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MFA Sunday School (One: Introductions and Expectations)

Welcome to MFA Sunday School, a once-a-week, free, online writing workshop.

Whether you are joining from the very beginning or finding this first post in the series at a later date, this is the place to get to know your virtual classmates, find writing partners, and introduce yourself to the rest of the group.  From time to time, I will be reminding people to dive back into the comment section below and find people to connect with over writing.  So introduce yourself even if you’re late to the game.

But first some logistics.

MFA Sunday School posts are uploaded on Sunday mornings.  You can subscribe to blog posts via the RSS feed, or look for them under the category heading “MFA Sunday School.”  You don’t need to read them on Sundays — in fact, you probably want to save them until you can concentrate on them.  I’ll usually give you homework at the end.  On the other hand, there will also sometimes be time-sensitive lessons such as a query letter critique, where once the critique is closed, we won’t be giving you an edit on your query letter until the next one.  So… follow along as closely as you need to follow along.  If that makes sense.

MFA programs are usually organized into two umbrella categories — fiction and poetry.  Some programs also hold classes on creative non-fiction and playwriting/screenwriting.  MFA Sunday School will cover the basics of poetry — free form and fixed form.  The basics of short story writing.  How to dissect fiction and then use what you learn to enhance your own work.  How to develop a novel.  How to write creative non-fiction.  Formatting for playwriting/screenwriting.  How to look at your own work with a critical eye.  How to submit to literary magazines.  How to pitch to editors.  How to form a relationship with a writing partner and look at each other’s work with a critical eye.  Critique of query letters.  And any other topics you’d like to know about that are usually covered in an MFA program.  In other words, anything and everything related to writing.

A few years ago, I wrote an eleven-part series on getting a book published. (You need to unfortunately read it from the bottom up since the top post is the eleventh or final post.)  We’ll be delving back into that too, especially because the publishing world keeps changing and as new options open, such as e-books or Amazon singles, we need to keep looking at the process of getting your work out there.  If you liked that series, MFA Sunday School is going to be similar except it will cover a wider range of topics.

I am your main teacher.  I have an aforementioned MFA.  I also studied creative writing as my undergraduate degree, so I have seven straight years of workshops.  I’ve published two books so far — one fiction, one non-fiction.  I have a handful of published poems.  I’ve been the editor in chief of two literary magazines.  I’m a section editor at BlogHer for Blogging & Social Media.  I’ve written the blog Stirrup Queens for almost six years.  I’m going to need to pull in other writers from time to time as well as agents, publishers, literary magazine editors so I won’t be the only person you’ll see here.  Hopefully we’ll have some fun guest speakers.

Why an online weekly writing program?  Why not.  I have the information in my brain; I know it’s expensive to go to university full time — it seems like a win-win.  The focus of an MFA program is not to get you published per se but to get you to be a better writer, a goal that many bloggers share with book writers and poets.  So I see this as a way of mutually supporting each other to become better writers whether your medium is fiction writing, poetry writing, playwriting/screenwriting or blogging.  I like connecting with people who like to write, who want to write better, who want to understanding the process of writing, who like words and want to play with them.

So, last few things before we start getting to know one another.  The comment section will be your space to speak to your classmates (always in a civil tone).  There will be exercises sometimes at the bottom of the post, and I would appreciate it, if you have a blog or online space, if you could post your work on YOUR blog and then post a link to the work in my comment section.  Then people can jump from here to visit your space.  If not, the comment section will become extremely crowded (sestinas are long!).  If you don’t have a blog, don’t worry; you can post your work here in the comment section.  I’m just trying to cut down on the number of people who do so.  The comment section for each lesson is open indefinitely.  If a particular exercise resonated with you, it’s a good idea to bookmark that post and return to it from time to time to see if there are new comments and new pieces of writing to read.

I definitely also recommend getting a writing partner.  You don’t have to do this immediately, but pay attention to other people in the comment section and see if there is someone who sounds like they could be a good fit.

