Embarking on a Low-Residency MFA In Fiction

Here are a few lessons learned from my first MFA residency.


Paris, France | January 2023 | Photo by Author

I’m really excited to finally start my MFA in Fiction. This is something I’ve been chasing since 2017. It was, ironically, crushing depression from being rejected from PhDs one year and then MFAs the next that drove me to start my Instagram poetry account because I felt like I had nothing to lose. Those series of failures later led me to start blogging in 2018 as well.

My relationship with writing and creativity has improved a lot in the past six years, but I still feel those connected threads in my story. But let’s get into the residency itself; I’m doing NYU’s Writers Workshop in Paris. I was very skeptical going in, but it actually exceeded my expectations in a lot of ways.

Doing a residency is surprisingly tiring—caffeine is strongly recommended.

Much Needed Tea! | Photo by Author

This is true even for my workaholic New Yorker soul who hardly ever rests and averages 7 hours of sleep a night on a good week. I think part of it, for me, is because I want to get the most out of everything before we part and work independently for the bulk of the semester. I want to be fully present in the craft talks, the readings, and the workshops.

But I also want to network during the lunches, the wine and cheese hours (which are lovely), and get dinner with fellow writers. I’m also trying to get out and see Paris in the morning before the programming starts… which can be challenging when programming runs roughly from 10am to 7 or 8pm!

Craft talks have gems far beyond their primary topics.

Zadie Smith & Nick Laird Reading + Q&A | NYU Paris | Photo by Author

Having the chance to learn from successful authors is a blessing. I really wasn’t certain if a week and a half long intense residency could compete with an entire semester of traditional classes, but the things authors shared during craft talks…



Leigh Victoria Fisher, MS

Brooklyn-based writer and poet. Designer in NYC. Drinks books and loves coffee. Has an MS from NYU in Integrated Design & Media. Working on an MFA in Fiction.