Anjali gets schooled


I’ve been so unmotivated to write to completion lately. I write something half-assed, and never go back to revise it. Or, if I do, I never spend the time to get it to submittable quality.

I’ve needed some outside motivator to get my butt in gear.

A few days ago, I signed up for another writing critique. I’ve got 20 pages due January 3 to a local author, who will then critique and return my pages in February. I met with this author a year ago, and really liked him, so I know the critique will be well worth the money. Also, he didn’t hesitate to tell me that some of what I turned in was crap, which I also greatly appreciated.

Luckily, I’ve gotten the Christmas shopping done, and all I have left to do is address and mail out the cards. (Though I’m leaving this job to my husband this year.) Unfortunately, my writing un-inspiration has spread to the Christmas letter. Despite our wonderful year, I have absolutely nothing to say about it. Nothing. So instead of forcing my creative juices into witty anecdotes that not so subtly  brag about our family (let’s face it: we are awesome and perfect in every way — though it’s quite possible in ten years we’ll all be in intense therapy for one thing or another), I’m scrapping the Christmas letter this year to focus on my 20-pages.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been thinking about pursuing some classes in grant writing. Well, I went online last week to sign up for a class, and lo and behold, that same college is now offering a certificate in creative writing.

I’ve absolutely no desire to go back to school to get a real degree. Ever. The B.S. and the J.D are the only letters that will ever follow my name. For some time, I thought I’d might be interested in an M.F.A.. But many people with M.F.As get the degree because they want to teach writing. And I don’t. Also, I haven’t been able to find any evidence that people with an MFA degree (unless it’s from the Iowa Writers Workshop) are any more likely to get a book published than someone who just works hard on honing their craft and revises their manuscript 4,000 times.

But I find this certificate in creative writing intriguing because 1.) It’s not real school. There are no real grades.  2.) It’s a helluva lot cheaper. (A few hundred dollars per class, which I pay as I go.   3.) I can take one night class at a time, and have as much as two years to finish the 5-6 courses I need.   4.) I don’t have to commit to the program now. I can take a class or two, and decide later whether I want to even do the certificate.

So, I’ve signed up for a class in April. I’m hoping the accountability will keep me writing and revising.

There are some logistics to work out. My husband will likely not be home from work before I have to leave for the class. (I’ll have a 45-minute commute.) And there are some nights he might not be home at all. But I’m hoping our sitter can cover the gaps. But I’m motivated to do whatever it takes to get back my motivation. And it’s just an added bonus that I get to miss doing the bedtime routine one night a week!

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6 thoughts on “Anjali gets schooled

  1. Keep going, Anjali. Just keep going. So glad you have a writing coach. I just started a really small writing group. We’ll see how it goes. If you can get away for a few days, you could go to the AWP conference in Denver. Top notch presentations and publishers and agents galore. Plus, I’m going!

  2. Good for you! I started an MFA years ago, and honestly, I didn’t get a huge amount out of it. Though many of the writers in the program did get teaching jobs, none of them are bestselling authors or anything. They tend to teach you how to write Literature in those programs, not how to write best-selling novels.

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