I’m also going to start using the Prompt-ly list for general writing discussion, and it will compliment the MFA Sunday School posts.  It will be a place to ask questions, find writing partners, discuss the topic of the week, etc.  If you’re already on the Prompt-ly list and this appeals to you, no need to do anything.  If you’re not on the Prompt-ly list and want to be able to take the discussion off-blog and to email, sign up via that link.  If you’re on the Prompt-ly list and don’t want to talk about writing… well… then I’m not sure why you’re on the Prompt-ly list since I wrote in the opening post that there will be how-to information in the future.  It will still be a place to throw out blog ideas, interesting articles, and the like.  But this will take it one step further where it will be about all mediums of writing.  I’m not sure how often we’ll need to go to email for discussion, but throwing it out there as a resource that is already in place — an email group of writers.

And… that’s about it.

It’s now time for you to introduce who you are and why you’re here.  First and foremost, tell us about what you write: your blog, any publications, whether you’re more interested in poetry or fiction.  Tell us what you hope to learn as well as what you like to read.  What are your long-range goals?

And then please vote below to let me know which of the following topics appeal to you most (all will be covered, but I’m trying to get a sense of what people want to learn in depth vs. what people want to touch on briefly).  There is an “other” option for you to fill out other things you’d like to learn.  Or feel free to add that in your introduction below if you have a few items.

So welcome to class and let’s get ready to learn.

38 comments

1 Casey { 04.15.12 at 8:20 am }

Hi,

I’m Casey, and I blog about dealing with the death of online friends at Navigating Cyberloss. Although I’m currently pursuing an English with Creative Writing undergraduate degree in the UK, I look forward to participating here also, to broaden my horizons and gain input from people outside of the university environment. From this course I’m interested in learning more about creative non-fiction, and also more about looking at my own work with a critical eye. When a blog is as personal as mine ends up being…unintentional, but difficult to avoid with my subject matter, it’s a pain to actually look at it critically.

Looking forward to diving in, learning more, and getting to know some more of my fellow writers/bloggers.

Best wishes,

Casey

2 Anjali { 04.15.12 at 9:57 am }

Hi.
I’m Anjali. For about 10 years I wrote exclusively creative nonfiction. I’ve been published in small, online parenting magazines, as well as a few national ones. I’ve had essays in two anthologies. A couple years back I co-edited an anthology with my writing partner, had an agent who submitted it to publishers, but it didn’t sell.

Since then, I’ve become interested in writing fiction. I’ve written a novel, and am in the process of revising it. I hope to start looking for agents again this summer. I’m now pretty hooked on fiction/novel writing, and am really interested in short stories and poetry.

I’m on the fence about applying to a low residency MFA program this winter. I have no formal training in writing, attend every workshop I can in the Atlanta-area, but my gut tells me I need more. Despite the large price tag and the lack of jobs, I’m still seriously considering it.

That’s all for me. Thanks, Mel, for imparting your knowledge for free!

3 Justine { 04.15.12 at 10:00 am }

Hello, everyone! A long time ago, I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. In college, I majored in English and my poetry was published in a variety of places. Then I went to grad school for my PhD and had the creativity beaten out of me. (just kidding …!) I now write over at http://ahalfbakedlife.blogspot.com, and would love to find some characters and write fiction, as well as return to my poetry and polish my nonfiction. I’ve always been a more productive writer in community, so that’s part of what I hope to find here: supportive feedback and critique. I’m also looking for inspiration and guidance from a guru. :) Looking forward to this journey!

4 Rebecca { 04.15.12 at 10:29 am }

I’m Rebecca, I’m 28 and I have a diploma in Creative Writing, I am looking to do an MA soon too.

5 Mina { 04.15.12 at 11:09 am }

Hi, I am Mina. These days I write so that I do not forget erm, these days of my life. Sort of like a diary, if you want. I also whinge a lot. Hardly literature. Nor do I expect to produce any any time soon. But I did this back in uni, and it would be fun to try again and maybe sometimes, when I have time, I will get to it properly. Until then, I will just have to play it by ear. I hope I can keep up.

Nice to meet you all.

6 mrs spock { 04.15.12 at 11:15 am }

I’ve been looking for a reason to decloak my blog again. I felt like I lost my voice when we completed our family. Prompts are what I need.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I published crappy poetry in little magazines in my teens. Most recently, I was a reviewer and contributor for 2 chapters of the new edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves. I’ve written web content for them (the collection of infertility stories includes mine, and I recruited and did initial editing on all the other stories, plus wrote the article about pregnancy after infertility.)

