Year’s End

So today is a time of reflection, as it is for many. I look back on this year, and see that I pulled off one of the hardest things I’ve ever done: apply to enter a creative-writing MFA program. I’d say that this particular type of  graduate program is more grueling to enter than most for two reasons. First off, you must write a substantial body of work that represents the best writing you’ve ever done. It means putting everything through nine or ten drafts.  And then you “finish” the writing and send it off to the schools, and because you are an artist, you find a million things wrong with it and are convinced it’s the worst writing ever.

Second, the norm for the creative-writing MFA is to apply to many programs–ten to fifteen is the norm, I’ve applied to fourteen–mainly because the acceptance rates are so low. And the process to apply to each school is entirely different from one to the next–right down to how much writing you need to send to a school. Though the standard is 20 to 30 pages, one school required 15, another 50.

Sadly, not much has gone on in my life this year beyond this process. I continued with classes, and continued to do well there. I tendered my resignation with Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus to aid my transition to the next phase of my life. I just got the news that I will soon be starting a new job as a writing tutor at my school’s tutoring center. Friends died, new friendships were formed, and life continued.

Looking forward to the next year, I will hear in February and March where, if anywhere, I will go to graduate school. Then I will plan my next move. I’m excited about my prospects.

I don’t believe in resolutions. But I do like challenges and goals. So the challenge I have set for myself for my writing at the moment is to write 26 essays. The idea behind the essays is that their themes will go in alphabetical order. I won’t guarantee I’ll do them all in 26 consecutive days, but I will do my best to approximate that pace. I will post these “alphabet essays” to this blog.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year’s celebration. Stay safe and have fun.


About Whittier Strong

Whittier Strong is an MFA student in creative writing at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, with a focus in nonfiction. He graduated from Metropolitan State University with a BA in creative writing. He has special interests in sociology and philosophy.

Posted on 31 December, 2013, in Personal life and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I’d say that school took up so much time for you, there really was no room to wedge much else in there. Getting to where you are was a huge accomplishment; I recall when you were still contemplating the idea of going back to school and wondering if you could handle it. I guess you proved you could. 🙂

    Best of luck with grad school. I think you’re doing a fantastic job so far handling all life is throwing at you. Keep it up!

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