Oct 17, 2007, 4:15 PM
Post #12 of 18
No one has posted on this thread for a while, and though it's not exactly the season to be thinking about summer programs, I thought I'd offer my two cents anyway.
Re: [alefti42] summer programs
I had an amazing experience this year at the 7-week Summer Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. Fortunately, I am a high school teacher and thus had 2 months off to move to Iowa City. If you can't swing this, though, there are shorter programs there as part of the Writing Festival or whatever, but I don't know very much about those. Also, keep in mind that you have to apply and get accepted to the 7-week workshop, whereas I think you can just sign up for the shorter programs.
I am currently in the process of applying to MFA programs, and I think the summer workshop really helped me along toward this goal in various ways. First of all, I had 7 weeks to focus exclusively on writing and to be inspired by my fellow classmates. I found that being part of a community of writers really helped to motivate my work. That is, I think I accomplished much more in the context of the workshop than I would have at home, surrounded by family distractions, etc. The workshop itself was also very worthwhile--I got a lot of good feedback. Finally, I also met many people who were currently involved in MFA programs--both at Iowa and elsewhere--and got a lot of useful input regarding both the application process and the graduate experience.
Furthermore, Iowa is relatively inexpensive. I think tuition for the course was something like $800, and I dropped about a total of $900 for rent while I was there. And the cost of living in Iowa City, as one might expect, isn't that high. In other words, it's way cheaper than to trying to spend summer in New York City or something.
I was also fortunate to become good friends with most of the members of our workshop; we spent a lot of time hanging out together. We really had a blast in Iowa City, believe it or not. A night out on the town there can cost you next to nothing.
In summation, I enrolled in the Iowa Summer Workshop because I knew it would help my writing. In the end, it was actually a far more enjoyable experience than I could have ever imagined.