I’ve been working on a young adult novel in fits and starts the past 18 months. I would love to publish a series. I also would love to write some nonfiction as well. One day, I’d like to wean off being a full-time nurse and become a full time writer.

7 RamaDrama { 04.15.12 at 11:23 am }

Hi,
I am Ram. I have been stuck with grandiosity for ages that have prevented me from completing any novel i start. My writing experience has been my random pourings in my blog. With the advent of self publishing in Amazon and other platforms, I have decided it’s time to put ink(pixels) to my thoughts and publish something before I die.I have started a scifi-Philosophical-romantic-mystery-drama novel. I am looking for a community to bring me down to earth with their constructive feedback. And thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge. I am glad I stumbled on this blog.

8 Kay { 04.15.12 at 12:23 pm }

Hello, I’m Kay. In my day job I do stuff with other people’s words. I’d love to write fiction for the radio. I’ve been incubating ideas for a blog for a while now. This is a little push for me to start hatching them. Thank you Melissa for offering to share with us.

9 Daryl { 04.15.12 at 12:39 pm }

Hi, I’m Daryl. Like Justine, I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, and my undergrad degree is in Creative Writing. Funny thing is, when I actually grew up, practicality got the best of me, and I put writing on the shelf for a while to pursue a degree and a job that would pay the bills. I write poetry and a blog (http://soonafamily.wordpress.com), and lately, most of my writing has been focused on infertility, but I’m starting to feel a bit like a broken record and would like to expand my repertoire. I think this will help. Thanks so much, Mel, for sharing your knowledge!

10 Mali { 04.15.12 at 7:48 pm }

Hi
I’m Mali. As a kid I wrote for fun, then university and work meant that my writing was academic or business related. When I was going through infertility and loss I found writing to be therapeutic, and I then started blogging, first with the x365 project (a post every day for a year on someone that had affected my life) which reminded me how much I enjoyed writing. I’ve done NaNoWriMo twice, and I currently have three blogs (an infertility blog, an everyday blog, and a travel blog). I’m very keen to hone my skills. The x365 blog was amazing for the discipline, and I’m looking forward to getting some of that discipline back!

11 loribeth { 04.15.12 at 9:15 pm }

I’m Lori. Like many of you, I wanted to be a writer when I grew up — and I actually am, although not in quite the way I had envisioned — the original idea was to write books, then to be a journalist. I studied journalism, I did work on a smalltown weekly for about a year, and wound up working in corporate communications for the past 25+ years. ; )

I don’t have any grand ambitions for publication these days — although I have a vague idea about writing a memoir once I’m retired, or maybe a volume about my family history. But I enjoy writing my blog, and not just on infertility subjects. I enjoy talking about the writing process, and I’m always looking for new inspiration. I’m looking forward to reading along & hopefully to do at least a few of the exercises with the group. : )

12 Barb { 04.15.12 at 10:13 pm }

I also always wanted to be a writer. But my competing dream of working with wildlife won out. So I have a B.S. and change in Biology/environmental science. I’ve also had some crappy teen years poems/short stories published in kid mags and have written for some piddly things here and there since (mostly related to my job.) I seem to do best with non-fiction, but I really need to hone it. The little fiction skill I had has flown the coop, and I’d really like help in that area. I have dreams of writing my grandmas memoirs and/or a novel based on the history of my tiny town. (the info would have to come from interviews)

Love you Mel

13 Barb { 04.15.12 at 10:15 pm }

Ps. I write an IF/parenting blog and a family blog. Time and prioritizing are my enemy since becoming a mom and juggling work, but I’m getting better.

14 Barb { 04.15.12 at 10:17 pm }

I dont know why my blog isn’t linking:
Fertilitychallengedfla.blogspot.com

15 Jen { 04.15.12 at 10:18 pm }

Hi,

I’m Jen. I don’t have a formal degree in writing or English, but I would like to learn more about being a better writer to help my brand new business along through blogging. My website is
www. potomacquilter.com and the blog is http://www.potomacquilter.blogspot.com. Both are blank because I’ve have
yet to decide how to approach this:) I also would love to share my experiences with infertility and rheumatoid arthritis in a helpful and positive way.

16 Kathy { 04.16.12 at 12:44 am }

Greetings Mel & MFA Sunday School classmates!

