It’s been almost three months since my graduation from Seton Hill’s MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program. My graduate study at Seton Hill made up some of the best years of my life. I learned more about the craft, and pursuing a career in writing in two and a half years at SHU than the sum of my previous experience, and the friendships and professional network I made there will last the rest of my life. Graduation was bittersweet. On one hand, I had a very difficult accomplishment validated in my degree and thesis. On the other hand, I was leaving the place and program I’d come to think of as a second home. The completion of my most difficult task to date was just the beginning of an even harder journey with the road to professional publication.
I am still traveling that road, thankfully with the help of an amazing literary agent, but today I signed up for the In Your Write Mind workshop, hosted by the WPF Alumni, and held at Seton Hill concurrent with the WPF summer residency. That’s right. Three months out and I’m already eager to return. I have friends and colleagues graduating, mentors and teachers to catch up with, and like all writers, I have more to learn. Writing is a craft that is never mastered and constantly improved. One of the best things about writing workshops is that everyone, regardless of their place in their writing career, has more to learn and relationships to benefit from, and the workshops offer both.
While reuniting with friends and improving my craft are big motivators for returning to SHU, there’s a third element, harder to put into words but just as important. I’m addicted to it. The residency experience at SHU is hard to describe and impossible to replicate, but IYWM comes close with its heavy involvement with and proximity to the residency students and the option to stay in the dorms on campus (highly recommended) for the workshop weekend. There’s an energy and a comradery at Seton hill that recharges your creative batteries, bolsters motivation, and reaffirms the rightness of the decision to pursue the difficult craft of writing.
I need my fix, and one thing that’s certain is that I’ll continue to return to Seton Hill where it all began, year after year, no matter where the road to publication takes me.