Tag Archives: creative writing programs

Last Lecture: What matters more: Story or Sentence?


Every time I teach novel writing, I end the semester with a “Last Lecture” on a topic that’s been on my mind all semester long. Last spring, I wrote about learning to self-identify as a writer; this post, “Am I … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

“I can’t do this anymore.”


I’m having a real crisis. I’m starting to wonder if teaching a novel-writing class with 15 students can really be done. Let me explain. This semester, I taught Advanced Fiction, a 400-level course at Ball State which I teach as … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

My Next Big Thing: Literary Citizenship


For the last few years, I’ve ended my classes with a presentation/pep talk on Literary Citizenship (basically this post as a Power Point). But next semester, I’m going to teach a whole class on Literary Citizenship. Course descriptions are due … Continue reading

Posted in Literary Citizenship, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Why Do Writers Need Letters of Recommendation?


Today, I got this question: “How do I go about getting Letters of Recommendation for places like Breadloaf and Yaddo? I didn’t get an MFA. I’m older than the average Bright Young Thing applicant. Might we question the very system … Continue reading

Posted in CW Programs, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Last Lecture: “Am I a writer?”


At the end of the semester, I give presentations in my novel-writing classes about the publishing business. Many students are seniors getting ready to graduate. Hence, they are full of anxieties. The first thing they say is: Why didn’t anyone … Continue reading

Posted in CW Programs, Teaching, The Biggest Things, Writing | Tagged , , , | 41 Comments

Novels vs. Stories in MFA Programs Survey Results


My plan was to release the survey results one question at a time via ruminative blog posts like this one on whether MFA programs are “anti-novel” or not and this one on the “professionalization” question. But I’ve changed my mind. Many people … Continue reading

Posted in CW Programs, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Should we make it our business to teach the business of being a writer?


Writing as craft and writing as business Here’s the question I asked both MFA faculty and students on the survey. MFA programs should avoid “professionalization” and “business” issues related to the writing life, such as discussions of the market and … Continue reading

Posted in CW Programs, Teaching | Tagged , , , | 39 Comments

How I Answered the AWP Survey


Take the survey! You have until March 22. It’s important. I filled it out the other day, and I found that I had so much to say in that little comment module I decided to cut and paste it into a … Continue reading

Posted in CW Programs, Teaching | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Survey Results: 56% say MFA favors story over novel


It is possible to teach novel writing in MFA programs, and many do. My panelists (David Haynes, Patricia Henley, Sheila O’Connor, and Elizabeth Stuckey-French) prove it here, by sharing their syllabi with you. You’ve got everything you need to design your … Continue reading

Posted in CW Programs, Teaching, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation for MFA Programs


Dear former student o’ mine, Thanks for your email/Facebook message asking for a LOR. I’m glad to hear that you want to pursue a graduate degree in creative writing. This is one of those moments in life—like graduation, marriage, the … Continue reading

Posted in CW Programs, General, Teaching, The Biggest Things | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments