At this time last year, I was just starting my writing program at the University of Chicago. Last night, I started my fourth, and final, workshop. I still have two electives to complete (one of which I’m taking this summer), and then it’s just my final tutorial where I work on my 100+ page story collection.
It’s hard to believe it’s gone by so quickly. And I also can’t believe that this is my last workshop. I have until June 4th to crank out a bunch of work. I’ll still have until April next year to finish the program, and more importantly, my story collection. As of right now I have two pieces, maybe three, that I know I want to include. One of them isn’t even done.
However, I’ve been thinking about not doing my tutorial and final project. Rather than doing my quart-and-half long independent session of crazing writing, I’m actually thinking of starting the Writer’s Studio all over again. Since I have two, okay, technically three large story projects tucked away and in various stages of drafts, I’ve been thinking about doing the novel program at University of Chicago. (I’m currently in the short story program.)
When I first started the program, I was thinking that I’d get all the way through it and using my final project to apply to an MFA program. Others have done this, including one of my recent former classmates. But I’m not necessarily sure if I want to spend the money on an MFA program. My main goal is to commit to my writing, and have people critique it so I can improve as a writer. My goal after that? Well, I’d like to publish my work. And an MFA isn’t a guarantee to publishing. It’s not even a guarantee for a teaching job.
I have no delusions. I know that the odds of becoming the next big writer, or having the next big series, are astronomical. But writing is, obviously, something I love. And you know, by now, I’d like to think I’m pretty ok at it. However, I’m going to keep my day job. In fact, I hope I can keep some sort of day job that allows me the time and doesn’t kill my creative energy so that I can keep writing. And I also hope that same day job allows me the freedom to keep working with Mucca and touring, because that’s some good story fodder.