Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gotham Writers' Workshop

I'm back at Gotham (ooh, that makes me sound Batman-ly). Gotham Writers' Workshop is an online and real life (in New York City) writing school. I discovered it soon after being bitten by the writing bug and it has shaved years, perhaps centuries, off my learning curve.

The curriculum is taught by writers. Ten weeks. No grades. Perfect-for-me!

We read a lot, we critique each other's work, and the instructor gives us stand up criticism or praise as they deem necessary. I actually have to work hard to get good responses, but they are EARNED, and that counts for much in my book.

I've learned more in that environment than anywhere else. It's made me think that maybe what I want to do when I grow up is be a writer. I'm lucky to be at a place in life where I can pursue this idea. I also feel it is leading me to get an MFA (Master's in Fine Arts - Creative Writing).

Do I think that everyone needs to take this path? Not at all. Do I think I could be a good writer without one? Yes, I think I could be. So, why the degree?

I have this delusion that someone will be helped by my disclosure and decision making, so humor me.

First, my father, a great influence on me and a very smart person, always said that he didn't care if I got degrees, he just wanted me to be well-educated. I took that to heart and have been in school for most of my adult life. I'm just now finishing my Bachelor's degree, but I have some 210 quarter units under my belt (most degrees are equal to 120 or so). There. Well-educated.

In the writing department, I want to write Literary Fiction. The heavy stuff. The stuff of complex constructs, and intelligent discourse on the trials of humanity, you know - life. I think the way to learn this particular type of writing is best done through a master's program at a university. I think I could learn it on my own, given enough time, but I started this whole thing with about half my life (I hope) behind me, a full-time job and a family. School will shave years off the learning curve again.

I think anyone can benefit from more education. It's one of those things you can never have enough of. I haven't yet applied to any MFA programs, and maybe I'll change my mind over the next few years, but for now, Gotham is filling my need for intense learning and growth. Thanks, Gotham.


Jo Taylor

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