I thought I might put in a little about the packet - the monthly homework assignment that comes from our advisors at VCFA and pushes us on.
Before we left Vermont, we each met with our semester advisors and set up the contents of the first packet. Mine's due August 18, and needs to contain: 2-3 picture book manuscripts; a 10-book annotated bibliography; 2 critical essays on subjects that pertain to my own areas of weakness or curiosity; a letter to our advisor detailed what we've been working on and how it's going.
This work is in addition to anything else I might be working on - for example, I'm working on the first draft of a new middle grade novel, and any day now I'm expected my edits on Faithful.
There are lots of folks at VCFA with full-time jobs. They walk on water, as far as I'm concerned.
The thing I love about the packet/homework is that I do like deadlines. And the knowledge that someone who cares will be reading and commenting on my work. And that all of this effort will play into everything I do work on in the future. I find picture books hard to write, so being forced to write them will tighten my other writing.
I'm so happy to be part of this program.