Adjusting to Writing Outside the MFA
Updated: Jan 26
Maaaannnnnnnnnn, it is HARD to write on your own schedule with no repercussions other than potentially having no writing future/career. I work 8:30-4:30ish most days (except Monday at the moment), but I get up at 6am to have some sort of breakfast and coffee deal before/during/after my 7am COVID test (at a center 'cause China hasn't rolled out at home testing yet in my area), set up my at home work area, workworkwork, exercise and/or go for a looong walk since the gym is closed thanks to #COVID, and then DIE.
This is a real image of me on any given day.
And then sometime as I'm laying down, I start beating myself up for not getting anything creative done all day. Plus, I'm new at my job and feel like I'm absolutely shit at it. It's been fun.
Literally the most creative thing I've done is start using Vaseline on these lines that are showing up near my eyebrows cause I think I scrunch them together too often.
That's not completely true... I've edited... 34 pages this week, written two poems since May 6th, and sent out query letters to three agents for my poetry manuscript.
I'm all for self-positivity like "You did the best you could today, be happy you did anything at all" blah, but only for other people. For me, this feels like SHIIIIITTTTT. I need a schedule, but I also need to not feel completely exhausted after working all day and then exercising. Not to mention being married. Did you know having a significant other requires extra work and they aren't just around whenever you want them? My goals for this week are super simple-ish: 1) Sort all my poems into categorized folders. So far my categories include: Subs (good), Subs (slush), myths, family, political, China, romance, and definition. (Side bar: How many chapbooks can I publish before flooding the market? Why would I not want to flood the market? Will I make more than ten dollars publishing poetry if I wash out the competition?)
2) EDIT MY DAMN BOOK. FUCK
3) Join 2 Writer's Associations. They must be international, offer online workshops and conferences, and supply me with a long list of agents, publishers, and submission opportunities. 加油！ 4) Send out two poetry subs, but only to magazines of significant quality. Gone art the days of submitting to low to mid range magazines and anthologies! It's already Thursday my time, so I'm not ridiculously hopeful that this list will be completed, but I'll be putting in a solid attempt. My daily scheduling is still under construction. It seems like every day there's something new that needs to get done that gets in the way of my time. Sometimes it's just my brain screaming we need to read Webtoons or there will be a mutiny. I want to point out why I've decided to only submit to magazines of quality. It's not because I've suddenly become a literary publishing snob, but more because the rest of the world kind of is. Apparently having a publication or twenty isn't enough. Those publications must be in significant places if you want publishing companies or agents to pay any real attention to your poetry manuscript from what I'm seeing around.
I guess I was being hopeful that my manuscript could simply stand on it's own. But! Maybe the internet is wrong and I'll get my collection published anyway and then I can officially tell all these advice columns to suck my big toe. Who knows?
For real though, if anyone has a nice cheap solution to these little lines creeping up on my brows, let me know. Until then I have to take a shower and prepare to get up at 6am and go to yet another COVID test before coming back home to sit on my ever growing butt for work tomorrow. P.S.: I found this photo of my today, just vibing: