The Practicing Writer

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There exists an expansive array of online resources for MFA students and practicing writers, and one that I find beneficial is Erika Dreifus’ daily dose of e-mail updates of The Practicing Writer.

Each morning, I awaken to an inbox of Monday Markets/Jobs/Opportunities, which feature available jobs in academia, as well as the publishing market. Here, too, are internships, fellowships, contests, deadlines and more. On Tuesdays, I’m treated to a Quotation of the Week, not only by long-gone or famed authors, but also by emerging and new writers. Wednesdays send me on The Wednesday Web Browser, where I hear about or catch up on all the buzz in the writing world, while Thursday’s Work-in-Progress brings me up-to-speed on what Erika is working on, which usually involves a much-coveted freelancing gig, speaking or writing engagement at a festival or school. Finally, Friday Finds features treasures for practicing writers, such as Twitter tips and other advice.

Whereas most writers’ resources focus on a single or few aspects of a writer’s life, say prompts or contests, Erika encompasses it all. Not only does she send out these daily e-mail updates, she also produces a comprehensive monthly newsletter.

I stumbled upon Erika while researching MFA programs, i.e., the benefits, renowned schools, and so forth. Of all the places I visited, I found her website most informative. Not only did she discuss what one can expect during and after an MFA, she also listed various scholarship, fellowship and funding sources, which I could not find elsewhere.

What makes Erika a relevant resource, especially to UT MFA students, is that she is a graduate of an inaugural MFA program; she understands what it is like to be part of a new writing program with new cohorts.

Most important, she is a practicing writer. Not only is she a resource maven extraordinaire, she is an author, teacher, reader, reviewer and freelance writer. Isn’t this every MFA student’s dream portfolio?

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