Monday, January 7, 2008

I'm scared shitless sometimes.

Ah, being back after three weeks is... hard. Luckily, workload is light right now. Which gives me plenty of time to fret over all the other things I need to do.

I like making lists, so here's a list of to-do's for the next month:

1. Finish Sarah Lawrence app
2. Go over remaining SDSU and Brooklyn apps one last time before sending out
3. Rewrite Ch. 5 and do Ch. 6 for class
4. Rewrite Ch. 1 and 2
5. Do that research for my friend

I'm really second-guessing myself these days. Now that most of the apps are out, I find myself thinking what exactly I'm going to do if I don't get into school. I mean, before, I said I'd just quit anyway and just try my hand for a year anyway. But after going home for the past few weeks, I'm not sure about it. My parents are pretty accepting of me wanting to go get my MFA (though my dad keeps asking what I'm going to do with my degree. Like what job options are out there. I don't think he gets that really, it's an investment in myself, and there really isn't much in the way of job options), but I don't think they'd feel the same about me just quitting altogether and trying my luck at toiling everyday in some coffee shop. No matter how accomodating they try to be, until they see results (in the form of a published book and a paycheck), I don't think they'd accept it as a real job.

That's the other thing too, right? I'm a really risk-averse person, and when I think of myself being supported by nothing, my independence makes me weak. I'd never thought I'd say this, but there's that part of me that wishes I had a sugar daddy to support me because I'm sort of afraid to blow all of my savings in one year of reaching for a pipedream. How good of a writer am I really? I'm unsure of myself, really unsure. Is it good enough for me to give up a steady income, health benefits, 401(k), etc? I like to think of myself as independent, but does making the choice to become a writer mean I have to be dependent on a spouse's income to raise a family? Will we have enough? I'm not quite sure if I'm making the practical choices here. I typed "right" at first, but well, the "right" choice for me is clearly trying to become a writer. But is it practical? I'm not sure.

You know what the MFA really is? Delaying that choice. If I get into a program, even though I'm putting myself in financial debt, it buys me time. Two to three years of time. Because even if ultimately I decide to go back into PR after those years, I can tell them I went to school. A gap of NOTHING on a resume doesn't work nearly as well. "Working on my novel" doesn't sound acceptable to the corporate world. See? This is what happens when you graduate from an Ivy college and you've been groomed to be a corporate monkey. I can't get my head out of it.

Speaking of the novel, I'm having issues, only because I can't seem to make a good outline, no matter how many times I try to sit down and do it. The reason being? I'm one of those writers who don't know what's going to happen until it happens. Seriously. I've got the past down pat. I know exactly what happened in detail -- years and years of detail -- prior to the moment my novel begins. But I cannot tell you what happens from there on out, because for me the creative process is in that moment, where things just happen of their own accord, and inspiration occurs on the fly. Sure I know generally, so I do outlines chapter by chapter. The problem with that is that if I "find out" something about my characters later on, I have to go back and rework all the past writing I've done.

I guess that's why my motto is to just power through the entire first draft at least once right now. Just so I know everything that happens. Then I can go back and make it all right.

I'm in the bottom of my cycle right now. That part where I wonder what the hell am I doing, and if I'll ever make it. And I just keep thinking, I'm not getting any younger, and is this really the smart thing to be doing in order to create a foundation to sustain me and a future family for the rest of my life? If I can't even seem to get it together for one novel?

But you know me. I question, but despite it all, I never quit. I'll keep trying. At no point will I throw in the towel, I can promise you that much.

3 drops:

cyn said...

yes, i have my moments of doubt too. i wrote about it some since i'm on the verge of querying. i wonder if i have it in me to be a career writer and do it for life.

1. am i good enough?
2. if i'm not, can i get good enough?
3. do i have the patience?

it happens to the best of us. being a writer is a fine balance of ego and horrifice self-doubt. esp when we are just beginning to spread our wings.

you're still young (i'm assuming in your 20's). i do have my "sugar daddy" but i still have doubts and fears. haha!

keep the dream alive, angelle!

as for your rough draft, if you're not one to outline, then don't. i couldn't write without knowing what happened a little ahead of me, like headlights driving in the dark. some writers say they can't write if it's all outlined. we all have our own process. the first novel reveals our process to us--which makes it that much more scary but enlightening.

good luck! i know you can do it!!

moonrat said...

together, we shall bullet-point!!

also, we'll calm you down. poor silly cold feet girl. i can TYPE you're doing the right thing 100 times, but my fingers would get tired. ;)

Ello said...

I think getting your MFA is an investment that is completely worthwhile if it helps you finish your novel. And yes, I completely agree with you that going to school is acceptable on your resume while writing your novel is not as acceptable in the corporate world. So I think you are doing the right thing. You are thinking very clear headed and rationally. You can always go back to PR. It will always be there. But take the opportunity now to pursue the dream.

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