Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The AWP Web site

          Have you logged into and checked out the AWP Web site recently? Yeah – as a member of FAU’s Creative Writing MFA program, you have access to their membership-only content. You didn’t know that? Well, read on, friend, and discover the resources glinting in your future – that magnificence of online ephemera. Ahem. I mean, um, log on to the AWP Web site and take a look around.
                A good place to start your journey is the About section. Here the AWP goes into whey they exist and why you should care that they do. And you should care that they exist – they are a real voice of advocacy for Creative Writing programs and the importance of the Humanities in a world that seems to care less and less about any subject that isn’t a subset of math or science. AWP discusses why you should be a member and why you might want to attend their annual conference.
                Speaking of AWP’s annual conference, click on the link to find out details about their next conference (it will be in Washington. You should go! Read about Negean’s, Gloria’s, and Courtney’s experiences at AWP conferences). This link also gives information about other conferences and residences you might want to attend (read: should deeply consider applying to). They have a directory of conferences and centers – browse it! For example, I did a search for conferences, residencies, centers, festivals, and retreats in Florida that offer scholarships and got three results (Atlantic Center for the Arts, Eckerd College Writers' Conference:Writers in Paradise, and Palm Beach Poetry Festival). If you find an opportunity you’re interested in that would require travel, put in those travel requests now! I’m telling you – the sooner you do this, the more likely it is that you’ll receive funding (even if you are not presenting).
                Another section that might interest you is the Careers tab. The AWP has a wonderful jobs list – check it out! If you’re looking for a job, you might also be interesting in Erika Dreifus’ blog that tracks Creative Writing jobs.
                The AWP Web site also has a link to contests. For the love of everything that is warm and sweet in this world, check these out. Here they list opportunities for grants,awards, publications, and go into detail on their own contests and well as scholarship contest information (for attending a writers’ conference, center, retreat, festival, or residency).
                You also have access the Writer’s Chronicle (their magazine) as well as relevant blog posts (about teaching, literature, writing – all the fun stuff). There is a section on Writer’s News which will keep you up to date with the literary and academic world(s), the Writer’s Notebook which allows you to search articles on such compelling topics as craft, job searching, the submission process, and myriad topics. And a Podcast series. Seriously. Who loves not the podcast?
                I tell you all of this to say this: check it out! I’ll be sending you an email with your log on information. Log in, look around, and feel free to make an appointment with me or with Becka to discuss any questions you have about publishing or finding a job.
                Oh yeah, one more thing. Go to the AWP Conference while you still get the student rate. I’m just saying.

M.R. Sheffield is the English Graduate Advisor at Florida Atlantic University. Her work has been published in The Florida Review, Pank, Fiction Southeast, and other publications. Email her to set up an advising appointment:

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