Sunday, February 7, 2010

Change of Priorities

Isn't it amazing how three short weeks can change someone's perspective? Last month, I was all about getting published: who to talk to about my novel, where to send my manuscript, and how to make it happen.

This month, I've accepted reality: my manuscript is far from being ready for publication. Truthfully, there were some days when I wanted to chuck my manuscript into the garbage and abandon my dream of writing. It's taken some time, but I've realized that I need to change my priorities.

Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life sums this idea up quite well: "I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do--the actual act of writing--turns out to be the best part ... The act of writing turns out to be its own reward."

It's time for me to take a step backwards and start working on becoming a better writing. To do this, I am going to apply to the low residency MFA program at Vermont College, an idea that terrifies me completely. Not only do I have to battle my self-doubt about whether or not I'll even get accepted, but the two-year commitment of 25 hours a week is overwhelming. But as my good friend Andria reminded me, I was able to write 50,000 words in one month during NaNoWriMo. If I found the time to do that, I certainly can devote the necessary time in the MFA program, especially because I really do want to become a better writer.

In the meantime, I'm going to do the one activity that truly makes someone a better writer: WRITE!

1 comment:

Andria said...


I love the quote from Lamott. Wouldn't it be awesome if we were able to get our students to believe that writing for writing's sake is worthwhile?