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Life After the MFA Series
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March 2022
In last month’s email, we proposed some writerly resolutions to consider as we try to start fresh in 2022.
This month we’ll explore the importance of locating or creating a literary community to support your work and well-being. Whether you find meeting new people and sharing your work with relative strangers pleasurable or fear-inducing, the writers featured here each make a different and wonderful case for surrounding yourself with voices of encouragement and accountability.
Feeling inspired? Search AWP’s Database of Writing Conferences & Centers and locate your new writing community. Or build your own community from the ground up and employ Leslie Pietrzyk’s ideas for group writing prompts in “Prompt Writing: Not Just for Workshop” from AWP’s The Writer’s Notebook.
That’s all for our second email in the series. This time, we'll leave you with the incredibly pertinent advice of former AWP Board Member Susan Jackson Rodgers, director of the MFA program at Oregon State University and author of the novel This Must Be the Place and the story collections The Trouble with You Is and Ex-Boyfriend on Aisle 6:
Set specific goals for your writing. Mark them on a calendar and review your goals and deadlines regularly—once a week is ideal. And try to stay connected to at least one person from your program. Be a part of a writing group (or pair), whether online or face-to-face. Writing groups can be the traditional “read-and-critique” groups, or they can be “accountability” groups—people you check in with regularly about your work, your deadlines, your challenges, and successes. And when the well runs dry, read. Read, read, read. Books will always be your best teachers and source of inspiration. Reread the books that make you want to write, then write.

And a book recommendation: William H. Gass’s Finding a Form.
Keep an eye out for our next email in April! We will review advice on exploring potential career paths.

Warm wishes,
Your Membership Team