Apps, Check-in, MFA, Time Management, Uncategorized

Update Fail One

I called this post Update Fail One because I am sure that if I do nothing else, I will continue to fail at updating this blog on a consistent basis. How shameful is that?

Yet, onward!

It’s no secret that I am failing in every area of my life. If you read this blog you know that already. What you don’t know is that I have a solution. This week I got a life coach! Not a human. I’m broke-ish and can’t afford a human. But what I (sort of) can afford is an app.

It’s called Success Wiz and I’m hoping it will help me get my life together. Like a lot of people in the social media age, I have big dreams. The trouble with me is that I want it all right now and have no idea how I can make any of it happen. I am inconsistent and easily overwhelmed. I get anxious when I think about all I want to do and instead of working towards my goals a little at a time, I whine and complain and resent myself and everyone else… and that’s not productive.

Because I listen to Gretchen Rubin’s Happier Podcast, I know that I am an obliger. I know that I need to be accountable in order to effective. In the case of the Success Wiz app, I’m accountable for the money I will be spending every month on the pro version. It’s only three bucks, but I can’t see myself throwing three bucks out the window for an app I won’t use. I’ll either use it lose it. That’s for sure.

Over the next week, I hope to see a difference in my focus and work ethic. I have to turn in my submission packet to my MFA mentor. I need to create a registration list for the classes I’m helping to admin. I have to read a book and write annotations. I have to work and spend time with my son. I need to read submissions for the literary magazine I edit for and lead the outreach push. I have a lot to do over the next seven days.

My plan is to come back this time Saturday morning and write about whether or not the app helped me to do any of the things I just listed. And since app developers don’t pay unknown inconsistent bloggers to write about their products, you don’t have to worry that I won’t give an honest review. I’ll keep it 100%.

(And do me a favor this week – keep your fingers crossed. I’ll need all the help I can get.)

MFA, Writing Goals

Who Fails at Plot?!!!

I’m taking my MFA program seriously, I promise. I really do want to be a writer, which seems to mean that I want to read On Writing and Bird by Bird over and over again. Or it means that I want to watch Stuck in Love ten thousand times.

I’m not sure if I actually want to write. Because you see, going into my office hurts. It’s only four feet from my bedroom but heading there feels like I’m trekking across the desert or climbing an iceberg. By the time I arrive I’m too tired to do anything.

A few weeks ago, I got my first comments back from my mentor. He didn’t say I suck but instead insinuated that maybe it might take me awhile to get over myself just enough to write an actual story.

So, for the sake of clarification, in case you missed anything: Not only do I spend most of my time avoiding writing but when I finally get around to it, nothing I churn out has a plot. Isn’t that just peachy!

My mentor, who is perfectly wonderful, has asked me to do an outline. Go over the top, he says. Over the top! I can’t conceive of over the top! I have no idea where over the top is!

Needless to say, I’ve had no peace for two the past weeks. I’ve been avoiding my story, my mentor, the outline, everything. And next week I have no choice. I have to start writing.

So, I’m going to spend this week walking. I’m going to walk around town with my audio recorder and talk to myself. I am going outline. I am going to fail and fail hard. And my mentor will judge me. I already know he’s gonna judge me and possibly laugh. But if I am going to be a writer, that is what writers do. Writers write words. They don’t just watch The Shining.

Explanation, MFA, Uncategorized

MFA or Bust

To recap: Following the advice of two writers I knew, I decided I would leave the MA program if I gained acceptance to a low-residency MFA program. And to put pressure on it, the MA program I was currently in, closed registration within a few days of my decision to apply. This only mattered because I was afraid that if I took a break from school, to wait for news of a Spring acceptance, I would quit. I needed direction. I needed favor. So, I prayed for just that.

Then I moved on it. I called the school on a Wednesday, to see if they would expedite my application. I was told it wouldn’t happen. To say I was disappointed, was an understatement. But I kept going. I kept waiting for God to come through. Even if God came through with a dose of perfect peace and a rejection letter.

And then, I got a call from the chair of the MFA Program. He notified me that he’d had a last minute cancellation and that my application was the only one on his desk.

The next semester’s apps hadn’t come in yet. He could read my submission if I wanted. I said yes! It took a week for the director and the board to make a decision, but the day before the workshop began, if I was offered admission. The next day I was on a plane.

God had made it so I had the money for housing and transportation. God miraculously use a fluke situation that had held up a check, that ended up being released within a week of my acceptance. God worked it out so that I had willing people to help take care of my responsibilities at home. God worked it all out.

And I am so thankful!


The First Leap

It’s been a year since I decided to apply to a master’s program. My pastor had recently spoken about the company we keep. He’d said that if we remain in situations where we are always the smartest person in the room, we won’t grow. He said we should surround ourselves with people who inspire and motivate us through their success.

At the time, I was in a writers group, and all of the participating women were applying to professional programs. I hadn’t considered applying before then, but witnessing their confidence triggered something in me. I thought, if a new career is within reach for them, and they are adults with responsibilities, families, and jobs just like me, why can’t I have one too?

So, I applied to a local program. It wasn’t what I should have gone for, but it was close and safe. I’d heard about low-residency MFA programs, which were what I should have been aiming for, but I thought traveling would be too much. I let the thought of leaving my professional and personal responsibilities, even for a few days, scare me. I’m thankful that God doesn’t scare off so easily! Because before I ended my first quarter in the wrong program, God sent two instructors to direct me to the low residency program I’m in now. And it happened in the most miraculous way.

Stay tuned and I’ll give you my testimony. No worries, it’s a good one 🙂


Whose Big Idea Is This Anyway?

So… who’s the nut with the failure plan?

Turn around. It’s me. I’m the lady who sits behind you in church. I’m the loud lady who always has her hands lifted; who spends one Sunday bellowing about the Lord’s goodness and then the next Sunday drowning in her own unbelief. I’m the lady who spent praise & worship balling about her empty ring finger, her dissatisfaction with her 9-5, and the worries she has about her teenage son. Look around. See if you can find me.

What am I being so dramatic about? What do I want? Well, that’s easy.

  1. TO WRITE… I want to write professionally.
  2. AN MFA… I want to pursue my master’s degree. (We’ll talk more about that later.)
  3. TO LET THE KID GROW UP… I want to stop suffocating my son.
  4. TO EXPAND MY CIRCLE… I want friends. I want to meet an Idris Elba look alike and make my last name his last name 🙂

Let’s be honest. I have no idea how I’m going to accomplish any of these things. I’m not even sure if it’s realistic to believe that I can. But I’m committed to doing the work. Over the next year, I’m going to do the work and write about it here. And I’ll start with trying and failing (and trying again) on my MFA. Stay tuned.