I’m Kathy and I have been blogging about life and parenting after secondary infertility and loss since April 2007 at Bereaved and Blessed (http://bereavedandblessed.com), formerly Four of a Kind.

I also do PR, Social Media and am a Contributing Editor for Exhale: A Literary Magazine (http://exhalezine.com)

Though I am interested in both poetry and fiction, I am most inspired to write non-fiction (memoir and/or Jeff Zaslow type books). I hope to learn more about writing in general, as I don’t have a formal background in doing so.

Though I have written personal journals since my teenage years, my bachelors and masters degrees are in Leisure Studies/Recreation Management. I *only* came to writing through my five year experience with secondary infertility, recurrent pregnancy loss and neonatal death.

That journey has inspired me to write in large part as a way to process my experience and try to connect with/help others who are also trying to cope and find joy when their lives haven’t gone as they hoped, dreamed or planned they would.

My long term goal is to complete a book proposal that I am working on and query agents to represent me/try to get it published. My short term goal is to practice my craft and try to get some of my work published in print and ideally get paid for some of what I write.

I am grateful for this opportunity Mel, truly and look forward to getting to know and learning with all of you through this experience.

17 marwil { 04.16.12 at 5:13 am }

My name is Maria and I’m writing over at my blog and have written for longer than that on another blog. For a long time I have wanted to take a course in creative writing and am looking around again to find something suitable. I joined a writing group last year but don’t go anymore.

Thanks Mel for sharing your knowledge.

18 Stinky Weaselteats { 04.16.12 at 5:55 am }

Hi peeps, I’m Stinky, and I’ve just been writing at a blog (just moved) on and off for nearly 2 years. Yep, wanted to be a writer when I was little (and an artist too, tried that recently, hmmm, jury is still out) and have had nothing published, nothing written TO publish (ok, a poem I wrote when I was 8 got published somewhere, sometime, I don’t know, I was too embarrassed then).

I use words to process ‘life’, and have done for the last 5-6 years. It mainly comes out as self-indulgent whining and sweariness, but I figure, better out than in. I’d love to move away from the topic of infertility and miscarriage a bit more, but frequently fear I don’t actually have that much to say. But started blogging as I find being concise difficult (no, really?) and felt I was writing far too long responses in forums and CLEARLY need to have my own space to rant. Go figure.

Not really a massive poetry fan, but always thought I could be persuaded. Its never really made sense to me. Not sure exactly what i want to “learn” as such . . . that will probably percolate as time goes on. I reckon moving at least, in the right direction, is the best thing right now.
Reading-wise, I am, or used to be, a total bookworm. I haven’t sat down and read a book for a while, but when I did, its probably easier to say what I don’t enjoy reading (westerns, romances, Twilight, war novels, chick lit) . . . off the top of my head I enjoyed Chuck Palahniuk, and . . . struggling to come up with any others, although they’ll most likely flood my brain once I hit ‘submit’. The day Visual Bookshelf decided it was no longer supporting my access to my archives of books read over 3+years was the day I stopped really tracking . . . now wondering if my recent lack of reading is linked to a sense of futility over that loss, or more my inability to return library books on time culminating in large unnecessary fees.

Oh, hey, Conciseness, again. in direct opposition with (lack of) self-censorship. Hi everyone, anyway, and thanks Mel, for doing this

19 Steadfast Warrior { 04.16.12 at 7:37 am }

I’m Lindsay, and while I never did more than a few classes of English in University, I’ve been writing poetry and other bits of fiction for ages. I’m not published at all, but I do write at my blog: http://apparentlywelladjusted.blogspot.com.

I have two ideas for novels in my head, one of which I have written out a basic outline for and am doing the research (it’s a historical fiction) so I can start writing.

I’m hoping having something a little more structured will get me motivated and help me look at my own work more critically.

20 KeAnne (KH99) { 04.16.12 at 9:18 am }

I’m KeAnne. My undergrad is in English and for a while I wanted to pursue a PhD in comparative lit but then decided I liked to eat. Last year I finally completed a MS in Library Science after 5 years. I used to write a lot as a child – fairy tales, bad young adult stories, etc. – but never thought of myself as a writer. These days the only thing I write is my personal blog and the blog I co-manage at work.

