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MFA Confidential Blog

On Courage

“What “real artists” have is courage. Not enormous gobs of it. Just enough for today. Creativity, like breathing, always comes down to the question, “Are you doing it now?” The awful truth … Read more

Five for Friday: Just getting it down on the page

  “Don’t get it right, just get it written.”–James Thurber * “Whether or not you write well, write bravely.” –Bill Stout * “Don’t think of literary form. Let it get out as … Read more

Why Encouragement Matters

Yesterday, I picked up one of my short stories from my mailbox at school and a professor had written only this on it: You’re on your way. I didn’t know what it … Read more

Your True Self and Your Art

Recently, my husband and I watched a documentary film called Every Little Step. The film follows the lives of a few dancers, dancers who are auditioning for a part in the Broadway … Read more

On Imagining

“‘Writing a novel is gathering smoke,’ says Walter Mosley.  ‘It’s an excursion into the ether of ideas.’ Most people dismiss most of their imaginative life with amused indifference, and maybe even a … Read more

Calling all MFA in Creative Writing students! Do you want your own Writer's Digest Blog?

This post is for all you current MFA in Creative Writing students or MFA students to be. Sadly, I only have a few more months left as an MFA-er and soon I’ll … Read more

5 for Friday: Knowing when a Novel or Story is Finished

  I often struggle with knowing when a story is finished. Rarely am I completely confident that the line I’ve just written is the last one. It happens once in a while. … Read more

On Telling the Truth

    “Writing is the way I ground myself, what keeps me sane. Writing is the way I try and make sense of my life, try to find meaning in accident, reasons … Read more

Writing is Revising

  One of my teachers always said that the revision process required an entirely different part of the brain. When it comes to revision, she said, you have to think more like … Read more

On Words Flowing and Why It's Worth It

  “You begin by hard work and discipline, digging in the dirt until your fingers are bloody; and suddenly the characters find themselves. The setting is in place. The cellos have picked … Read more

We all have bad writing days, but isn't something better than nothing?

  You read about it all the time—the writer who wrote her entire novel in stolen bits of time. In the car while her kids were at gymnastics class. In the early … Read more

On Making Wishes Come True

  “A choice at a time, we execute our lives, placing into them what matters to us. We buy houseplants because we hunger for green life. We Windex our windows, yearning for … Read more

Distance makes the heart grow fonder. . . Time Away from the Work

  You know how they say that sometimes the best thing is to put the work down, put it away, and not think about it for a while? That time will help, … Read more

Quieting the Mind

    I’m so excited to get my hands on author Dani Shapiro’s upcoming memoir, Devotion, which is available next month. The memoir is about her “search for something to believe.” You … Read more

5 for Friday: Writing Advice and Reflections on the Process

  Happy Friday, All. I found some great writing advice and writing reflections in The Glimmer Train Guide to Writing Fiction and thought I’d share it with all of you… Enjoy and … Read more

Can You Measure Good Writing?

I’ve struggled with the AM I GETTING WORSE complex as many of you know… I mean, you want to think you’re getting better. Don’t most writers look back at their earlier works … Read more

Unfinished: What to do with those half written stories?

  Where to begin? Just begin. Yes, I know… But what I mean really is this: Do I start a new story or tackle an old one, one of those half written … Read more

5 for Friday: Beginning Again

  As mentioned before, I am just jumping back into my writing schedule after a couple weeks off and I need all the inspiration I can get. And as most of you … Read more

Grateful in the New Year

  Happy New Years, everyone! I hope you all had a happy, healthy, safe holiday season. I feel like I’ve been MIA lately… well, I have been MIA lately… But it feels … Read more

Books! Books! And more books!

  -One of my overflowing bookcases- I am obsessed with books. What writer isn’t? It’s a problem actually—the piles of books beside the nightstand, under the coffee table, all over the kitchen … Read more

You haven’t yet published…so, are you not a real writer?

  In Stephen King’s On Writing the author talks about success.  He says something like this(I’m completely paraphrasing here): that many people don’t care about what you’re writing and will think your work … Read more

A Little Friendly Interview with YA Author Siobhan Vivian

It’s that time of year. My fall semester officially ended last night and MFA applications are due for potential incoming students in just a few weeks… I only have one semester left … Read more

The wind in my face, the play in writing

After one of my last posts about my struggle with self doubt, a reader made a good point: Writing should be fun. We should enjoy it. I am grateful for her comment, … Read more

5 for Friday: Quotes and Meditations for our writing

  Here are 5 quotes and their matching meditations from Walking on Alligators, by Susan Shaughnessy. Some reminders for when you need them… perhaps to keep you writing through the weekend. 1.      … Read more

Am I getting worse? Thoughts on self doubt

This is what I’ve been thinking lately: I’m getting worse. My writing just isn’t as good as it used to be. With every new story I write I believe I’ve lost something—the … Read more

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