»

Subscribe | Give a Gift Subscription

Log In or Register | Help | Contact Us | Donate

Advanced Search

Main Index » Writing and Publishing » MFA Programs
Low-Residency MFAs
Edit your profilePrivate messages Search postsWho's online?
You are not signed in. Click here to sign in.
If you are not a member, Register here!
136574 registered users
First page Previous page 1 ... 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 Next page Last page  View All


dahosek
D. A. Hosek
e-mail user

Jun 13, 2014, 1:59 PM

Post #2626 of 2637 (3404 views)
Shortcut
Re: [writerle] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

On the critical essay front, my advice is to figure out what you'd like to focus on during your first term, direct your annotations in that direction in the second term (and the third term as you work on the essay) and you end up with a lot of it already written or at least sketched out.

-dh


http://dahosek.com


renila


Jun 13, 2014, 9:51 PM

Post #2627 of 2637 (3390 views)
Shortcut
Re: [dahosek] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, folks. Much appreciated. Trying not to let this process drive me nuts.

And great advice on the critical essay, Dahosek. That makes it seem much more doable.


LMC


Jul 6, 2014, 10:27 AM

Post #2628 of 2637 (2321 views)
Shortcut
Re: [renila] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi there,I'm in the dual (F,NF) at Bennington.I just sent a longer pm, but I want to let you know that there are writers working on novels and book length nf projects, and sometimes there have been workshops specifically for longer lengths (although not in the last few terms). I would say that subject matter is wide open, so long as the writing is literary, and I'm sure that this is the same for most other programs, as well. Our annotations are informal, so I wouldn't worry about them. They are mainly to get down on paper your thoughts about the readings you are doing and how they relate to your writing. The papers can take a number of forms, ranging from personal essay to full-on MLA style research, but frankly, not many people chose the latter route. I was out of school quite a while and it was no problem. In all of the academic work, you can be quite creative and it's really about what is going to benefit your own writing. Best of luck!


raintree
Sandra Ludwig

Jul 29, 2014, 12:45 PM

Post #2629 of 2637 (1558 views)
Shortcut
Re: [s0ckeyeus] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, folks, here I am again.

I got into the MFA program I mentioned a few months back.

For the most part, I enjoyed my first residency (it had its low moments, though). I did end up staying on campus, and that worked out very well for me. I didn't have the distractions of home and was able to solely concentrate on my writing and assignments. However, when it was over, I didn't start writing like a maniac, and the magic of meeting my cohort and hanging out etc. quickly vanished.

Right now, I'm in the second week of classes, and I'm thinking of quitting. I have anxiety and depression issues and the anxiety is making it difficult for me to do the assignments. Not only that, I have great resistance. It's like, "I don't WANNA do them."

I was never sure if applying was the right decision. My tuition is free, and I have downtime at work, so I figured I could get all my schoolwork done at work. Now I'm not so sure, and I find it very difficult to work at home (for various reasons). I'm not sure I want to dedicate the necessary time to getting this degree. I'm not sure it means enough to me. I don't have any desire to teach, and I seriously doubt I could ever write a book.

I do a lot of things for fun (mixed media art, making jewelry, keeping a journal) but I got the impression in residency that writing is not a hobby. That you had better be DEAD SERIOUS about this.

I am trying to take it one day at a time, one step at a time, and it's still overwhelming me. My husband's advice is to stick it out. He pointed out how happy I was at residency, and how excited I seemed to be about the program. Sure, I was excited--until I saw how much work it was going to be.

Any thoughts? I know this is a bit fragmented. I'd be glad to explain more if you like.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Jul 29, 2014, 6:33 PM

Post #2630 of 2637 (1534 views)
Shortcut
Re: [raintree] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

If you aren't committed to doing the work required to get the degree, drop out now and save everyone the trouble. There is an enormous effort involved in getting an MFA, and if you don't want to do it, don't.


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


jlgwriter
Jeanne Lyet Gassman
e-mail user

Jul 29, 2014, 10:04 PM

Post #2631 of 2637 (1527 views)
Shortcut
Re: [raintree] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

raintree,

It's really hard for someone else to tell you to stay or leave the program. Only you know if it's something you want to do.

But I do think you may have identified why you feel so ambivalent. You say that you got the impression at residency that writing is not a hobby, that you had better be dead serious about this. And I think that's true.

The MFA is a long, hard slog for 2-3 years, requiring lots of hours in front of a computer, lots of reading, and lots of research. You will be expected to write pages and pages and revise those pages. This discipline isn't intended as some sort of punishment. Instead, it's a training ground, a place where you can explore your talents, experiment a bit with craft and form, and refine that craft as you go. It's also a situation that teaches you how to think like a professional writer.

When I started the program at Vermont, I had been writing sporadically. The very idea of reading and writing 25 hours a week (the expected allotment of time) was terrifying to me, but I thought I could finesse it, especially the reading. It didn't take long for me to discover that the 25-hour a week estimate was accurate. No finessing possible. I scrambled to establish a routine that would meet the needs of the program. And the result was that I suddenly began to think of myself as a "working writer." I treated my writing like a job. I showed up every day, put in the hours to get the work done, and focused on making my writing better.

