DIY MFA: Plunging Forward

I spent the week watching the DIY MFA Master Class videos. While I haven’t been introduced to any “writing” instruction, much of what’s been covered has been about mindset.

Writing is a solitary craft. One in which we authors crawl into our own imaginations and listen to the “voices” in our heads. That’s what happens when I visit the Alterian cousins while they learn to navigate their new world. Mostly, though, I am a spectator as I watch them struggle to adapt to the environment in which they have been deposited. They don’t look to me for guidance, even though I have a fair idea of some of the obstacles they will encounter as they search for Elayna and Eliam. I’m just a spectator to their trials.

Because writing is a solo activity, mindset is crucial to our success. One thing we, as writers, know is that time is a precious commodity. Many of us struggle to fit writing time into our busy schedules, and our writing ends up being sacrificed to this thing we call “life.” And we end up miserable. I know I’ve had my moments juggling a career, a household, a family, pets, and writing. Almost always, it was my writing that was put aside. And the stories trapped in my head suffered the most.

I have more time to spend with my characters now, thanks to being laid off a year ago. The thing is, I still have other obligations that include all of the above (sans career). I’ve also decided to further my education, which takes up a portion of my day. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I’ve said before that I’d rather be busy than bored. Being “retired” hasn’t changed that about me. I also know that even though I have more time than ever before to write, life will find a way to intervene. I need to figure out how to fit writing into my schedule, regardless of what life throws at me. If I don’t, my day feels incomplete.

Each day holds a different challenge to keep the words flowing. Some days, Mother Nature throws a wrench in the works. Other obstacles come in the form of winter preparations or travel. This year was different, though. Because of the coronavirus, travel has been limited, social distancing has been encouraged, and large gatherings are discouraged. These conditions bring their own challenges to the process.

As I spend more time learning what I’m supposed to be doing to create a novel, I’ll have more of a road map instead of feeling my way forward. With luck, the map will help make the journey smoother, with fewer detours.

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