Crying at journalists, meeting literary agents, having mini breakdowns and hating Cloud Atlas: how I spent my first year as a master's student.

17:34 Sophie Flynn 1 Comments

So, I have finally finished the first year of my part-time MA, in Creative Writing yay! It’s been a tricky year, but a pretty good one. There’s been a lot of ups and downs, here’s a roundup of the most memorable:

The Best:


1. Meeting Catherine Chanter
I've met so many brilliant authors this year but Catherine Chanter, author of ''The Well' and Brookes graduate, was definitely my favourite. Not only was she full of useful writing tips, but she was totally down to earth and made me have hopes for the future that ‘normal’ people who have to hold down a job and a life outside of writing can make it too. Thanks Catherine!

2. Writing the first two chapters of my book
I now have 9,000 words that have been meticulously written, re-written and written again, so woo. Only around 81,000 to go.

3. Getting engaged
Okay, this isn’t MA related, but it’s been a highlight of a year that I thought I could have nothing happen to me outside of writing. So, in next academic year, I will be planning a wedding and getting married before graduation. Watch out for my 2018 breakdown!

      4. Meeting Literary Agent, Carrie Plitt
Not only was it fascinating to hear the inner workings of a literary agency, but she filled me with hope when she encouraged us to submit our work to her and casually chucked in that as Oxford Brookes MA students, we were already at an advantage to get published. She also told a fabulous story involving toast.


5. Writing for a living
In my ‘worst’ list, you will see reference to my stressful job. Well, I got a new one this year too. Instead of listening to a boss who told me, "you have to stay here because no one else will let you work flexibly enough to do an MA", I went and found somewhere that not only lets me work flexibly enough to do my MA and anything else I want to, but actually pays me to spend about 80% of my working life writing. And I love it.


6. Being awarded a place at Swanwick Writers’ Summers school
I’m so excited to have been given a place on the TopWrite scheme to attend Swanwick this year; this is in large part thanks to a lovely reference from one of my lecturers. I would have never had the confidence to apply for anything like this before doing my MA and I will now be spending six days in August doing nothing but writing and learning from some of my favourite authors. I’m going to try hard not to fangirl too hard over Sophie Hannah...


The Worst:


1. Crying my eyes out to renowned journalist, Nick Cohen
The shame. Half-way through my first term, I had a slight ‘flap’ as I will call it after my first feedback came back absolutely terrible, my full-time job nearly killed me from stress and I just wanted to give up. Unfortunately, when the rather prestigious journalist Nick Cohen came in to give us a lecture, everything came to a head and I ended up sobbing at him on the stairs. The poor man looked terrified. Sorry Nick, I’m all better now!

2. Spending hours of my life sat in traffic in Oxford
So many hours have been wasted this way and trying to park before 4:30 is even more fun. Traffic-related breakdowns have been a-plenty this year. Next year, I have to the park and ride as I can't park on campus. If there's one thing I hate more than traffic, it's buses.

3. Referencing
Do I even need to explain this one?

4. Reading Cloud Atlas
I really hated this book but it also encompasses a lot of feelings I have had over this academic year about all the things I missed out on whilst reading or writing for my MA. Which brings me on to...

5. Missing best friends’ engagements
Two of my best friends got engaged, at the top of a mountain, at the same time, to their lovely partners, surrounded by all of our other friends. I was at home, reading my least favourite book (see above) and stressing out over all of the work I had yet to do for that term. Sadly, I missed out on a lot of really big social occasions this year, but least it gave me a topic for my blog...

And now, term has finally ended, first year is over, and I’ve had my marks back (which were slightly better than last term woo!). Whilst I can hardly say ‘summer is here’ as I am not an actual student so will still be working 5 days a week until term starts again... it’s nice to have a little break before we get back into the hectic world of non-stop writing and reading again and know that if I survived one hectic, crazy year, I can survive the next.

1 comment :

  1. Poor Nick Cohen!!!!! Very very proud of you missy......it's been a slog but it will be worth it xx

    ReplyDelete