Fantastic Essay by Michael Schmeltzer at Relief

Michael graduated from my MFA program with me and since graduating, we've both been working on balance of work, writing, living, family, etc.

As alums from Pacific Lutheran University's Rainier Writing Workshop (RWW), we've been writing essays for our own MFA newsletter Soundings, to help the upcoming graduates with life after grad school.

Here's a snippet from Michael's essay--

4. So How Do You Juggle Life?

Despite the failures, despite the failures, despite the failures…

I didn’t juggle life after graduation. I let the balls drop, too overwhelmed to lift my arms. I left my job, ignored my friends, neglected my role as husband. The only thing I did was write.

I don’t recommend this. Some things remain irretrievable to this day.

John Berryman once said, “The artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him. At that point, he’s in business.” I never felt lucky, but in retrospect I think he has a point. It would be wise to mention not all business is good business, though.

Writing itself requires sacrifice. All of us cut open our veins to the page, kill our darlings, etc. We spend time and money honing our skills, developing our craft.

But the writing life…that requires a different set of sacrifices...


It's a wonderfully honest and thoughtful essay.

You can read the whole essay here: The MFA Owner’s Manual: Juggling Life After RWW by Michael Schmeltzer