realized that the other stuff is pie – the manuscript is killer.
What to choose is the question. That, I’ll have to mull on for a bit.
I’ve mentioned this before (or maybe I haven’t) but I think the most important thing a writer should do prior to sending out his or her manuscript to a literary agent is have a stranger or a group of strangers read it.
I can’t say how much I’ve read manuscripts chockfull of clichés. C’mon writers! If you are going to take writing seriously, take your writing seriously. Don’t half-ass it! I want every writer to find success in their own way (depending on how you measure success) but please do Everything you can to be on point!
I have my own writing that I know I need to edit and have the message/theme clear for the reading audience. I know I’m not going to send out a submission without someone that’s not related to me or even a friend read. Why? The friend (unless a writer friend that is great at providing constructive criticism) will only say good things. Let’s take this for real, even if the criticism is for your own development as a writer.
Clichés, folks? Really? I’m not an agent (yet, who knows?) but if there’s any knowledge I’d like to impart to you (coming from a writer like yours truly) is to edit, have lay people read it, and have people who read incessantly read your work because they are examples of your audience, no matter what genre they read. If the story works, great. If the writing does not work, then try again.
Writing is about creating worlds, stories, connecting to folks, and whatever you want it to mean. Editing is also a part of writing that must be included to be clear and precise about your intention.
I only want the best for everyone out there trying to make their writing career happen. I’m doing this myself.
When you read your own work, sometimes you don’t notice what’s in front of you like typos and clichés.
In short, please please please workshop your work or join a writing group (meetup.com has a lot of those) and make your writing career happen!
Happy writing to all!
I just had my last writing workshop of the year, which was amazing. They provided me with exceptionally useful feedback for my MFA manuscript. I feel confident about my manuscript as opposed to before. I spent a great amount of time on this story (which is my newest piece of fiction this year apart from prior short stories I’ve written since undergrad) and it shows! I’m so proud of myself but not until I have my high school English teacher read it. I can’t wait to read her feedback. She hasn’t read my work since high school. I shall see what she’ll tell me.
And these personal statements: I want to send them all one sentence – I write because I have to. It’s simple. I don’t want to give them all this b.s. about how I want to change the world with my words. The bottom line is I want to attend graduate school because I want to be surrounded by like-minded individuals, great instructors, and an environment that takes writing seriously.
Why, grad school, you ask? I could apply to low-residency programs, take more writing workshops with Gotham or Sackett and still be in an environment that takes writing seriously. I think the difference is that graduate school allows an individual to focus on both reading and writing as a writer and you get more when its very concentrated. Maybe I’m full of crap; what do I know? I’ve never applied to obtain my MFA before. This is my first attempt ever. I might not even get into any of the schools I apply to! I want to get my MFA for myself because I am taking my writing seriously for the first time in my life. Why not get those tools from the people that are published and can support you on your journey? Maybe I’m just plain old fashioned but for me, I function and learn best in a school setting; especially when it comes to focusing on your writing.
I’m almost there. Sending these out next Friday and then I’ll set it and forget it.
Can someone make this process into a science? The constant double checking of materials is never ending and the personal statements are all over the place. Why can’t graduate schools use the common application the way it was for some undergraduate applications?
I thought to myself, “Why is this so frakking stressful? I didn’t do any of this when I applied to college the first time around.” Then I remembered – my school adviser mailed all of my applications off. I didn’t do all this administrative work before and I hate it now.
Today, I spent the whole day visiting my school websites to figure out their personal statement requirements. The good thing is, most of them want a 200-500 count personal statement while only two ask for a 2-5 page minimum. Why can’t they all ask for uniform personal statements? The most important part of the application is my work of art anyway.
But I do have to say that the binder I allotted for all my application materials has significantly helped me through this. I write a note on each MFA checklist per school and stickers on the schools that accept online personal statements, which makes my life a whole lot easier when I mail out supplemental materials like the manuscript.
As for my manuscript, reading the speakeasy forums on the Poets and Writers website has significantly silenced any self-doubt that was constantly chatting in my head during this process. I don’t know if the doubt sprung from being critiqued by a friend who was trying to help that shot my ego into bits; being unemployed due to department lay-offs; having an interview for a publishing intern position and unsure if publishing is even something I genuinely imagine myself working in; or having cabin fever because all I’ve been doing is editing my manuscript for this application. For the past week, I was pregnant with dread, self-doubt, and anxiety. I always feel this way when my work is critiqued by a friend (but I never feel this way after a writing workshop critique) and when I’m about to embark on a journey that is bigger than me.
This Saturday, I attended a Write it Right! workshop administered by the Gotham Writer’s Workshop. This class focused on the functions of basic grammar starting with the noun and ending with bracket usage. The last hour of the class is a little fuzzy because I had stopped paying attention after semicolon usage. The class was very helpful; I feel confident and comfortable using the semicolon and comma in most sentences, like this one. In this class, the people in attendance were from all walks of life – more older than younger actually. One girl mentioned she was accepted into the Sarah Lawrence program and had to withdraw because it was so intense. My hypersensitive emotional state during this process was stimulated when she mentioned her experience; am I ready to dedicate my full attention to writing in an MFA program? After reading the speakeasy forum, I have the confidence to answer this question with a simple: Bring it on!
Writers have different experiences when they obtain their MFA degree. If and when I am accepted, the only thing I am certain of is that I’ll be surrounded by writers that can help me shape my writing. I’m taking my writing seriously for the first time in my life. It’s now or never.