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

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is chasing trends in writing and publishing.

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Author Dawn Secord shares her journey toward self-publishing a picture book featuring her Irish Setter named Bling.

Poetic Forms

Crown of Sonnets: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the crown of sonnets, a form that brings together seven sonnets in a special way.

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (and as a Person)

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (And as a Person)

Reflective writing—or journaling—is a helpful practice in helping understand ourselves, and by extensions, the stories we intend to write. Author Jeanne Baker Guy offers 25 ways reflective writing can help you grow as a writer (and as a person).

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Being Followed

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Being Followed

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let your character know they're being followed.

Amanda Jayatissa: On Spiraling Out in Suspense

Amanda Jayatissa: On Spiraling Out in Suspense

Author Amanda Jayatissa discusses the fun of writing "deliciously mean" characters in her psychological thriller, My Sweet Girl.

3 Tips for Writing a Memoir Everyone Wants to Read

3 Tips for Writing a Memoir Everyone Wants to Read

A memoir is an open window into another's life—and although the truth is of paramount importance, so too is grabbing hold of its reader. Writer Tasha Keeble offers 3 tips for writing a memoir everyone will want to read.

Zoe Whittall: On Personal Change in Literary Fiction

Zoe Whittall: On Personal Change in Literary Fiction

Bestselling and Giller Prize-shortlisted author Zoe Whittal discusses the complexity of big life decisions in her new novel, The Spectacular.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 582

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a transition poem.