I sit at my desk, iPod on the never ending shuffle and try to decide what to write for this DIY MFA prompt. How do I honor my reality when I am still trying to find it? How do I write a post like this without sounding like a whiney teenager? (#Firstworldproblems)
How do I honor my reality when I'm still trying to find out what my reality is?
Two weeks ago I was a receptionist, a psychometrist, a consultant, a student, a mother, a wife, an artist, and a writer. I am still most of those things but I had to let something go. I went to my boss telling her we needed to replace me. The front desk needed someone who could be there more than 10 hours a week. It wasn’t fair to the office and it would free me some time to study and make sure I kept my gpa up for my final year.
Well Monday that day came and I cleaned out my desk. I am no longer a receptionist and if every thing goes as planned that is a role I won’t fall back into again. For 11 years of my life I have worked in medical offices. I got to know the patients, listen to their stories, and help them how ever I could. I don’t do that any longer.
Admittedly, this was my choice. I can study in the mornings before classes, I have time to write while the kids are at school. I can spend my senior year keeping up and not forgetting what my friends and family look like. I can keep my grades up and get into a good master’s program. Being a therapist will allow me to help people in ways I couldn’t as a receptionist.
So why the hell am I so sad? I chose this, I wanted this, and this is 100% the path I am passionate about. Being a therapist is the road I have been on all my life. Just like telling stories has always been a part of me. Now that I have the opportunity to do the 2 things I love the most, shouldn’t I be ecstatic? Shouldn’t I be over the moon and typing my heart and soul into the story I’ve been playing with?
For now, I can not honor my reality. I have to forge a new one again.
I found the DIY MFA website a few weeks ago and have been loving digging around in there. When the email came out about a Book Club with writing prompts hit my inbox I was fascinated. Hesitant to add more to my schedule but fascinated all the same. I decided to bite the bullet and sign up. Beside, who cares if I get behind as long as I enjoy it and learn something along the way. So without further ado, prompt 1:
My Writing Origin Story
I have always been a writer. Even as a child I had a vivid imagination. I would day dream and play pretend all day. I remember being obsessed with Davy Crocket and taking my cousin on many adventures through the wild frontier. I have little books I wrote in elementary school and various poems published from high school. I have had many attempts at a blog. None were successful but they all have brought me experience and happiness.
Writing a book was not something I ever really gave much thought to. I love writing poems and making up stories in my head. But to write a book seems so big. Yet it hit all of a sudden and I knew it was something I have to do. Just the act of preparing for that book has brought me joy. The jotting down of notes, the planning of characters and the creating of worlds. Even if my book never goes beyond my computer I am a writer.
I like books. I like to read them, hold them, and smell them. I also like to read them on my Kindle (I know, that’s sacrilege to book readers sorry guys) I like throwing 200+ books in my bag and heading out the door. Fiction, Non-Fiction, Fan-Fiction, Science Fiction, Self-Help, Cereal Boxes. My requirement appears to be words. I have way too many books to read at the moment yet thanks to BookBub I continue to grab more. My mother and my aunt tell me life is too short for bad books. I still maintain I have found less than a handful of truly bad books. I’ve seen bad writing, I’ve seen dumb plots, and I’ve seen books who should have been edited by someone older than a toddler before being released. Even still, those books were rarely so bad I couldn’t finish them and find something to enjoy.
I like reading on my Kindle. I like throwing 200+ books in my bag & heading out the door.
And now, despite all the things I should be doing, I find myself playing around online. (Twitter and Pinterest killed my focus). I discovered Wattpad today. What is that about? Will it connect me to readers or will it connect me with more things to read? Is it wrong that I consider either a win? It could turn into yet another time suck much like Pinterest and Twitter but it’s a risk I will take.
My friends and I have the worst book club ever (we barely remember to use it) on Facebook but I am doing a challenge where I read 26 different books this year. That’s kind of a joke since I have read well over 50 already but these are specific books. I think I may do something fancy and do a review of at least a few of them on the blog just so that I am not reading them for no real reason. I also started working on a bullet journal for my writing. We will see how well that works out. At least I will have important things altogether if nothing else.
Now I will leave you to go check out WattPad and spend time in my cold medicine induced stupor.
I didn’t make my Camp NaNoWriMo Month goal but I did pretty well if I do say so myself. I am now playing with the idea of making the story a novella instead of a full-length novel. I have ideas but I just don’t feel like Inara and Mark have a novel in them yet. Time will tell.
I have joined a few writing groups lately. Hopefully, that will give me some writing friends and some accountability to make things move a little faster. Life is crazy but writing is one of my end goals so I just have to figure out how to make it work. I gots this!
One of my groups has an accountability spreadsheet that we should fill out daily. I’m more concerned about remembering to do that than actually writing. I’ve committed to 20 hours this month. That’s a little less than an hour a day. I should be able to do that on my lunch break or even in chunks during the weekend. I just have to remember, writing is like yoga for my mind. I have never left a yoga class regretting how I feel when I leave and I have never sat down to write and regretted having written. In fact, both activities make me feel better.
Writing is like yoga for my mind, I have never regretted doing either. I always feel better when I'm done.
In one of my other groups, there was an entire thread about getting new notebooks. Yall, I’ve found my people. Like the picture says, happiness is a blank notebook. The possibilities are endless there. Those blank pages can become anything, all I need is a good pen and some good music. Soon words fill the pages and no matter if it’s just a grocery list, those words, once written, become real.
This month may be a scheduling nightmare, I may spend the next year running in a thousand directions but I want to have a story finished by Christmas. I want to be working on the final draft come new years so that I can begin with the next story because I am loving the world I have made up inside my head and I can’t wait to share it with everyone. Finding these groups may be the life saver I need when things get overwhelming and I want to curl up and read a good book. They offer a link to encouragement, friendship, ideas, and advice. All invaluable in their own way.
I love starting things. The ideas flying out of my head like little fireflies. I love the planning and the setup. I love it all. I have so many things swirling around in my mind, it’s nice to come up with some wild idea and run with it for a while.
I have always wanted to be a writer.
So, I did what I always do, I dove right in and got my feet wet. I signed up for National Novel Writing Month. At a terrible time, I should add, I’m a full-time student, mother, and worker too. I signed up again, this time for Camp NaNoWriMo. During that first camp, this summer I put together most of a rough draft of a horrible book. I lost its plot and got overwhelmed in building my world. So, I put it aside to stew.
I wrote a second rough draft, better than the first but still a mess. I signed up for the July Camp NaNoWriMo, chose a pen name, created a website and Facebook Page. I wrote a short story that I want to figure out how to tie into my book and make it part of that world. I’m trying to write another short story but it’s not working. It may have to stew as well.
All this to say, I dove in and now I’m here and I’m learning. The process will be slow and more than a little painful. I will want to give up. I may even try to do so. But I will be back because, at the end of the day, I am a writer.