In our Writing Lessons series, writers and writing students will discuss lessons learned, epiphanies about craft, and the challenges of studying writing. This week, we hear from Emily Maloney, a student in the MFA program at the University of Pittsburgh. You can follow her on Twitter @emilyfmaloney. —Andrew Ladd, Blog Editor
I registered for my final required workshop last fall. Up until that point, I had mixed feelings about my MFA program. I felt disconnected. I loved teaching but it took so much energy, and I never seemed to have time to write. Enter final required workshop.
There were six of us (seven if you count the professor), including one student from another discipline altogether. I hadn’t been the best about writing regularly. I prided myself as someone who wrote when I had deadlines. Have to turn in an essay for workshop? Fine, I’ll write something and send it in. Need to submit something for a contest? Maybe I’ll revise that thing I wrote last year. I had something of a routine before graduate school, mostly structured by my job and my commute, but the acres of free time I had accumulated since leaving made me procrastinate.
The official class met once a week, like many workshops do. But what our professor suggested we do before we did anything else, seven days a week, was show up to a coffeehouse close to where most of us lived. Starting at 6:30 a.m., you could show up and write. If you missed a day, that was fine. It was like a yoga class, or a dojo (our professor used to teach Judo, so this analogy made sense). Continue reading