Yesterday I put four works in progress (WIPs) to bed. Each WIP was at one time an inspired piece.
Rise of the Dragon’s Daughter started when I was sitting in a doorway of my high school waiting for my SAT math prep class to start. Eventually, it grew into my main work, with me finishing a draft of the first book in the series, or so I thought, my senior year of high school. I was urged to just edit for grammar, spelling and self-publish. I’m so glad that I didn’t do that like I had originally wanted to. As I went back over it for revision I figured out that there was a lot about the story itself that wasn’t sitting right for me. I’d told the wrong story. Now, after three years of revision work on the first third of the book, I need to step away. I’m not touching that manuscript again, I think for at least a year. It’s for the best.
Song of the Traitor King I’m putting this to rest for good. This project has lost my interest and is just… done, but not in a good place done. I might use pieces of it elsewhere, or I might come back to it in a decade and see something new and start with a new piece based off of this one.
Dear… So this one is just shelved until I’ve had some experience outside the classroom to work with.
The Forest, a T.V. Series Script. I’m not sure why I started this one… a prompt I think and then I got excited about it… and then I got unexcited about it. I think this one needs some distance as well, just to figure out what the actual plot is. I have a setting, but no plot… and that is not a great problem to have. Without a plot you have no story and right now my plot is only a setting.
So here’s the thing. I’m putting all of these to rest. I think I want to work on some short stories for a while, see if I can’t publish some of them. Of course, I need to start said stories. I have started a new storyboard on Pinterest, we’ll see where that goes, but that looks like it would/will be a longer work and I’m not sure I’m at a place in my craft right now that I want to start writing that long of a piece just yet.
And while I’m putting these things to rest, I’ve come to a decision. I have to get out of the classroom if I’m ever going to write anything. My professor said that in class Tuesday and it’s been nagging me. I have to read, and I have to live, I have to do things. So…
I’m not going to graduate school this fall.
I’m taking at least a year off.
You have no idea how much weight that just took off my chest to type that… and at the same time, how much anxiety it put on me.
I have wanted to go into library science for about a year now, but I’m not so sure anymore.
I have never been in real doubt about my career focus, or about what I want to do with my life before. I mean, I dabbled with various career paths when I was in high school because I was afraid of admitting to everyone that what I wanted most in the world was to be a writer.
I wanted the validation that everyone wants that their career path will make them successful. And I fell into the trap that says art will never make you successful because there’s not a lot of money in it and it’s hard to be recognized in your field.
I fell into that trap again with this whole graduate school, thing. I was convinced, and still partially am, that I have to get into a job that will allow me to pay off my student loans and not have to move back in with my parents.
I still partially want to do library science, and not just because it’ll pay better and more certainly than writing will. I want to share my love of books and reading with people. But I’m hesitant to go down that path now. There are other ways than becoming a librarian to share a love of reading with the world. Writing is one of them.
And this is where my parents and the rest of the people who care about me ask, then why don’t you go to grad school for writing instead, get a job as a professor when you’re out?
Well, in answer to that, it doesn’t work quite that way.
First, I’ve missed like all the deadlines for grad school programs, except the one here at Ball State. I know the professors here at Ball State and if I’m going to continue creative writing I want new professors, I want to learn from new people so I can learn new things. And my professors, whom I adore, have validated this desire. They think that that’s exactly what I should do if I go for my masters.
Second, grad school is expensive and I have to start paying about $250 a month this December on my student loans, and that will pay them off in 10 years… that’s a decade of payments that I already have to make. Unless I can get fully funded through grants and scholarships I don’t think that it’s a viable option at the moment.
Third, were you not listening? I have to get out of the classroom. I have to live a life. I have to do things worth writing about. Writing isn’t stimulated by just reading all the time. I have to actually do things. Art is a support system for life, but for art to support your life you must first have a life. I don’t have a life. I don’t do anything interesting. I haven’t even hit milestones that most people my age hit. I’m 20, almost 21 and I’ve never been on a date, let alone been kissed, bought a lottery ticket, I probably won’t get drunk even after I’m 21 in May. The only vacation I’ve been on was the Mackinac trip this summer with my Aunt and Sister, that lasted 3 days. I’ve been to Illinois and Michigan, possibly Ohio, but I’m not sure. I’ve never been out of the country. Not even to Canada. I’ve never seen the ocean or the mountains, not even the plains technically. The only sunsets/rises I’ve watched have been through the windshield of a car going 65 mph down the highway. I need to live if I’m going to write.
I’m still moving to the Indianapolis Area with my best friend in the fall. I’m staying with her and her parents over the summer so I can work at the same CVS that I’ve been working at, though I’m going to try to find a job in the Indy area that has to do with my degree in some way. Or maybe it won’t have anything to do with my degree, maybe it will just be interesting… We’ll see what happens. There are many writers out there who started out, after college even, doing jobs that had nothing to do with writing or English degrees, or anything like that. And really, that’s a smart thing to do. It’s the jobs like those that give you something to write about.
In short, I’m giving myself a year off at the least, to live, to write, and to figure out who I am and what I want to do with the life I’ve been given.
Maybe I’ll take some foreign language courses, or I’ve always wanted to learn sign language. Perhaps I’ll volunteer at the local humane society, or take up horseback riding again. Fencing sounds pretty cool. Of course, I need to get into shape, but hey, the sky’s the limit and I’m about to grow wings.