This is a photograph of the entry I made in my fancy agenda on March 29, 2016–one year ago today. I had begun the year with the intention of drawing one picture in each day’s box to represent something significant that had taken place that day. The drawings began as miniature watercolors, then morphed to pen and ink drawings, then morphed to nice pencil drawings. By March they had morphed into just basic pencil sketches, and in April they stopped altogether. But that’s not the point.
The point is that exactly one year ago today, I woke up thinking, “I need to go back and get a degree in creative writing.” It was such a sudden and unexpected thought. I even scolded myself for being so ridiculous. I couldn’t afford another degree. I didn’t have the time to go back to school. I didn’t need a degree to be a writer, yadda yadda yadda. But by lunch time that day I had found a way to justify my way out of every argument. I got online and looked up online MFA programs, finally settling on the one at the University of Texas at El Paso. That same evening I emailed one of their representatives to get more information, and within three weeks I had completed all of the admission requirements and submitted the application.
Here’s where I am so far, as a result of that decision:
-I completed my first two courses last semester with a 4.0 gpa and am currently enrolled in three additional courses. Only 11 more left.
-I owe significantly more in student loans.
-One of my essays was published in February by 34th Parallel.
-7 other personal essays, 4 of my short stories, and 3 of my poems are currently being considered for publication by a total of 28 different journals.
-My writing is improving daily.
-I am getting much better at generating ideas for personal essays.
-I am getting much more comfortable with the idea of short stories and poems.
-I am getting addicted to the feeling of needing to write on a daily basis, whether there’s an impending deadline or not.
For reference, here is where I was one year ago:
-I had exactly one short story, one nearly completed memoir in its first draft stage, five old and crappy poems in a box in my closet, and one old and crappy first draft of a novel, also stuffed into a box in my closet.
-I had a file in my computer with about 5 very abstract ideas for short stories I probably would have never written.
-I had the desire to write but no direction.
I know I made the right decision.