After three years, I am a master of the fine art of creative writing. According to George Mason University, anyway. Anyone can proclaim to be a writer, sure, but self-proclaimed masters are usually full of it. I proclaim nothing myself.
Anyway, as I take stock, reflect, and prepare for the transition into a new phase of my life, I thought I’d take a minute to update the blog a little. Three years ago, I essentially vanished to go find more time to write and otherwise grow as a writer. Today, I look back on those three years and realize I found a mixture of things I expected and things I didn’t. I went into the program with the goal of coming out with a finished novel. That didn’t happen. I have a decent start on one, but progress has been slow on that front. I also had the goal of coming out of the program with enough short stories for a collection. That didn’t happen either. I have several I’m extremely proud of, two of which were published last summer. However, the last three years of my writing life have been about quality over quantity.
As part of the MFA deal, I had to teach, and while I was excited by the prospect, it did sap a lot of time and energy, because I actually did care about my students. As an educator, I grew a lot and hope to put that experience to use in the future, though the economies and realities of teaching make that prospect a difficult one.
Right now, I don’t know what the future holds. You get that question a lot when you’re in an MFA program. “What do you plan to do after?” I never knew, to be honest. I knew I wanted to make the most of the time I had in the program, and I didn’t want to lose any of it to worrying about what came next. Now, next is coming for me, and I haven’t got the foggiest what form it’s going to take.
One thing is for sure: I want to prioritize my writing. Before I went into the MFA program, I found my increasing professional responsibilities oppressive to my creativity, and writing became more of a burden. Entering the MFA program was a way to shake up my life and focus on writing at the same time. Now, we’ll see if it worked.
Stay tuned for more. I’m attempting liftoff here, and I’ll either reach escape velocity or crash spectacularly.