Laurie Blanton is a technical writer, business analyst and project manager in the software industry, but her true passion is fiction writing. Through the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Writing, Blanton is gaining new tools and structure to finesse her psychological fiction novels—many of which are lying about in various states of completion.
Prior to coming to Extension, were you writing for fun or did you always want to be a professional writer?
I've always wanted to be a professional writer, but I had that feeling of, "It's such a long shot to get published." In August 2013, I took Laurie Ann Doyle's "From Twain to Litquake" course; it was a nice way to dip my toe in. I'm also new to San Francisco, and that class was a great way to find out about the area's literary tradition.
I may apply for an M.F.A. program, and the certificate has given me a solid foundation to do so.
How do you feel about focusing solely on your writing?
Getting the feedback from the instructors—that moment when you've put your heart into something, and other people are reading it and giving you positive feedback—that encouragement tells you to keep going. I'm enjoying interacting with the instructors, learning the craft, workshopping pieces, and sharing stories in the open environment with the teachers and students. It's been a liberating and pleasurable experience.
How have the courses shaped you as a writer?
I'm gaining more knowledge and getting closer to being the writer I want to be. I have 40 short stories that I'm constantly revising as I learn more in class and then submitting to literary journals. I performed at Litquake and at Book Passage, and I'll be reading at Book Passage again. I may apply for an M.F.A. program, and the certificate has given me a solid foundation to do so.