Back to School — and More News!
For me, they now mean late mornings and afternoons when I can truly focus and go for it, making each hour count. (Yay!)
Please forgive my rather infrequent posts lately. I have to be really strict with myself as far as how much time I spend here vs. revising the book and working on a new one. It’s almost like, the more time I have, the more seriously I need to take this now. You know?
So “Magic Mirror” and social networking and such goes way to the bottom of the priorities’ list.
But first, I have another piece of news to announce. This year – and what an amazing, eventful year it is turning out to be – ”back to school” means something else for me. It took me a while (um years, actually) to come to this decision, but finally I am diving in. In January 2013, I will be starting my studies at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, pursuing a low residency MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults.
My friend, Patti Brown, a Vermont College alumni and a brilliant writer who I predict has the capacity to make great things happen one day in the world of children’s’ literature, was the first inspiration for this decision. And then another friend of mine, author of sporty YA fiction Keri Mikulski kept telling me “you’re an MFA. I can just see it.”
“Nah,” I told two of my dearest writing friends. “Not for me. No time. No money.”
“I’d love to,” I told them. “But I can’t, just can’t.”
But even then, deep down I knew, my friends were right.
Here is the thing about such a degree, if any of you ever consider it. You need to realize it’s not an automatic thing: get an MFA — become a published author. I think most people know it — sort of — but it bears repeating anyway. An MFA is not going to solve all your problems. It isn’t cheap, either – no one can afford the loans, if we could, we wouldn’t take them out in the first place, would we? The connections you make there will only be as good as your latest manuscript. Some programs can hurt you more than then can help you. And — a program of formal writing study doesn’t work for everyone.
Despite all this, I am pretty positive, it will work for me.
First, I am a student by heart, I’ve always done well with studies (even though I swear this is the last degree I will get — or attempt to pursue: I have tried going for a teaching degree a few years ago. But the truth had been: it wasn’t something I wanted, not really — just something I told myself I desired — not the same thing at all). Secondly, I love analyzing a well-crafted novel, taking it apart, scene by scene, then putting it back together again to get a real feel for how the masters did it. Also, in my writing, I aim for a fusion of the fast-paced and the literary. I think every great book can be both at its heart, and this kind of thinking seems to be in line with the Vermont program.
I think I am going for the right reasons. I am going to Vermont to seek out an even bigger community of writers — and anyone who loves young adult books. I am going because I need a degree in order to teach creative writing someday — something I think I will love doing.
Finally, and most important of all, I am going to work on my craft, to push myself as far as I can go.
I can’t wait, and of course I will keep you posted on my MFA adventures here when the time comes.
Meanwhile, happy Back to School to everyone, whatever it means to you!
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