Graduation & The Next Step

First, I’d like to apologize for taking forever to post something. Thesis was pretty overwhelming, as you might’ve guessed. Last weekend, on December 10th, I presented my thesis at Mount Mary College. I gave a short introduction and read for around ten minutes. I read a few pages from the first chapter and then a few more from chapter four. Over all, the process went smoothly and I didn’t get sick like I thought I would (I get really nervous when talking in front of people). My thesis has been submitted, presented, and approved. Now, I wait for my signatures and then I can have it bound if I want. I will be doing that.

What’s next? Graduation. This Saturday at 11am. My family is coming down for it. I’m excited, but at the same time, I’d like it to just be over with.

I’m still waiting to hear back from the MFA programs I applied to. I’m guessing it’ll be another month or two until I hear back and that’s okay. In the meantime, I’m going to keep looking for a full-time job. Now that school is over, I can apply anywhere instead of keeping my search focused in Wisconsin. I’m going to look more in Boston and in Seattle since I’ll end up in one of those places for my MFA.

It’s been a long journey to get where I am. I’m finally done. It feels like the two years at MMC took forever, but at the same time, it feels like it almost went by too quickly. In any case, I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished and I’m looking forward to the next step, whatever that may be.

And so to all of you who are still reading, thanks for sticking around. I’ll post again very soon.

Happy Writing,

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My MFA Journey: The Application Process

It took a little while, but I decided to apply to MFA programs. I had originally planned to go for my PhD, but as it stands, I’m unable to pay for the GRE tests I need to take to do so. Once I find a full-time job, I’ll look into taking them. For now, though, I’m going to MFA route.

I decided to apply to three specific programs. I have my reasons for applying to them. All three are on the list of the Top 15 MFA Programs.

  1. UMass-Amherst: I chose this school because of my love for Boston. The program is intense, but also offers numerous courses in creative writing and theory. There are also teaching assistantships available. If I get accepted, I’d start in the Fall of 2012.
  2. Pacific Lutheran University: This school is number five on the list of the top low-residency programs in the country. I love Washington and PLU is located in Tacoma, close to Seattle (hooray!). The program is a rigorous one, but they offer everything I want in a program, plus the location is wonderful. If I get accepted, I’d start in the Summer of 2012.
  3. Lesley University: This school is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. One of my favorite YA authors, Chris Lynch, teaches here. The program offers a concentration in Writing for Young People and if I get in, I’m hoping to study with Mr. Lynch and the rest of the great faculty. This program is also low-residency. If I get accepted, I’d start in the Summer of 2012.

Why I Chose Low-Residency

PLU and Lesley are both low-residency programs, which means I don’t have to move if I don’t want to or can’t afford it. I’ll only need to be on campus for ten days, twice a year, and the rest of the work is done from home. UMass is a traditional program and if I get accepted and choose to attend, I’ll need to move to Boston.

I chose low-residency programs mostly because I’m not sure I can afford to move. If I happen to find a good full-time position here in Milwaukee, I can stay and work, but still pursue an MFA. I could still move to Tacoma or Cambridge and go to school if I so choose, but with the way things are, the odds of that happening are slim. I like low-residency because these programs allow me to focus on family an work, but still earn a degree. Plus, I don’t have to uproot myself if I don’t want to. Lesley offers teaching assistantships, so if I get accepted and decide to go there, I may consider moving.

The application process is done for all three schools. Now, I make sure my recommendation letters are sent and I wait. it’s going to be a long couple of months. Until then, I’ll keep writing.

Happy Writing,

Why I’m Doing NaNoWriMo and Thesis At the Same Time

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons & Horia Varlan.

Anyone who’s been reading me for a while knows that I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time last year and that I won, finishing my novel in only twenty days. Anyone who’s been reading me for a while should also know that I’m currently writing my thesis for my Master’s program. It’s been tough and I have two weeks left to get my final draft in order for my thesis committee.

