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I realised the other day that it’s a year ago that I was applying for creative writing MAs, before being accepted on and choosing the one at Birkbeck.

Well that went fast.

2021 feels like it’s being disappearing even faster than 2020 did, which is strange. Or maybe not. The pandemic is far from over, of course, many things are still up in the air, and it could all change again in an instant.

But I’ve been lax in reporting on what’s been going on with the course . The summer term was all an optional lecture series, which largely consisted of members of staff interviewing writers, along with one or two pieces about the craft of writing. One on the structure of the novel, and one a session with some agents.

That last one probably had the most practical value — at least potentially — but they were all interesting.

Other than that, My dissertation is due in a month. Actually now just under four weeks. It consists of 15,000 words of creative writing (plus or minus 10%, so up to 16,500), plus a 3000-word preface (also plus or minus 10%). I have 23,000 words, of which I can’t use the first five or six thousand, because I already submitted them for an earlier assessment. So there’s plenty to work with.

It feels a little odd to have paused the forward flow — I intend this to be a novel, after all — to work on editing what I have so far. But it ought to be worthwhile for the novel, as well as being necessary for my dissertation. This period of working over what I’ve already done should give me a firmer base on which to build the rest.

I think I miss classes. I only had two a week for the first two terms, and a slightly more erratic schedule averaging to one a week for the third, but they provided structure, as well as a feeling of connection with others on the course. So I’m looking forward to an informal workshop session some of us have arranged for this week.

But beyond that, the future. What’s next?

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