I am currently in the hardest part of applying for graduate school – waiting. All the statements of purpose have been written, every writing sample tweaked until it squeaked, every recommendation letter sent and every application submitted. Now, the only thing to do is wait.
I think the craziest part of the MFA application process is how it takes the fun out of the very thing you are trying to achieve. Instead of writing, I find myself despairing about the low acceptance rates. Instead of starting new projects, I’m wondering, “what if I’m not good enough?” It all ends up feeling like by applying, all I’m doing is begging the admission committee to tell me that I’m a writer.
But a degree in creative writing doesn’t make you a writer. Getting an MFA doesn’t turn you into the next Jhumpa Lahiri. Writing and revising do that. An MFA gives you time and space to write, a community to encourage you and great resources, but ultimately the only thing that can turn you into a decent writer is showing up every day at your desk ready to put in the work.
So today, I’ve decided to get back on the writing wagon. It’s back to 500 words a day for me. And to help me reach those 500 words, I’m introducing two new series to the blog. The first is #writersrole. There’s a hashtag there because I’m hoping to spark a conversation not just on this blog but on Twitter as well. I will explain more about it in the first post of the series, but what I’m examining is whether it is fair to assign writers a specific role, and if yes, what role. The second series is the Weekly Writing Round-up where I track how much progress I’ve made and some of the lessons I’ve learnt.
I’m quite excited about the two series and there will probably be other changes on the blog. Exciting times lie ahead!
In the meantime, I leave you with a quote I’ve stuck above my desk to remind me that talent means nothing without discipline.
“Some people have greatness thrust upon them. Few have excellence thrust upon them – they achieve it. They do not achieve it unwittingly by doing what comes naturally and they don’t stumble into it in the course of amusing themselves. All excellence involves discipline and tenacity of purpose.'” –John William Gardner