I wanted to let you know that I recently sold my first novel, Skin and Bones, to Random House and am very grateful to Gotham for all of the support and direction I've gotten for my work. I workshopped two drafts of Skin and Bones in Advanced Novel Writing with Masha Hamilton and not only got great feedback and advice but learned the art of listening to feedback.
In addition to working with teachers who provide practical, real-world advice, I have to say that one of the best things a writer can get from the Gotham model is to learn to listen to what people are saying about your writing and to be open to change. This skill came in handy during the process of selling my novel when I was asked to participate in a conference call with my prospective editors and listen to their feedback.
Before the call I put myself into the same state of mind needed when your work is up for review in class. During the call, I took notes, responded to questions, and stayed open to their suggestions as I was impressed by how carefully they read my manuscript. I used the same approach when reading my rejections. Instead of thinking of them as negative, I was impressed by the time many editors took to give specific comments. As I work on a rewrite, I am incorporating some of their suggestions as well.
While writing is a solitary act, the process of editing and shaping the story is infinitely better served with the feedback and perspective of peers and committed readers. Gotham opened me up to that and for that I will always be appreciative.
I have and continue to recommend Gotham to writers of all stages. The quality of teacher and approach to writing is unmatched.