Settling

Posted on 05 September 2013

I’m here at the MFA program and I don’t know where to begin. All I can say is that I’m not settled yet, where “settled” means able to write on a consistent basis. It’s a lot of change coming from many directions — good change, all of it — but we all know change is a bitch. Tonight more than ever I realized I need to work this out. I need to settle, to allow myself to write.

My teaching responsibilities are so much more time consuming than I expected. I’m adjusting to being away from home part time. The trains here are so much louder than I’m used to. I’m reading a lot, and making plans for future work, and even seeing our very own Sherry, who continues to be something of a hero to me with her 52/52 project, but I’m not really writing. Not yet, and not in the way I hoped.

I keep telling myself it will come. I keep reminding myself that I always set the bar too high, that my expectations are too often unrealistic. But this is the time in my writing life when I think a little pressure is good. It’s why I’m here. And I’m starting to think it’s time to stop reminding myself of that and just start doing it.

I’m too disconnected from you these days, too, but I hope that changes. So tell me, friends, what you’re up to. How you’re settled or how you’re not, what you’re working on, and what you think Sherry and I should do for our next adventure. Let’s make it a good one. Let’s make it count.

Photo: Voxphoto


11 responses to Settling

  • Sarah W says:

    I just bought a new computer–a tiny eeebox smaller than my laptop and a monitor almost too big for my desk—and since it’s Windows 8 and didn’t come pre-installed with any of the programs I need . . . there’s been a learning curve. A long, slow one.

    So I’ve taken to writing longhand in front of it and nudging the mouse every so often while it loads something. I’ve actually managed half a chapter this way . . .

  • Averil says:

    I got my galleys yesterday. Though not as exciting as finally seeing the finished product, it’s close.

  • Teri says:

    I’m going to share the best piece of advice I got in grad school. Advice I did not take, and still regret.

    My fiction writing teacher told our class: You are here to write your book. Nothing else matters. Nothing. You don’t have to be an awesome and beloved teacher; you don’t need straight A’s in your other required classes or on your academic papers; you don’t need to finish, or even read, every book you’re assigned; you don’t need to impress your peers or any of your professors, not even me. You just need to write your book.

  • Give yourself a few weeks to let the new stuff seem more normal and then buy some earplugs and write your fucking heart out.

  • Yes, Laura, I have LOTS of adventures planned. I have my list fully finalized now–and I am hoping you’ll join me on a couple of these.

    If nothing else, I hope you will fit me in for dinner and drinks again soon. Just a short break now and then–before you sit down for a night of writing. I’ll be your nagging writing coach. I can be a real bitch when I try.

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