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Alumni Spotlight: Daniel Abbott
Current job title
Describe your current position
My debut novel, The Concrete was published in May, 2018 by Ig Books. I am currently on submission with several short stories and revising my second novel.
To what extent does writing relate to your current position? /
What type of writing/design do you do for work?
Since graduating from Grand Valley in 2012, I have been writing and publishing fiction. I was fortunate to land a few short stories at some smaller literary journals before my first novel became an all-consuming endeavor. I am currently working on publishing more short fiction as my second novel goes through its stages.
Please briefly describe your path from graduation at GVSU to
your current position.
I took a year off after graduation before attending the MFA program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. At VCFA I worked exclusively on The Concrete, finishing six drafts in two years and began querying literary agents shortly after earning my degree in the summer of 2015. I signed with an agent later that year and spent another eight months revising my novel with her. The Concrete was sold to Ig Books in July of 2017. Then began the promotion, the book tour, and the beginning of my transition from aspiring to working writer.
What parts of the writing major had the strongest impact on
you as a professional?
I came into the program as a nontraditional student with no formal writing experience.
The workshop component was huge for my development as a writer. I studied fiction with Caitlin Horrocks and creative nonfiction with Sean Prentiss. Caitlin and Sean are both talented, hard-working writers and teachers. They did a wonderful job helping me develop my voice. I also had some great classmates who also contributed to my development as a writer.
What advice would you offer to current/future writing majors
at Grand Valley?
Do not romanticize the craft of writing. It is work. Talent is fruitless unless you are willing to make sacrifices and deal with a ton of rejection. We all are our own brand of busy. Those that are actually publishing are setting an alarm clock or sticking to a rigorous routine of writing, revising, and repeating the process. Excuses are cheap in the publishing world. Sure, there is some luck involved, but the best approach to achieving publishing success and longevity is a strong work ethic.