I really want to improve my writing. Thanks to writing a billion papers, I think I’m an ok writer, but there is a lot of room for improvement. I’m primarily interested in writing essays, articles, creative non-fiction but who knows? The occasional poem may find its way out :-)

21 gwinne { 04.16.12 at 10:06 am }

Hi, everyone. I’m gwinne and blog over at http://something-remarkable.blogspot.com.

I’m at the point that I need to do something to jumpstart my writing after maternity leave, and this might be the thing. Or not…Mel, let me know what you think.

Although I haven’t yet published a book (ack!), I have published pretty widely in journals. I do have an MFA in Poetry, although most of my recent work is creative nonfiction, and I am now a tenured professor in an English dept (teaching both poetry and nonfiction, among many other things). I have many projects in the works…another collection of poems and a zillion personal essays. I draft quickly and easily and stall out at the revising for publication stage. I miss the community I had as an MFA student and really am looking for readers who are not my colleagues… For what it’s worth, I tend to write about infertility/loss related topics.

I blog under a pseudonym but obviously publish under my real name, and I’d like to keep those separate for the time being!

22 Liana { 04.16.12 at 11:01 am }

My name is Liana. I wrote poetry for my high school’s literary magazine, but not much of anything since then except for my blog and a few wedding ceremonies. I don’t have a college degree and I’m not looking to get published. What I am interested in is engaging the thoughtful and creative side of my brain, and think this will provide the right kind of motivation and structure to do that. This may sound funny, but the aspects I’m most looking forward to are looking at work (my own and others’) with a critical eye. I was an editor on my high school’s newspaper and I connected with that more than I did with writing articles.

23 Pale { 04.16.12 at 11:25 am }

I wrote for fun all throughout childhood, yet somehow it never occurred to me to pursue writing as a career; I have no formal training and no pretensions. I have a BFA in art and worked I worked happily and very successfully as an art director in advertising before staying home with my kids.

I received encouragement about my writing over the years … high school teachers and college composition professors gave me a lot of positive reinforcement and offered my work up to their classes as examples (I used to bump into people 10 years my junior who reported reading a certain play that I wrote as a HS senior long after I’d forgotten all about it) … the writing teachers all seemed light up around me, but I was too distracted at that time to spend much time wondering why … my creative director used to joke that she didn’t have to hire a copywriter to work with me because I was a jack-of-all-trades and she strongly encouraged me to keep writing as part of her “last advice” when I had to leave her. I am a great letter writer. Now … when I haven’t made time for much art in more years than I want to admit … the one creative thing that I have never stopped doing is … writing. I am on my second blog now … mostly locked posts because the kind of processing that I do there is not safe on the open web.

Since I have no formal training, I know I absolutely need to brush up on the mechanics. Lately I am very interested in things like how to self-edit. My early drafts (and too often, my final products) always need serious hair-cutting.

My strongest interest is in creative non-fiction, but honestly there isn’t a topic on your checklist that doesn’t interest me at least a little bit.

I think it’s good to write what you know and I have some idea that I’d like to blog about my experiences parenting a dyslexic child … to raise awareness and advocate for change on that wild frontier (and on the parenting front and in the current public school system, if not in science, it IS still a wild frontier). It would be nice to sharpen my writing skills in order to be able to make a difference there.

As far as fiction goes … I haven’t been able to write it since high school. Just like my experience in art — where I was most definitely a designer/problem-solver and NOT a fine artist — the writing which comes most naturally so far is the material that comes from real life or in response to someone else’s requirements/questions. That said, I do love a good ghost story and have some inkling that I have at least one really good one in me. Who knows? Maybe?

My father-in-law, an ivy league educated lawyer, says, “If you can’t write, you can’t think.” I couldn’t agree more. I just love words. And I’d love to get better at using them. I also love people who love words. :)

As others said, thank you so much for sharing, Mel.

24 Susan { 04.16.12 at 3:49 pm }

Hello All,
My name is Susan. I am not a writer, but a listener of others’ stories. In my other life I am a wife, mother and Clinical Social Worker. I started my blog, (www.findingyourbalance.co ) for two reasons: one, I want to find out if I have a voice for writing, and two, if all these thoughts that swirl around in my head help others than that is great.
I would like to develop my writing voice in creative non-fiction, first. But, am also curious about a novel idea that has been stuck in my head for a few years.
Thanks!

