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  • Writer's pictureKaris Rogerson

I'm getting my MFA: some hopes and dreams

If you didn't know, now you know: I'm starting an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults in January!

I'll be joining a low-residency, two-year program at VCFA (Vermont College of Fine Arts). In practice, this means that I'm doing a program that can be done concurrently with working full-time, I will just take ~two weeks in January and July to go up to Vermont for an intense 10-day residency!

Because I'm someone who processes outwardly, and because writing things down in lists (lists!!!) is the best way for me to make sense of the clutter inside my brain, I thought it would be fun to share some of my goals, hopes, and dreams for grad school now, before I start. I can look back on this post periodically and check in with myself to see if I'm meeting these goals. A bit of an MFA new year's resolution, if you please.

Behold, my greatest hopes and dreams for grad school:

  1. Leveling up my craft

  2. It has been six and a half years since I graduated college. And while I'm not here to wax poetic about the joys of college life, I do want to point out that one of the benefits of college, where I majored in creative writing, was that it provided structure and constant feedback on my writing. I was in a state of constantly leveling up my craft simply because I was practicing a lot and putting my words in front of people who would critique it lovingly and allow me to improve.

  3. I know the workshop model has its detractors, but I've found that, when the workshop is a safe space, it can be truly life-changing. You don't just learn from the critiques on your own work, but reading others' creative output and seeing what does and doesn't move you can be really instructive in its own way.

  4. Deepening my writing on an analytic & emotional level

  5. I've felt a lot lately that my writing is...broad, but shallow. I write on a lot of topics and ont he surface it seems like I'm sharing a lot, whether that's deep analysis on a piece of pop culture or on my own emotions. But something that's stood out to me in reading others' work of fiction and nonfiction is how much deeper it goes. How much more rich the content is.

  6. When writing dives deeply into analysis and emotion, you can tell. You feel like you come away having improved your mind and heart because of your interaction with the writing. My writing can be pretty, but it's a surface-level beauty. I am hoping these two years of MFA will kick my butt in gear and really force me to dredge deep and bring up something beautiful inside and outside.

  7. Finding a(nother) vibrant community

  8. This year has been incredible in terms of finding writing communities. I've deepened my relationships with the ladies of The Write Cohort Group 13 (you know who you are), and the four of them are in so many ways my sounding boards, my cheerleaders, my go-to.

  9. I also joined Becca Mix's Patreon and entered #TheStoryGrove, a community of writers and creatives brought together by our desire to support Becca, build community, and improve our writing. This group also has, I'd be utterly lost without them. I'm tearing up just thinking about it.

  10. But I am nothing if not greedy for more, and I find that one of the things I'm most looking forward to at VCFA is just. More connections.

  11. Expanding my abilities into new age categories & genres

  12. The program I'll be entering, WCYA for short, encompasses all forms of kidlit — YA, my bread and butter, but also middle grade, picture books, chapter books...and it also covers fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. And I'm so excited to really spread my wings and put myself in uncomfortable age categories and genres. I'm excited to try something new!

  13. I think YA will always be my heart-home, but you never know — maybe I'll find something else that really makes my soul sing.

  14. The reading!!

  15. Y'all, I'm going to be reading so much, and I'm a little terrified (I already have so many books I want and need to read on my own!) but mostly excited.

I can't wait to check in on this post in a year or so and see how my first two semesters shaped up!


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