An Army of Specialists

I’m not sure what I expected my late twenties to look like, but I don’t think this would’ve been it. Ten years ago I was going to be a Communications major and get into journalism–or something. I knew that Communications was a marketable degree, which meant I had a good chance at getting a job out of college. I was supposed to graduate with my B.A. in 2011. After that, my options were limitless. I could get into politics, I could stay local, I could move away. At 17, I really believed that the world was my oyster (and every other cliche in the book). But that’s what my high shool inspired me to believe. That we, women, could do anything we wanted because we had four years of rigorous college prep to back it up.

But college didn’t go as planned. I got married before I even graduated. I ended up getting a degree in Creative Writing even though I hadn’t convinced myself that I’d end up using it. The B.A. was meant to be a stepping stone to the MFA, where I’d zip through and get a degree that would get me a job on the university level.

Fast-forward to today. I still don’t have my MFA, but I’m close. I’m a Publishing Director at an amazing small press. I’m a freelance editor. I’m a (published) freelance writing and a published author.

It’s the fact that I haven’t finished my MFA that’s bothering me. The fact that I’m currently on a break from school that has made me second guess every accomplishment. I had a

I had a six-week follow-up with my neurologist today. We made appointments for physical therapy and cognitive remediation therapy. So in a matter of fifteen minutes, the amount of specialists I was working with doubled. It’s a slow process that may take even longer now–two years, instead of one–even with the added therapy. Progress is going to be made. I just need to have patience.

It’s like me with horseback riding and learning dressage. I’m retraining my body, the way I think, the way I move, so I can be mentally and physically strong. So I can control a 1200 lb animal. So I can not fall off again. But I can’t be down on myself when I have a bad lesson and I can’t expect to be the same rider I was a few years ago. That doesn’t mean that I’m a worse rider, or that I’m back to square one. It just means things are different now.

At this point, I don’t know if finishing my MFA is going to be possible. But that doesn’t mean I can’t keep learning, growing–becoming a better writer and editor. I just need to find specialists to help me in the areas that I’m weak in. Specialists who I can reach out to when I start going down the wrong path, or who can help me with specific problems with my writing. Weak secondary characters, for example. Or creating deeper scenes and character conflict. With editing, it’s learning more about all of the genres (which means reading more widely) and staying on top of industry standards and market trends.

In the meantime, I’m writing everything down. I’m updating my to-do list every week. I’m sending out e-mails when I can’t make deadlines and setting realistic deadlines for myself with new clients. I’m taking notes as I read through manuscripts and doing multiple read-throughs. I’m taking my time. I’m learning to be patient with myself so I can be one of many specialists for my clients.

But none of this is going to be easy.

 

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