Starting from the Beginning

Publish date:

Hi, everyone!

I wanted to start by introducing myself. I’m Kate Monahan and I’m a 2nd year MFA student at The New School University in downtown NYC.I’m a Fiction writer and I’m currently working on a linked short story collection (which—fingers crossed— I hope will be my thesis).I am so excited to be able to blog about all things writing and to give you the inside scoop on the MFA scene. I really want to thank Writer’s Digest for this opportunity!

So, wow. My first post.I don’t even know where to begin!I’ve been writing seriously for quite some time now.I started writing poetry, but it was mostly a scribbling fit of words.It was me, sitting in my tiny, first New York City apartment, whining about love and relationships. It may have been cathartic, but I wasn’t very good!I started writing short stories after falling in love with some great authors.My first love: A.M Homes.Her writing really struck a chord for me, hit me someplace deep.That’s when I became a voracious reader of short stories and totally got hooked on the form. I love all the greats: Cheever, Carver, Grace Paley, Salinger, and on and on… After some years of writing on my own, a teacher in a workshop I was taking said to me, “Has anyone ever encouraged you?” My answer: “No.” His response: “Well, here I am.”I quickly realized, with his support, that an MFA program was exactly what I needed to pursue—I was itching for a writing community and I wanted time to do nothing but read and write and to talk about reading and writing with other like minded folks! So, I applied (oh, the process), got in, and decided The New School was the program for me.More on all that to come.

Time FLEW.I can’t believe I’m officially a second year student. My first year was filled with many highlights: meeting Wally Lamb, drinking lots of red wine in Chelsea with my new classmates, taking classes with talented authors, and yes, growing as a writer. There were lows, too: pawing my way through those first lonely few weeks, wondering if I’d chosen the right program, workshopping the first few times (the harsh feedback! the moments of insecurity!), and receiving all those mimeographed, form rejection letters.

I want this blog to be a place where I relay my MFA experience as truthfully as possible.I want to be able to give you, the reader, the inside scoop.I also want to talk about reading, writing, the writing process, the moments when you want to give up, the moments of exhilaration, the whole brilliant mess of it! AND—I want to know what you want to hear about, too. So please drop me a line and let me know.

Okay, now that this introduction is over we can move on to more important things. I’ll be back in a day or two to tell you what I learned during my first year, what books on writing I’m reading, how my practice is going and lots more.The summer was tough.You’d think with such a broad expanse of time I would have written more. Nope. Not nearly as much as I wanted to. Thankfully, I found my groove these last few weeks and I’m working on a short story that I think hope will fit into my collection. And so now I’m off to write outside somewhere.The kitchen table isn’t cutting it.Need nature.It’s my new thing.

And you? Where do you like to write best?

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!


Quote of the day:

“I am not a writer except when I write.” Juan Carlos Onetti

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: #StartWrite, Virtual Conference, and New Courses

This week, we’re excited to announce free resources to start your writing year off well, our Novel Writing Virtual Conference, and more!


20 Most Popular Writing Posts of 2020

We share a lot of writing-related posts throughout the year on the Writer's Digest website. In this post, we've collected the 20 most popular writing posts of 2020.


Carla Malden: Writing With Optimism and Innocence

Screenwriter and author Carla Malden explains why young adult fiction and the '60s go hand-in-hand and how she connected with her main character's voice.


Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Talking About the Work-in-Progress

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is talking about the work-in-progress.


Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.


Capital vs. Capitol (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use capital vs. capitol with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.


On Writing to Give Grief Meaning and Write Out of Challenging Situations

Author Lily Dulan explains why writers have to be willing to go to difficult places inside themselves for their writing to make a positive impact on ourselves, others, and the world.


Gerald Brandt: Toeing the Line Between Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Science fiction author Gerald Brandt explains how this new series explores the genre boundary and how he came to find his newest book's focus.