When I think back to my first year in New York, what stands out are the Gotham workshops I took. Having never shared my writing before, I timidly entered my first classroom with all sorts of preconceived notions of how snobby NYC writers would be. What I found instead was a warm, welcoming group of like-minded people who were there to write.
Three classes later I had the courage to submit my short story "Sushi" for publication. That story was chosen as one of twenty winners in a contest for new young writers and published in the book Virgin Fiction 2. Since then I've gone on to publish two novels (Eliot's Banana and Luscious Lemon), a novella (The Happiest Day of Your Life), a fiction anthology (Before: Short Stories About Pregnancy), numerous short stories (two of which I workshopped through Gotham), personal essays, and nonfiction articles in national and regional publications.
I always thought I'd get around to finding an MFA program, but once I started seeing my work in print I never did, partly because those first Gotham classes gave me the confidence to share my work, taught me to give and receive constructive criticism, and provided me with my first group of writing pals-three things which have served me well in the grueling, rejection-filled world of publishing.