The Writer's Life, Post Graduation
After you leave Warren Wilson College, your experience with writing will be very different. There will not be professors demanding you hand in work to them on a deadline. You will not have a dozen classmates who will sit down and read your pieces in order to provide serious critique. Instead, you may have to recreate the systems of practice and support you have now on your own. Here are some ideas on how to do that:
- Know your window. Generally, writers have a period of the day where they are most productive. Often, this is in the early morning or late at night, though everybody is different. Windows may also be subject to change; night owls may eventually become early birds. You might already know it, but find out when your window is, and write then, not at other times.
- Make time (and space) for your writing. Following from the above point, once you know your window, make sure it's free to write in! Only a small fraction of writers earn enough money to write professionally, and very few of those were successful straight out of college. You're going to have to work to support your writing, but try and find employment that doesn't interfere with your writing, both in terms of occupying your window or hurting the quality of your pieces. Freelance writing might be an option, but so might be bartending or waiting tables.
- Create a rhythm. Once you've established when your window is and made time and space for it, write in it! For that time, Monday through Friday (at least), writing is your job. So don't get fired from it for not showing up to work.
- Organize or find a writer's group. Try to find a way to have regular meetings and exchanges of work. With e-mail and other modern media, it is possible to do this even if group members are on opposite sides of the globe.
- Attend readings. Look into your local writing scene and attend readings to get inspired and keep producing work.
- Read literary journals. Read the journals you're looking at being published in, not just to get an idea of what they like, but also to discover what other writers are doing.
- In Asheville? Attend free MFA lectures and readings. The Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers has free lectures on craft in the mornings and readings by faculty and students in the evenings during the twice-yearly residencies. Hear the work of new and established writers from around the country.
There are also more formal ways of pursuing writing after graduating, such as finding a career in writing or writing-heavy field, attending a graduate degree program, or writing conferences and residencies. Here are some resources you may find useful:
- WWC Career Services Check out Career Services to get advice about pursuing writing as profession, such as technical or copy writing.
- AWP Guide to Graduate Programs The AWP has a highly searchable database of MA, MFA, and PhD programs in Creative Writing at institutions around the country (and some international ones, as well). It includes information about credits, requirements, and faculty at each program. A great place to get started.
- Poets & Writers Magazine's Conferences and Residencies Guide Poets & Writers maintains a searchable database for Conferences and Residencies you may attend from around the country.