All posts tagged: deadlines

Deadlines, Deadlines, Deadlines

Photo credit: Henrique Simplicio I’ve developed a complicated relationship with deadlines. On the one hand, I’m super thankful for them. It’s not every day people ask you to write, much less read your work closely and give thoughtful feedback. Also, deadlines give me structure and keep me productive. On the other hand, getting bogged down is inevitable. Since the beginning of the semester, I’ve gone through two workshops, and I have two more deadlines within the next month. I’m pretty sure I have writer’s fatigue. What is writer’s fatigue? Is it a real thing? Well, no. I sort of made it up, but I think many writers in programs can relate. Writer’s fatigue is as its name describes; it’s getting burnt out from back-to-back deadlines. I’m an incredibly slow writer. This probably has a lot to do with perfectionism and my terrible habit of editing as I write. I’ve also become accustomed to the short-and-sweet quarter system from my undergrad and MA days. Usually, a ten-week long workshop means only one or two writing deadlines. …

An Imperfect Guide to Balancing Work and the MFA

Image: Farid Iqbal Ibrahim My decision to pursue my MFA in creative writing was an easy one. I was working full-time and making use of my bachelor’s degree, but it felt like some key aspect of my life was missing. My creative writing skills had stagnated and I hadn’t written anything new in months. The low residency model was an obvious choice, since it would allow me to continue to work full-time while earning my MFA. I’m still glad that I made this decision, but I must admit that I wasn’t fully prepared for what was to come. I did learn that working and going to grad school online is doable, though, and I’d like to share my experience. When I started my first class of the low residency MFA program at Mississippi University for Women back in June, I was starry eyed. I worked my full-time job by day and contributed to my one online class by night and on weekends. I got an A in the class, solidifying my belief that this MFA …

THERE IS TIME IN A TEPEE.

THE BRUTAL REALITY OF TIME-MANAGEMENT Facing the sixth week of term two, if I had a dime for every time I said, “man, this MFA-thingy is really getting in me way of me ole’ writing” I’d have, say, twelve sixty. Today I was told I have a comma problem. I said I’m Canadian. The cowboy-prof laughed, chaps ajangle. They don’t use Oxford commas in Oxford and slipping non-existent punctuation into quotes is as stupid as owning a gun. When Trump gets my vote, I might change my mind, if it still works. Tax time approaches, I’m afraid to log into accounts. But the G-men are docking my funding at thirty-five percent. Emails go unanswered. Deadlines and deadline and deadlines are met or discarded or cussed. I’ve stopped counting words and running. Now I count the minutes. I’ve started the William Shatner diet—a burrito a day at 9am. Keeps the healthcare away. I’m taking editing and style, fiction and non. I’ve started reading in the shower. Of course, my eyes are bigger than my belly and my …

Jess Silfa Introduction (Applicant ’16)

Image: Laura D’Alessandro Some say that when you’re making a stack of pancakes, you always throw out the first one. It’s a test to see if the batter holds together; if the griddle is hot enough; if your flipping technique is finally perfect after years of making stacks upon stacks upon stacks of pancakes. The first pancake is the first try, the freedom to make a mistake, and to be flawed. I thought about this when I showed a professor the first draft of my statement of purpose for an MFA program in fiction. I was apologizing for my draft’s shortcomings before my professor even said anything. “It’s just a first pancake!” I’m not sure if I meant the statement or the application process overall. In case it wasn’t obvious, this is my first year applying to MFA programs. I’m currently a psychology student at Columbia University—that probably makes me seem younger than I am. I was a high school dropout at 13, a GED earner at 23, and I applied to Columbia at the age of …