Wow, what a winter break of revisions it’s been! I am proud to say I mostly stuck to the plan I made in December. Starting with an idea of what changes I wanted to make to a story helped keep me from getting (too) overwhelmed when I sat down to work–and I did sit down to work. Almost every day, sometimes for 5 minutes, sometimes for more than an hour. As a result, I’ve revised 6 of the 7 stories I plan to include in The Book and am considering adding an eighth to the collection, if I can get it done in time.
I’ve also been thinking about the fact that, more than in any other semester, this year’s break has been a sign for what Life After School might be like, writing on my own momentum, fueled by my own desire to put out the best stories I can. It’s changed my mind about my goals for writing this year.
It’s always mystified me to hear people talk of a deep “need” to write, as though their sanity hinges on it. You know that stereotypical artist’s parent who’s contemptuous of the child for not having a “real” career? That’s been me. I don’t like to admit writing can be fun, even when I do it in my spare time, even after I have a good session and my story’s all I can talk about for the next hour. It’s starting to seem ridiculous to keep this grudge against what I do around.
This year, instead of resolving to write every day, churn out a set number of stories, hit time or word goals, or meet similar numerical quotas, I want to accomplish something I imagine will be more rewarding and lasting: I want to take my relationship with writing to the next level. I pledge to do my best to remember that writing is fun and fulfilling, and to approach my laptop at the end of the day with a welcoming spirit. I promise to use quantifiable goals and quotas as tools to encourage me to write, not an end in and of themselves. Most importantly, I promise to keep going after my grad program is over, even if no one’s reading. Sooner or later, if I put joy and work into it, someone will.