Accomplishments and Gratitude

For those of you who’ve been following this blog for a little while, you know that I’ve been attending the Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) in order to get my MFA in writing for children and young adults. It’s an intense  program, and for the last two years I’ve been sending in monthly “packets”  which include creative writing, critical writing, and book annotations. It’s been a bit like running a literary marathon for two years.

It’s included lots of thinking, reading, writing, and diet coke.

This isn’t me.
But it’s what I’ve looked like for the past two years!

My diet coke addiction aside, I reached a big milestone this week. I sent in my 20th (and last) packet of the program!

I don’t graduate (officially) until January, (after I attend my last VCFA residency and give my graduate reading and lecture). But handing in my final packet is a big deal for me personally!

So thanks for letting me indulge in this small moment of accomplishment and gratitude.

Attending VCFA has been exhausting, but it’s also been glorious and invaluable. I’m astonished with how much I’ve been able to learn and achieve in two short years. In fact, I made a list of all the things I did in these two years to remind myself that all the blood, diet coke, lack of social life, and tears, was worth it!

In the last two years I read:

  • 263 picture books
  • 85 young adult novels
  • 24 middle grade novels
  • 11 adult novels
  • 15 craft books
  • 7 graphic novels
  • 6 early reader books
  • 30 critical thesis essays
  • 96 essays and articles
  • 21 non-fiction books
  • 3 short stories
  • 2 plays

In the last two years I wrote:

  • 330 pages of Novel #1 (with 91 pages revised and polished).
  • 100 pages of Novel #2 (with 40 pages revised and polished).
  • 17 pages of Novel #3.
  • 10 picture book manuscripts (revised 4 of them, and created partial picture-book dummies for 2 of them).
  • 1 critical thesis (40 pages)
  • 3 long essays (10-15 pages each)
  • 12 short essays (5-8 pages each)
  • 1 craft lecture script (20 pages, as well as a power point and handout).
  • 1 outline for a non-fiction book
  • Various word-plays, exercises, structure maps, collages, and book annotations (far too many to count).

Needless to say, I’m ready for that long winter’s nap!

I look forward to a slightly restful holiday season, and getting my diploma in January. (I also hope this means I’ll have more time to stay current with this blog.)

We just had Thanksgiving, and I hope we all took time to be thankful, but I want to encourage you all to take a moment to look around and see all that you’ve have already accomplished. Sometimes it feels like we’re all running to catch up, hoping to get published, to finish our 50,000 words, to get where we’re going. But take a moment to stop and look at everything you’ve already done.

I bet it’s pretty amazing.

9 thoughts on “Accomplishments and Gratitude

  1. Congratulations! I’m impressed at what you have achieved, and that you kept a running tally. VCFA seems like an incredible, life-changing program.

  2. SUPER FABULOSO! Congrats. It’s great seeing your lists because it reminds me that I did all that too. One year out and it’s hard to remember all that a VCFA grad accomplishes. Have a wonderful time at your Grad Rez. You’ll be great!

  3. Way to go…. Sounds like you tackled a mountain. I’m envious at all you’ve accomplished. Even I’ll do a yippy dance in your honor.. You rule!

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