By Perpetual Murray
*** This post first appeared in The Tampa Review Online
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 jobs in academia as well as the publishing market, 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 gets 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, etc.
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 on. 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 her a relevant resource, especially for 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.
Most of all, 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?