For me, the goal of college teaching was secondary. I wanted the MFA because I wanted to be in an environment where I could receive one-on-one coaching/teaching from experienced writers whose work I admired. I wanted, more than anything, to become a better writer. And I was dead serious about making that happen.

I would advise you to talk about your concerns with your advisor. He or she may already sense that you aren't committed to the requirements of the program. Or, your advisor may feel that you're simply a bit overwhelmed and need a little extra space to process everything. But don't suffer in silence, and don't drive yourself crazy over this. Talk to your advisor first. Then make a decision. But remember, most people pursuing the MFA are dead serious about their writing. If they are like me, they didn't have a scholarship or funding (my low-res program didn't offer this at the time I was there; it's changed since then), and that MFA was expensive, time-consuming, and demanding. I loved my time at Vermont and wouldn't trade it for anything. But that's just me.

Jeanne


http://www.jeannelyetgassman.com
http://jeannelyetgassman.blogspot.com


raintree
Sandra Ludwig

Jul 31, 2014, 11:26 AM

Post #2632 of 2637 (1437 views)
Shortcut
Re: [jlgwriter] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I have calmed down a bit since I posted. I haven't spoken to my advisor yet, but did talk to several other students in the program (mostly "upperclassmen"). They have assured me that this type of freaking out is normal, and that it's even OK to not want to do my homework.

You did touch on something very important, though. I guess I did think I would "finesse" the work. My work situation is really odd. I work in a library and there is not enough work. I'm sure that sounds bizarre and even enviable. However, there are only so many rounds of Scrabble and Candy Crush Saga that one can play. While I'm allowed to use the computer, I cannot have anything with sound playing, my laptop lacks the proper software for Bluetooth, and I am, quite honestly, bored to death. I wanted to do something worthwhile with my life (my entering the program coincided with a Big Birthday). I've always liked writing, and did it professionally for over 10 years. Outside of my paid employment, though, my writing schedule has been sporadic, as you said of your own experience.

I'm not sure where I am going from here. I'm going to try and finish the semester, and probably will meet with my advisor, or talk to a couple of the instructors. Everyone in the program is very approachable and supportive.


raintree
Sandra Ludwig

Aug 25, 2014, 1:45 PM

Post #2633 of 2637 (247 views)
Shortcut
Re: [raintree] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello, I'm back.

It's a month later, and I'm seriously considering dropping out of my low-residency MFA program. To be honest, I just don't like it. It's more work than I thought it would be, I don't really care for distance learning (something I didn't realize before) and honestly? I'm not sure I have the driving passion necessary to be a writer.

I'm wondering if there's anyone else on these boards who has left an MFA program and would be willing to post/discuss it here.

I'm feeling very much alone. I have not talked to my advisor (I don't actually have one; there's just the director of the program till we are assigned mentors next term). I know they're going to try and talk me into staying, as they have a vested interest in keeping students in the program. So...


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Aug 25, 2014, 2:11 PM

Post #2634 of 2637 (245 views)
Shortcut
Re: [raintree] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

There's an important moral principle that I learned a decade or so ago: I'm too old for this shit.

If it isn't working for you, and you feel it isn't going to start working for you real soon, don't keep doing it. If there isn't something in it that makes you happy, don't keep doing it. If you don't see some benefit at the end of all the hateful work, don't keep doing it.

You know how they say, "A quitter never wins"? They lie. Sometimes you win by quitting. Just make sure you want out of the game, because if you quit now there's a good chance you'll never even try to get in again.


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


s0ckeyeus


Aug 26, 2014, 12:32 PM

Post #2635 of 2637 (177 views)
Shortcut
Re: [raintree] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

It doesn't get much easier post-MFA. Writing is a lot of work, additional work that you don't get paid for most of the time (if you ever get paid for it). If you aren't committed to putting in the effort, then an MFA might not be worth it for you. A degree won't suddenly make you a good writer, and it won't magically free up your schedule. It's hard out here for a pimp.


raintree
Sandra Ludwig

Aug 26, 2014, 1:12 PM

Post #2636 of 2637 (172 views)
Shortcut
Re: [s0ckeyeus] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

pongo--Yes, I've been saying that very thing to myself a lot (as I have just turned 50).

s0ckeyeus--I wrote professionally for over 10 years, and man, the amount of work I did was nothing like what I am doing now, which feels like tooth-pulling quite a lot. I'm very surprised, actually. Sure, I had difficult things to write, and I had struggles. But it didn't feel like this at all.


s0ckeyeus


Aug 26, 2014, 1:47 PM

Post #2637 of 2637 (170 views)
Shortcut
Re: [raintree] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

It's a different kind of writing and a different kind of hard work, for sure.

First page Previous page 1 ... 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 Next page Last page  View All

Main Index » Writing and Publishing » MFA Programs

 


P&W Newsletters

Sign up to receive our monthly email newsletter to stay informed of the latest news, events and more.

Click to Sign Up

Subscribe to P&W Magazine | Donate Now | Advertise | Sign up for E-Newsletter | About Us | Contact Us

© Copyright Poets & Writers 2011. All Rights Reserved