Here it is – that moment I’ve been working towards this whole time – I’ve been accepted to the Masters of Art Creative Writing Program at Mills College. I’m in!
As I scanned the email yesterday, my heart beat a little faster, my breath quickened, and I had to blink repeatedly to make sure I wasn’t imagining this email. Could I finally be getting what I want?
I did Work my ass off for the past year, since I know this wasn’t easy. I wasn’t putzing around, not working on my craft or not being a part of literary organizations or not participating in writing groups either. I wasn’t twiddling my thumbs hoping I’d one day become “a writer” without putting in the work. I worked HARD for this and I’m elated but still in shock.
Now my only concern is, “How am I going to pay for this?” Honestly, I always make the things I want work. I just do. There isn’t this self-sabotage that happens when I get what I want. Especially something this big that will only lead to the opportunity to write and read for three years with other talented writers.
I do have to say the members of my writing group are gifted and talented writers that I’m positive if they applied to any MFA program, they’d get in. I know it in my gut. Their feedback has been so helpful in these past few months and I’ll miss this group when I start my program.
What makes an effective application to an MFA program? Honestly, from my perspective, it’s about showing the department that you’re willing to put in the work and if you’re already doing the work (taking writing classes), then there’s an easier transition in the graduate school realm. I look at my last application from five years ago and I can pinpoint what didn’t work for Any school I applied to.
My personal essay: not enough what I’d be bringing to the table and more so my history with writing. Too much backstory, not enough in the present.
My submission: No oomph. This story was an exercise in writing well without insight or provoking anything interesting; this submission was empty, devoid of feeling.
This time around, in my personal essay, I stated what I was doing, what I planned to do with the degree, what I liked about the school, and what I’d be bringing to the table. In my submission, my knowledge of craft expanded and I finally managed to apply the elements to my work. There is Always tweaking but my piece was solid and I can honestly say, I’m very proud of it. Even if I wasn’t accepted, I was going to try again and keep taking writing classes.
I feel honored and am looking forward to my writing journey ahead. So much more to learn!
Cheers to all the writers!