I know it’s a cliché, but I just cannot believe 2010 is already coming to an end. Since New Year’s is a time for list-making, I am going to make a list of the writing-related things for which I am most grateful in 2010:
•The continued support of my family. Of course their opinions are completely subjective, but their belief in my writing means so much to me. You gotta love it when your dad wonders aloud, in complete seriousness, “I don’t know why you haven’t been published in the New Yorker yet?”
•The same goes for my friends. The night before a piece of mine was published, I went out to a bar to celebrate with a few of my best friends. It’s an incredible feeling when you have a group of people in your life who are genuinely happy for you--it helps you to believe that your dreams are possible.
•The guidance of my teachers. I’m able to see for myself now why certain pieces of writing work better than others. A supportive word from a teacher you admire can do wonders for your confidence.
•Good friends in the program—particularly Eliza Fogel. I now have an army of writer friends!
•Access to great literature. Reading is still the best way to learn writing, and through my classes, I’ve gotten to read some incredible short stories and novels that have really affected my process and the way I think about story…. “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver, “The Swimmer” by John Cheever and “The Ledge” by Lawrence Sargent Hall come to mind in particular.
•Having 31 hours of my MFA under my belt and only 14 to go (6 of which are thesis hours!).
•Having narrowed down my thesis material to two possible choices and having a good start on both.
Getting paid for a piece of my writing for the first time!
•Having the chance to read before a crowd at Come Home Chicago and Creative Nonfiction Week.
•Getting a piece of my fiction published in a well-known magazine for the first time!
•Drinks at the South Loop Club after class.
•Getting to do this blog for WD! This has been such a great opportunity for me to share my thoughts about writing programs for the Writer’s Digest audience. Thank you for your reader comments throughout the semester. I look forward to continuing the conversation with you next semester!