This is my second post for the IWSG, and I still haven’t figured out how to have the badge link directly to the site itself, so if you’re wondering about my awkward formatting it’s because I’m a technophobe with a very basic understanding of WordPress.
I’m thinking of leaving my MFA program after the semester’s end and looking for alternatives. It’s not the right one for me. This is coming from a person who’s in her mid-20’s and still doesn’t have any career ideas, and who took 7 years to get a Bachelor’s degree, hopping around to 3 different colleges before finally finishing. If there’s one thing I know, it’s how to be picky and indecisive, but I think I’ve finally got some experience under my belt in knowing what I want out of an academic program. I’d rather leave now than suffer through it, always wishing I’d had the guts to leave earlier and coming out underwhelmed and disappointed in what should be a really kickass, challenging experience.
On another note, I’ve been holding back on my writing. In the past few weeks my job and my creative and social outlet disintegrated without warning. My depression has reared its head to a pretty severe degree, and my need to take care of myself better has come to the forefront of daily life. Combined with my MFA program falling short of my expectations, I’ve been feeling fatalistic about writing. But in the past few days, I’ve been trying to apply the notion of radical acceptance to one story I’ve been working on, and just keep moving forward with it. I’m not the best at having a plan or outline of where my story is going, and while I saw that as a shortcoming at first, I’m trying to have some fun with it. In writing this magical realism-fantasy-surrealist-science fiction mutant of a story, I decided if I establish its lack reliability or prescription to one formula then I can basically do anything with it and not feel like I’m failing. Change of narrator? Sure. New world? Ok. What’s this one like? How’s it relevant to the plot? Not sure, I’ll figure it out as I go. Shrug. What about a beach, but instead of sand it’s made of ice? Yeah, I can do that.
I’m sure this is something that writers figure out a lot earlier than I have, but I’m pretty excited about it, mainly because it’s a realization that’s helped me move forward and moving forward is essential to my mental health and my writing. And of course, my writing and my mental health are most definitely interdependent, so anything that helps me move forward in my writing helps me move forward in life. Accepting and writing in these possibilities that may at first seem ridiculous, or may get edited out later helps me broaden my view of what’s possible beyond the narrow tunnel-vision of depression. I think that’s what the concept of NaNoWriMo is based around, just getting it all out on the page whether it’s “good” by your standards or not. I’m still not quite at the level of being able to do that, but I’m trying. It’s my main priority right now with my writing, just getting it down. So much is in limbo right now, being recently unemployed and possibly about to drop out of school with the semester’s end, in a fairly unstable living situation that could become unaffordable at any moment, but I’m fortunate enough to have a support network and the support to just try to write, and try to get better. It doesn’t feel like everything is lost, but it feels like a lot is freed up in a way that it wasn’t before. I just have to keep writing down the possibilities.