Janessa Mulepati, ALM, Liberal Arts

Where will you be living next year, and what will you be doing?
Cambridge, MA – I completed two novels during my time in the Creative Writing and Literature program, and after much editing and review, am now querying those novels. It is a long road to publication, and one with plenty of rejection and no guarantees. Write, revise, and improve! And so, while agents read my current manuscripts, I’m writing the third novel.

Alongside writing, there is also the practicality of full-time employment, for I will continue working as a program manager. Even if my books are published, they might not pay the bills, which is a reality that many novelists face. My stance is this: I must approach my writing as a professional in both time and effort, because the goal is professional-level success, but a deep love for storytelling must always be the foundation. It helps that I intentionally hold a job outside my field of study, which saves word-smithing energy for creative projects.

What advice do you have for Harvard HES students, now that you have graduated?
If you are studying creative writing, you have an enormous opportunity to build working relationships with other writers. Pay attention during workshops and reach out to people. You might become lifelong beta readers in critiquing one another’s work.

In what ways has your Harvard Extension degree impacted your career?

My writing has improved enormously during my time in the program, and I emerged with several short-fiction publications and two novel manuscripts. I am at the querying stage for those novels, which is a step forward in my writing career.In terms of my day job, a degree shows an ability and desire for continued growth, and when you juggle that growth while holding down a full-time job, it creates an impression.
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