Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Time, Money, and Writing

I feel more or less recovered from all my writing projects I was juggling in August, and I'm thinking now I need to send some poems out and get started on a new project. I should have some time to read this weekend, as long as I take advantage of it and don't spend too much time playing video games or reading "fun" novels.

I really like the last blog entry from the fabulous poet Jeannine Hall Hailey on MFA programs. I look back on the time I spent doing my MFA and PhD, and while I don't exactly regret it, I don't know if it was the best use I could have made of my time. I certainly don't think that getting an MFA will "make you a writer." If you don't write now, you aren't going to write with an MFA. The best I can say for it is that it gives you time and it gives you a community, but a degree program is certainly not the only way you can get either one of those things. Absolutely, it is fun, and you can learn a lot about the foundation of your craft. Also, great writers develop in communities, and it's a great place to grow.

But I also wouldn't trade anything for the life I have now. I have a secure lifestyle, a supportive husband and family, and I can spend my free time doing what I want. Writing what I want. It feels like a great luxury. Although I am sometimes a little envious of my friends in academia, with the smart and creative environment they work in and their weeks off in the summer and winter, I love having my time be my own, and for me, that's perfect.

For the last few days, I've had my finger hovering on the button to make my AWP reservations. It'll be a $1000 splurge, but I've been eager to go to readings and talk with other writers. I'm justifying the hotel bill by promising myself I'll write at least one new poem per night. Honestly, despite knowing there will be parties and people hanging out and lots of fun, I remember how tired I was last time of the endless stream of people. I'll be glad to have somewhere to retreat to (not to mention, glad to have somewhere I can drop off my my stacks and stacks of books).

I think I will finally push the button and lay out my deposit for AWP. I'm looking forward to it in a way that I wasn't last year or the year before. Next I have to lay out my plan of what I'll be doing over the next five and a half months, so I'll be able to show up on February 29 and at least look like I have my act together. Stay tuned for the plan.

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