As you know, it’s November now and NaNoWriMo is in full swing once again. After a few months (yes, months!) of thinking it through, I decided to participate again this year, even in the midst of thesis. Why did I do this? I have a few different reasons:

  1. This is probably the biggest reason: Because I have more than one story in me and need to get a specific one down on paper while it’s still fresh in my mind.
  2. I HAVE TO WRITE. I have to, and if I can flex my creative muscles on more than one story at a time, I’m going to give it a try.
  3. Because working on more than one story helps me to figure things out in my other stories when I’m at an impasse with them. This is a bit hard to explain, but sometimes, while I’m working on one story, something from another story will pop into my head. When that happens, I can write it down for alter or switch stories. I like this…flexibility (for lack of a better word).

My novel for NaNoWriMo this year stands a high chance of not being finished. After all, thesis is much more important right now. But I’m doing both of them because even if only one gets finished, I can still say that I tried, even if NaNoWriMo is a failure this year.

Remember what Samuel Beckett said? “Ever tried? Ever failed? Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” So, this year, if failure happens, I’ll do it “better.” It’s possible, right? Yes. Yes, i think it is.

Happy Writing,

Writing Prompt: Choice

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons & John Althouse Cohen.

Writers block, defined as “a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work,” is a plague that we’ve all dealt with at one point or another in our writing careers. Ideas are hard to come by sometimes. Ideas are like fireflies; they flit in and out of mental vision, but they are hard to catch.

Keeping this in mind, a writing prompt will be offered here every Sunday (in different formats, of course). The length of what you write is your decision entirely. It is my hope that these prompts will spark creativity and kickstart the writing process.

This week’s prompt: A young, professional dancer injures her knee and can never dance professionally again. She decides if she can’t move to the music, she’ll make it. Which instrument does she choose and why? (Writing Forward)

[How did this prompt help you? Please feel free to let me know in the comments below, or send an email!]

Happy Writing,

Opinions/Help Wanted!

On Monday, I had a thesis meeting with my advisor at school. My thesis needs to undergo a fairly major revision. With this revision needs to come a title change for the work as a whole. The current title is “The Consequence of Liking Girls,” which, as it stands, doesn’t quite fit the story anymore. “Consequence” is also a negative word, which isn’t what I really want. I’ve been trying to think of a word that I could use to replace that, a word that really fits with the theme of the story. I’ve come up with two and I need opinions as to which I should use.

The general premise is this: My main character’s sister tells her family she is gay. Her parents, specifically her father, do not approve, which then leads to her suicide. The main character goes through the story first trying to save his sister, then sets out to convince his parents that the fact that his sister was gay is really okay. In the end, both of his parents come around to the idea.

Here are the two titles: “The Catalyst of Liking Girls” and “The Crux of Liking Girls.”

Please help me decide which one to use! Leave a comment and let me know which one you like. The more responses I can get, the better.

Thanks in advance for your help,

Writing Prompt: Losing a Loved One

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons & John Althouse Cohen.

Writers block, defined as “a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work,” is a plague that we’ve all dealt with at one point or another in our writing careers. Ideas are hard to come by sometimes. Ideas are like fireflies; they flit in and out of mental vision, but they are hard to catch.

Keeping this in mind, a writing prompt will be offered here every Sunday (in different formats, of course). The length of what you write is your decision entirely. It is my hope that these prompts will spark creativity and kickstart the writing process.

This week’s prompt: Someone who you are extremely close to unexpectedly dies. Write that person a letter explaining what you will miss most about him or her (Writer’s Digest).

[How did this prompt help you? Please feel free to let me know in the comments below, or send an email!]

Happy Writing,

This Week in Links: 9/11/2011 – 9/17/2011

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

I subscribe to quite a few interesting RSS feeds in the book/writing niches. Perhaps you do as well, but in any case, I’d like to share my starred links from this week:

Monday, September 12. 2011:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011:
Wednesday, September 14, 2011:
Thursday, September 15, 2011:

Happy Writing,