Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's Summer. Now What?

Summer, for me, is supposed to mean a break. It even says so on the Queens syllabus. I don't have to turn anything in until mid-August at the start of fall semester. But really, it's not a break. I don't think writers have them. There's no such thing.

My goal for the month of June is to work on revisions. Trust me, there's a lot. I'm reviewing all my submissions from last semester and the May residency, going through workshop critiques, looking for similarities, repeating comments. Generally, you know those are the things that need fixing. Just as an FYI, I do review critiques throughout the semester, and make some changes along the way. But for me, I need to give the story some space. Go back to it with fresh eyes after a few weeks or months. Makes a huge difference.

July - I plan to write new things. That's the plan. I've started a few... first pages, first sentences...but I work better knowing that the other stories are as complete as they can be.

Many low-res MFA programs meet over the summer (Vermont College of Fine Arts, University of Alaska Anchorage, Bennington, anyone else? Let me know, I'll add them here) Other low-res programs use the summer for a study abroad experience (Spalding University, University of New Orleans, others?) Traditional classroom MFA folks - what are your summer plans?

Share your summer experiences!

17 comments:

Hilarywho said...

I'm doing the same thing! I've been revising like crazy lately. No summer break for me. I keep telling myself I've also got to make time for new writing, but for right now I'm revision obsessed.

Jennifer said...

I'm attending the Prague Summer Program in July. I'm Spending a month in Prague doing workshop with Stuart Dybek and getting credit for it! I'm so excited!

Sheila Lamb said...

@Jennifer - Wonderful!!
@Hilary - I'm with you. Obsessed.

Tommy said...

I went to Queens of Charlotte too and didn't work much my first summer. I was way overloaded with all o f the comments and the work of the semester. But, if you can you should definitely come up with new work, because you'll need it to meet the demand of the winter residency... there isn't much time to get a lot of work done in Decemeber and then you neeed two manuscripts for Residncy in January and then the a manuscript for a quick turnaround in February

Patrick said...

Hi Sheila! I leave on Saturday for my first VCFA residency in Montpelier, I'm very excited. I've spent the last couple of weeks reviewing works by my fellow workshop students and reading works by faculty members as I try to decide who I'd like to work with next semester.

I won't be blogging or tweeting much from the residency; I've decided to be reasonable about how much time and brainpower I'll have to spare for such activities.

B said...

Ugh, I just forced myself to finish a story kind of prematurely a few weeks ago, because I wanted it finished before I took a little vacation. Now I'm back from my trip and can't decide if I should get involved with that old story again or just leave it and start new stuff. Other plans involve moving to start my MFA in the fall and reading books by my future professors, I guess.

Hayley N. Jones said...

I can empathise. I'm a student in the UK and have just completed a BA in Film Studies and an Open University diploma in Creative Writing. I have 3 months before I start a Creative Writing MA and a lot of reading and writing to cram into them! As much as I love writing (well, most of the time!) and as thrilled as I am to be accepted onto the MA, I feel exhausted just thinking about what I want/need to get through...

Blu said...

Just came back from the wonderful Low Res MFA program at Bennington. You can add that to your list if you like (you asked for suggestions). It was so wonderful wonderful.

DisplayedName said...

What do y'all think of Bard's summer MFA program?

Algorithmic Concepts said...

It's pretty intense! A lot of stuff happening here now. I've just finished my "Airports", op.3:

http://algorithmic-concepts.blogspot.com/2011/06/airports-op-3_22.html

Thinking about studying some more theory and composition as I keep writing !!!

Good luck everyone!

Rhonda Browning White said...

I'm in the Converse College low-res program, fiction concentration. Our summer break began with the end of residency, but our first packet was due shortly after break. In other words, it was a working break. It's my thought that breaks for low-residency students don't follow the traditional in-seat student format. You're a grown-up now, so take a break when you can afford it. Learning to manage your time is important to any writer, whether you write full-time or juggle your writing with a job or classwork. The low-res modality (at least the one at Converse), is developed for adults with responsibilities outside the classroom. Read, study and write on your own schedule, but meet the deadlines set by your faculty advisor. So far, our assignments have kept me quite busy, but they're certainly not impossible to meet. You get out of your program what you put into it. I think that's the bottom line, but it's also important to be in a program with nurturing mentors who will respond to your questions in a prompt manner and who offer advice and guidance as well as instruction. I'm glad I've found that at Converse.

Steven Barnes said...

It can be fun to shift into a different genre or form with the coming of a new season.


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