All posts tagged: travel

AWP Madness Ensues: Tips and Tricks for Success

[Photo credit: Jamie Brown, 2011] With over 12,000 attendees, the annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference is the largest literary conference in North America. In total, there are over 2,000 presenters (one of which, this year, is me!) offering more than 550 panels, readings, and presentations. It can all be a bit overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you out: Before You Travel— Vet the Schedule: My big “discovery” this year is the AWP app. You can search the schedule by type of event, person, or day which is extremely useful once you see how thick the conference schedule book is. The app works offline in airplane mode (if you pre-load before disconnecting) so if you’re short on time, you can schedule browse on your flight. If it’s your first AWP, choose your events based on areas of interest—themes, genres, concerns you have about writing. This way, you’ll be drawn to people who are writing similarly to you. Once you start building a broader knowledge, considering choosing events based on people you’re interested …

Location / Acclimation

The last thing my workshop professor told me as my MFA’s first semester concluded was: you get three significant breaks: winter, summer, winter—write, use them well. Then she said something about something magnificent always happening during a break, but the pressure of having to produce work was enough for me to worry about. I flew back to Florida to visit my family, naturally—to make the story short—not much work was done—(two poems?) which I feel many people would see as miraculous progress, but I tend to throw away most of what I write anyway, so who am I kidding? Someone in my program told me that Roger Reeves told them that reading is also writing, so, in any case in that sense, I was productive as hell. But, I guess, the question I’m dancing around is: how much work is expected of us in the MFA? And, where does self-discipline come in? I don’t know if it’s the classes I took this semester, teaching methods, or whether I’m just not feeling poetry at the moment, …