Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Over so soon

Today I'll hand in all my final coursework: my essay on cover design, two book proposals, 2500 words from my novel and a reflection on my writing process. Of course, I'm not yet finished. I have a few more deadlines along the way, and September 30th I'll be handing in (hopefully!) my completed novel (Project Sparkle). But I still feel strangely empty. Next week Monday will be my last class at Bath Spa University.

I'm certainly looking forward to having more free time. I've got my whole series of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books waiting for me. I've got the newest PD James mystery. I'm also looking forward to more writing time. I still have yet to figure out my climax.

This past year has been a lot of work. I've frequently dreaded class, thinking "Oh boy, what flaw in my writing are they going to dissect this week?"

Yet for all the challenges, it's been one of the best years of my life, one of the best decisions I've ever made. My writing has improved dramatically. I've become more critical of myself, more aware of my bad writing. But I've also become more aware of my good writing, and been so encouraged and supported in all the things I do well. I've read a ton. I've made friends. I've had the absolute privilege to be surrounded by people who share my passion for children's books and writing and reading. As much as I've dreaded my classes, every Sunday evening I've also thought, "Oh good, I get to go back to school tomorrow!" Every Wednesday morning I've waited expectantly to see what new book I would get to read for the week. So I'm really sad to see it all be over.

Course, I'll still continue to get together, online and hopefully in person, with many of my classmates. I'll still continue to visit Bath and meet with Julia. Next year at about this time my class will be launching our anthology of work with a launch party in London. So perhaps it's not so much of an end as another step forward.

But I'm still sad.

What a change from the beginning of the year, huh? Here's some of my first posts on going back to school and on my first day on campus as a student. I love how I actually have an online record of how much my life has changed.

4 comments:

  1. Wow. Monday is coming up soon.
    Is your program a one year program?

    Good luck with your novel and that deadline.

    My semester ends in a few weeks. Then after a short break I got to my residency.

    There is a little feeling of a loss and sadness, isn't there, when we finish such a wonderful program.

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  2. Monday is very soon! Looks like we're all going out to lunch afterwards, though, so that's something to look forward to.

    It is a one year program--fewer classes and opportunities involved than what it sounds like for yours. What is involved in your residency?

    Thanks, Sarah!

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  3. Our residencies are on campus in Montpelier VT. They are 10 days long. They are long days--about 12 hours or more.
    It is all super high level--I'd estimate over 1/4 of the students come in published, and some have over 10 books out there--they are focused on improving their craft and learning to write even better.

    We have high level workshops (we each submit up to 20 pages) which are more like laboratories. There is a workshop session most days. Most of the workshops have 10 students and 2 advisors, though there is a small workshop option with 1 advisor and 6 students.

    There are lectures--super high level lectures--these are every day. The faculty give a lecture (3 of every 4 residencies) and the graduating students also give a lecture.

    There are visiting authors, or authors in residence. This July it is Gregory Maguire and Holly Black! They also speak and often have casual sessions with students.

    Also--readings by faculty (often from WIP) and graduating students. Plus there are a few social activities, and lots of informal visiting going on in the late evenings and over meals.
    I come home feeling like a dripping sponge--filled with craft knowledge and energy.

    VCFA has a post grad option--if you ever are interested. You can select whichever advisor you want to work with. They will work one and one with you during the semester--lots of individual attention. And you get to attend residency. It is a great way to experience VCFA, and a way to get mentoring from some of the best children's writers.
    This might be something you want to consider. I bet you'd love it, plus it gives you the VCFA connection and network and other perks.
    Several authors choose this option--2 post grad students this semester.

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  4. Wow--that does sound lovely! Thanks for the details, I'll definitely keep it a little happy, maybe someday corner of my mind.

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