Tracey Rose Peyton has taken a less traditional path to become a writer. A career in film editing petered out as jobs disappeared during the digital upheavals of the mid-2000s. She fell into producing for ad agencies by accident, but the work has supported her ever since.
All the while, Tracey attended fiction writing workshops all over the country, but progress was slow and the way forward wasn’t always clear. “Because I didn’t go the MFA route and because I’ve done the DIY thing, it took me a long time to figure out how to make it work as a writer,” she says. “It’s a really different path.”
The classes and workshops continued, and with the encouragement of writer friends (including 2010 Saltonstall alumna Lisa Ko), Tracey began to submit more pieces to journals and to apply to residencies. She found new encouragement for her work. “Now I’ve figured out my voice,” she says. She’s spending her time at Saltonstall working on the second draft of what will be her first novel.
“Many people think of this model of 25 year-olds going through an MFA and ending up with published manuscripts. There’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s just one paradigm. There are so many other ways to be a writer,” she says. She quotes Lisa, who’s publishing her first book at 41. “Lisa calls herself a player of the long game,” she says. “And I see myself the same way.”