Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year, New Semester

Welcome back! I hope everyone had a good winter break. This is a blog about new beginnings, about New Year's resolutions, about choices you will need to make as MFA students...

First things first. Did you write over break? If you did, wonderful(!) - now you have more material to work with. If you didn't (well, and even if you did write), what experiences did you have over break that you can bring into your work? Start taking notes now so that you'll have access to all those vivid, specific details associated with the present tense (or at least not-so-past-tense).

You should (hopefully) be registered for classes. Remember that as MFA students, you will take 21 credits of workshops, ENG 6009: "Principles and Problems of Literary Study," 18 credit hours of literature and/or theory classes (just fyi, for MFA students, ENC 6700 does count as one of these classes. The colloquium does not), and six thesis hours. Wherever you are in your progress through the degree, be thinking about which books have most deeply influenced you. Consider which professors you'd like to work most closely with for your thesis. Think about which stories/poems/essays you can bring in to your thesis project.

Did you make a New Year's Resolution? If not, why not choose one from my list below? Any of these would be great resolutions for writers:

1. Start a writing group and meet at least once a month to discuss each other's work.
2. Read at least one book (that is not assigned by a professor) a month.
3. Go on a trip and take notes on it. Somehow work this experience in to an essay, memoir, poem, story, or novel.
4. Begin a blog. It will help if you choose a topic  - this will narrow your focus.
5. Compose a piece of creative writing in collaboration with one or more of your peers.

Okay! I am also looking for more contributors to the blog. Please send me an email if you're interested in writing something. I can give you a specific prompt if you'd like. Also, email me to set up an appointment. For anyone applying to the program, the application deadline for Fall 2014 is January 15th!

MR Sheffield is FAU's English Graduate Advisor. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Pank, Epiphany, Spring Gun and other publications. You can reach her at:

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