Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Change for the Better


Earlier in the month, I made some goals. They did not seem especially lofty at the time but, as the month wears on, I am beginning to realize that I might have been aiming a little high. The two goals I'm thinking of right now are my plans to write and read for 30 minutes a day, each.

These goals don't sound very difficult, but the truth is that the way I currently live is not conducive to creative pursuits. This is the main reason that I'm planning to uproot my life in order to get an MFA in creative writing. A more driven, ambitious and disciplined writer would not need to take such drastic measures to get her writing done. Alas, it turns out I am not (yet!) that writer. The truth is that I'm mildly drive, slightly ambitious and disciplined only in starts and spurts. I fizz out quickly and lose momentum faster than you can pour a glass of wine and get sucked into three episodes of True Blood after a long day of boring, soul-crushing work at your full time job.

Here is the main problem, as I see it: I do my best writing and thinking from 8 in the morning until about noon. If I have those hours to myself, I can get so much work done - writing, revising, reading, and researching. My brain synapses are snapping! My creative juices are flowing! My fingers are flying across the keyboard and ideas and words are pouring out of me and on to the screen! It's magical and I love it and I can't think of a time when I feel more alive.

Do you know what I'm usually doing from 8 in the morning until noon? Sitting at my desk, in a small office, in a tall building, in the middle of a university, in the heart of East Texas. I am doing work for other people instead of work for myself. I am wasting the best part of my day in pursuit of someone else's goals. This is not my strategic plan. This is not where I want to be in five years.

Which is convenient, because in less than a month I will no longer be at this desk. In less than two months, I will be in a classroom, writing stories and talking about literature and getting to know a cohort of other writers who are just as crazy as I am. An MFA? In creative writing? Really? Okay. In two months, my life will be so completely different from it's current version. My classes will be in the afternoons and evenings. My mornings will be mine. I will be living near the ocean and running on the coast and spending my time - 8 in the morning until about noon, specifically - writing, revising, reading and researching. The truth is I am driven, ambitious and dedicated, if not completely disciplined, when it comes to writing. My current life is not conducive to creative pursuits, and so I am changing my life.

Thus, my revised June goals: finish drafts of two new short stories (one is done; the other I started this morning) and finish reading White Teeth. These thing should be manageable, no matter what my life currently looks like.