Who are the most influential people in your writing life? I’m going to bet that most of us would name a teacher, and many would name a mentor in a MFA or other writing program. Since this is September, the official back-to-school month, we’ve had classrooms on our minds here at The Writer. That means we’re thinking about all the people who offer writing insights, give tips, use a red pen, ask us to go back and revise. And all the places – colleges, universities, night schools, community colleges, special programs – that support your work in process and progress.
The proliferation of MFA programs, writing workshops and classes points to the thriving nature of the field and the unflappable imperative to tell a story the best way possible. We hope that the education-themed stories spread throughout this issue offer our readers tips and inspiration for finding the right support for building a strong story and career through training programs at a variety of levels.
It’s true, too, that we hope our magazine provides another resource for writers to grow in their fervor and talent. The many voices you’ll encounter in this issue – Andrew Sean Greer, Jennifer Chen, Laura Brown, Ayelet Waldman, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Andrew Davies, Mary Higgins Clark – are in these pages because they believe in the act and art of writing. Each has someone who inspires his or her work, whether a teacher, spouse, sibling, editor, producer. Let’s all take a moment to appreciate the role others play in our success and thoughtfulness about the work we do. And let’s also celebrate the achievement of the first line that gets us started – a frequent topic in this magazine.
Stephen King, the master storyteller, says the first line of any work is crucial because it establishes voice and enlists the reader for the long haul. It provides the “come in here” impulse.
That’s what we’re always shooting for in these pages: an invitation to “come in here” to find your voice, to find your people and your inspiration. However you find your mojo, whoever gives you guidance and direction, we wish you well in your pursuits in the classroom, the workshop or where ever you write.