personal · Uncategorized

#MondayBlogs: Writing, Focus, and the MFA

The main theme of my blog, pre and post move, feels like it’s been about me not finding my place. I don’t feel like I belong to any one group of people. I’m a writer, but of fiction and of personal essays/thinkpieces. I’m a querying author, but I’m also an acquisitions editor. I’m going to be self-published in less than a month but I also want to follow a traditional path. I’m standing at the center of a circle looking out at all of the spokes of what makes up who I am, wondering where to go from here.

The thing is, I know where I want to go.

During one of the AWP panels, Kima Jones talked about how she wasn’t getting her MFA for any one reason other than it was really forcing her to make time to write. It’s so easy when you work in publishing to push your own writing aside. I could be working on my own project, or I could get ahead on someone else’s. I could edit my own book, but I have clients waiting to hear back about theirs. It’s an argument I have with myself on a daily basis and an argument that, frankly, ends with the client always winning. Always.

So I’m following Kima’s lead. Or, I followed. I applied to a writing program I’ve been dying for years to get into, and I got in.

I got into Goddard College. 

I never thought I’d be saying those words.

The thing is, part of the reason I never finished applying was because of imposter syndrome. I never thought I would be good enough – my writing strong enough, my personal essay polished enough – to get into Goddard’s program. I never thought that I’d be selected to be part of a program that expects you to write a full manuscript in order to graduate. A program that both expects and nurtures greatness.

My ultimate goal from turning my attention away from a professional writing program (in which I felt I was wasting my time and money) to a program focused completely on creative writing is because I want to focus on my writing. I want to become a better writer and I want to force myself to make that time to write. For me, getting my MFA from Goddard isn’t going to be about how marketable this degree is for future employers or for agents or publishers. We all know that, at the end of the day, working with agents and publishers is all about the writing, anyway. But if my time at Goddard can help me become a better writer, it’ll be worth every penny. It’ll be worth every hour spent reading, writing, editing, and researching. It’ll be worth every hour spent during my residencies in Port Townsend.

And with Goddard, the thing is, I’m not out to prove anything to anyone but myself. I want to prove to myself that graduate school is going to be worth it, than I can improve my writing, that I can find a community to belong to. I want to prove to myself that my ideas for books go beyond what I’ve written in Lake Effect and Without Benefits. I want to prove that, while I feel like my current situation feels debilitating, it’s not.

So I’m going to go to Port Townsend and I’m going to write. I’m going to spend my semesters reading and writing. I’m going to write a publishable manuscript over the next two years and I’m going to grow.

I’m finally, finally, going to be doing what I want to do in terms of school. I’m not going to be working around a desk job that I hate and I didn’t talk myself out of applying. I went for it. I made it in.

I am good enough.

 

 

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