Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Me and a Way Cool Announcement

Tomorrow is the second anniversary of The Raisin Chronicles, and what better way to celebrate than by sharing that a major obstacle to one of my life-long dreams has just been removed?

I've wanted to study writing in a structured way for...well, for most of my life, really, but there were three barriers:

1) Money
2) Getting into a program (they're really competitive, especially for a degree that confers not one ounce more ability to earn a living on the recipient).
3) Time

I recently learned that my employer, an institution of higher education whose mission statement begins "We help individuals turn dreams into achievable goals..." (and who, by the way, won praise from the New York Times for its focus on helping people prepare for good careers) will assist in paying for a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

So now I'm ready to tackle the second barrier. I've been looking at low-residency programs (that is, programs where you do most of the work via the internet, attending on-campus workshops a couple of times a year for around 10 days each), and I've compiled a short list of favorites:

1) Bennington College in Vermont
2) Antioch Los Angeles in California
3) Hamline University in Minnesota
4) Seton Hill in Pennsylvania

Bennington sums up their program in six words: Read one hundred books. Write one. Can you imagine how much you'd know about writing after reading and analyzing a book a week for two years?

Antioch is considered one of the best low-residency programs in the country if you're interested in topics of social justice, like say, gay marriage.

Hamline offers a specialization in writing for young adults and seems like a perfect fit for my first novel, about a young woman coming of age in Minnesota in 1894--the year a massive forest fire wiped out the town of Hinckley, MN.

Seton Hill offers the only degree in the country tailored to writing popular (as opposed to literary) fiction. With what I could learn there, maybe I'd be able to finally finish my suspense thriller about the woman on the run from her porno director hubby who uses his skills to concoct a video that has everyone in the country looking for her.

My top choice has varied over time, based on what kind of story I was working on. In the end, I suspect the choice will be driven by which one (if any) will let me in. (Did I mention that it's really competitive?)

So, this fall, I will be applying to each of these programs, with the intention of starting next fall/winter. (I hope.)

I'll let you know how it goes....

19 comments:

  1. That's great!!! What wonderful news. I'm sure any program you choose will help you so much. What does Old Dog have to say about it?
    Congrats!!!

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  2. And, happy 2nd anniversary to your blog!

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  3. Amazing, J! I so look forward to the day when you have to decide between the two (or three!) programs that have accepted you!

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  4. Very cool all around. Congratulations to you, and I bet you may surprise yourself in regard to getting accepted.

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  5. I am sooooooooo excited for you! Awesome news to share on a rainy Monday morning. I'm pretty sure the sun just poked it's nose out just for you!

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  6. Congratulations!

    You have no idea how envious you have made me, my employer is entirely cheap on the "benefits". I personally blame the boss' mother for failing to instill something in him other than a strong work ethic and a penchant to keep an eye on the bottom line.

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  7. Woo-hoo! You go girl! I bet you'll be great. I get a galley of your first book.

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  8. Congrats. So glad you are following your dream.

    Happy blogiversary, too. Our blogs are the same age. Mine turned two a couple weeks back. Welcome to the terrible twos!

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  9. Congratulations!

    I'd be remiss if I didn't plug Vermont College in Montpelier. They offer a fabulous low-residency program.

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  10. Hi Jeanne, My daughter has an MFA in English..she is teaching..and should be writing!
    I have the outline and the first chapter written of a Historical Romance set outside of Hinkley..that same fire..except my fictional family or at least part of them escape to the swamp and some survive..it is a great premise for a novel.
    I wish you the very best of luck..if it is your dream..I hope it comes true! :)

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  11. Congratulations Jeanne on both achievements. I still remember reading the post on your first anniversary and now it is already the second. I guess being persistent and consistent and resistant is key to achieving goals.

    Looking forward to hear more. Sounds so exciting.

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  12. This post was a most exciting read. Congrats on your 2nd year. As a charter member, I can attest the mixture of salt and sweet keeps getting better and better. One time you told me you had achieved a level where criticism is valued more than accolades. Hope this doesn't seem trite to you, but I gotta say, Wow, you are really really good! Inspirational, indeed!

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  13. That really is very, very cool! Go Jeanne! *\o/* I know you'll wow them with your application.

    Also, congrats on two years. You started a few weeks before me, then ;)

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  14. Like "unmitigated me", I think you will have a choice among programs

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  15. Yay!! Good for you - both the blog anniversary and moving closer to one of your personal passions.

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  16. Glad I popped by, that sounds soo exciting, I wish you lots of luck and a Happy 2nd Anniversary :o)
    and thanks to for popping by mine ... I think I'll keep an eye on the washing machine aswell from now on!

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  17. Kudos my friend! I want to get my weight and health issues out of the way, and maybe then no one can stop me...hmmm, actually no one can stop me now, lol!

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  18. Oh, you remind me, it is my third year! I have to throw a blog party, or does it mean I am older than you for once, lol!

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