25 Esperanza { 04.16.12 at 9:19 pm }

This is so amazing, and SO what I need write now. I am working on a few projects, all fiction. I have a few picture books rattling in my head and a YA novel idea that needs a lot of developing before I could even outline it (and oh how it needs to be outlined). I also write too blogs, one anonymous and one not. Finally I were for a mothers group magazine in my city. I can’t wait to learn more about writing and getting published. I’m very excited to be here. Thanks for doing this.

26 jjiraffe { 04.16.12 at 9:28 pm }

Hi!

My name is Jessica, and I write over at my blog, http://jjiraffe.wordpress.com I have never been published. My background is in PR, and I’ve written many press releases, speeches and white papers.

I have been writing a mystery (for like eight years) and I would love to finish it and publish it. I’d also maybe like to publish an anthology of my “Faces of Adoption/Loss/Infertility” series? My dad has written and published five fiction novels, so I know secondhand how onerous a process it is to get an agent and then get published, and frankly, seeing what he’s gone through has probably been the main thing holding me back.

But, no more excuses. I am going to “just do it.” And I look forward to meeting you all :)

27 Lori Lavender Luz { 04.16.12 at 11:40 pm }

My name is Lori and I am a writer :-).

Excited to be part of this. I’m in it for nonfiction and querying. Oh, and editting.

Haha, did you catch that?

28 serenity { 04.17.12 at 1:14 pm }

So, uh, I’m late to the party. :)

I’m Serenity. I used to write consistently from my first piece: a fiction story in 6th grade about the abandoned house near my house that I was sure was haunted.

In high school, I walked around with a black and white composition book which carried all my poetry. I’d stop whenever a thought struck me and write it down, even if I was in math class. (Actually wrote a great poem in my pre-calculus class my senior year!)

So I fancied myself a poet until college, where I took a poetry writing seminar with a professor who won the Tanning Award. He just shook his head sadly whenever I presented one of my poems for critique. Hardly confidence inducing.

That was also when I realized I was a far better critic than a writer.

But I miss it. I miss discovering the perfect word to capture a meaning. I miss being struck with inspiration and stopping to write it down. I miss being attuned to life to write it all down.

I want to rediscover that love of words again.

29 Mary Beth @ Pinkbriefcase { 04.17.12 at 2:02 pm }

Hi everyone,

I’m Mary Beth, and I’m a lawyer who majored in English and wants to write about real things. I don’t entirely know what that means. I majored in English Lit in college and always felt silly trying to make up stories, but I love humor/nonfiction/explaining how things work in a personal way. I try to do that on my blog, pinkbriefcase.wordpress.com, and in my consulting as a legal writer/editor.

In five years I’d like to transition into full time writer. Right now, I just think about what interests me and try to get my ideas down on paper/text box when I have a few spare minutes.

30 Kristen { 04.18.12 at 6:06 pm }

Hi everyone,

I’m Kristen and sadly I spent my undergrad years convincing myself to be an accountant while ignoring the nagging voice in my head trying to tell me otherwise.

Without the time or money to pursue a formal degree, I settle for writing for writng’s sake, which I do in journals, the occasional blog post and tiny scraps of paper I find stuffed into drawers or shoved in my pockets. For the purposes of this project, I created a new blog and will be posting there:

http://okiwillshowyou.blogspot.com/

I have always worked well in group settings and love to read other people’s words. I hope by participating I can provide more structure and focus to my writing and improve my critical eye. I tend to gravitate toward writing non-fiction and would love to learn how to submit my work to magazines. That being said, writing a novel has always been a dream of mine and I am open to exploring all of the topics you mentioned above.

Thank you for organizing this and sharing your experience with us!

31 Jessie { 04.20.12 at 1:02 am }

I’m Jessie, and I’d like to get back into creative writing. At this point, I basically just write my infertility blog, but in high school and college I wrote a lot of poetry and a couple of short stories. I have maybe 5-10 pages and an outline of a mystery book that I started in college. I’d love to actually write the rest of the book and get back into writing poetry. I’ve always done most of my poetry from prompts, although some just kinda springs forth when I’m really emotional. Mostly I read fantasy, historical fiction, and fiction about the Amish.

32 Arwen Rose { 04.21.12 at 8:45 am }

Arwen here. I have always written and my dream is to be a writer for real. Writing is my self help, how I deal with life but along with my dream of becoming a mother I want to put aside my fear of failure and try. 40000 words into my first draft of historical fiction novel, trying to find time to write alongside fulltime job and starting fertility treatments for, hopefully, future gestational surrogacy.recently started a log as a way to navigate IF but also topractice discipline of writing every day, or almost!

33 Tiara { 04.21.12 at 10:44 am }

Hi, I’m Tara…I blog at http://join-tiaras-world.blogspot.com & enjoy writing for personal fulfillment & enjoyment. I’ve journaled since I can remember & have a dream/fantasy to write a memoir but only for personal satisfaction not publishing.

34 Queenie { 04.22.12 at 4:30 am }

Hi everyone,

I’ve been blogging for four years, and write a lot for work, but otherwise haven’t written for me in years. I used to write fiction when I was younger–I won a short story competition when I was young, and wrote my first”novel” (a few hundred pages of really awful stuff) when I was a teenager. When I got to the point of submitting things for publication in my late teens, the early rejections crushed my spirit. It was a time of low self-esteem, and I quickly gave up. It was one of those times in life when I could’ve really used a good mentor to encourage me on, but I didn’t have one and was too young to know to go look for one. I gave up on fiction, and earned a journalism degree in college, instead.

I never used my journalism degree. I went to grad school and did something else entirely, which I am also currently on hiatus from. I’ve wanted to get back to writing, so this is perfect. I’m interested in everything but poetry. I mostly read blogs and newspapers and baby/parenting books these days.

Finally, my long-range goals? Haven’t sorted that out yet.

35 Rachel { 04.23.12 at 12:56 am }

Hi, I’m Rachel . . .

I was a writer for an advertising agency for a few years. Now I write for my blog (www.thelewisnote.blogspot.com), as well as freelance every once in a while.

I currently write on pregnancy loss and related grief. I never would have chosen this topic — but after our loss in December, this is one subject that I am passionate writing about.

I have always wanted to write a book, but I never knew what it would be about. After the positive feedback I’ve received on my blog, I think I would like to write a book about pregnancy loss . . . eventually.

I think this exercise will just be good for me to develop a critical eye toward my writing, as well as hone my skills through the careful critique of my writing peers.

Quite simply, I’m excited to learn more about the art of writing!

36 melissa { 05.06.12 at 4:00 pm }

hi there! i’m melissa. i blog at rockanddrool.com and i want to write. not about MY life but the lives of those people that are inside me and kicking my brain. most of the time, i start and then stop with words balling in a knot in my throat and chest, stuck there, waiting. so, i’m going to start from the beginning here. thank you!
p.s. my writing on my blog can be found if you search fiction, short stories or creative writing.

37 Mud Hut Mama { 05.06.12 at 5:31 pm }

I live in the middle of a wildlife reserve in Malawi. I’m a stay-at-home mom, I have no car, and I have elephants and buffalo around my house regularly so the kids and I can’t even stray far for a walk and are house bound most of the time. I absolutely love it but at times I feel isolated and in need of adult company.

I started a blog just a couple of months ago in hopes of finding an online community. I think it will end up being mostly about homeschooling but was surprised that the first thing I felt I needed to write about was infertility. It’s been a great outlet but I’d like to do it well.

I haven’t written seriously for a long time. I took a lot of writing courses in college but that was a long time ago. The only thing I’ve ever had published was an environmental education guide for fifth graders in Zambia. As you can guess it was a very localized publication!

I’m looking to improve my writing skills as I continue blogging and maybe to finally put down on paper one of the children’s book ideas that have been running through my mind. I’m most interested in creative non-fiction, how to look at your own work with a critical eye, and how to be a good writing partner and give feedback on someone’s work. So glad to have found this course and look forward to meeting all of you.

38 nkechi ladapo { 06.12.12 at 8:21 pm }

Hi im nkechi . I think im very very late but i reallly want to learn how to write. Have always wanted to be a writer since i was a kid. im interested i poetry.Have also written some poems not published though.Also interested in fiction and having a writing partner

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