- Win a a copy of STORMDANCER by Jay Kristoff (Ends 10/5)
I know. I'm crazy. At least my husband thinks so, though he is being very supportive just like he is with all my "out there" antics. After a seventeen year hiatus from school, I'm going back for my graduate degree in English - Creative Writing.
I'm four weeks in already, actually, and so far so good. I'm taking Creative Non-Fiction (meaning "How To Write A Memoir") and Politics of Information (meaning "Let's Try To Make Sense of Movies, Art & the Internet"). I spend seven hours on campus one night a week, trusting the care of all five of my children to my hubby. So far I've been pleased to find everyone fed, bathed and sleeping when I finally crawl in the front door at 11 pm. Then, during the next six days, I read text books that are practically a foreign language in spare bits of time between running kids to and from classes, homeschooling my eleven-year-old, entertaining my four-year-old, cleaning the house (yeah right) and doing all the marketing and promotion required for my novel. Not to mention the time I spend writing and revising new projects, blogging, checking email, keeping up with church assignments, doing all the errands that full-time moms of five kids always have to do, and... Well, you get the picture.
So, why am I torturing myself with grad school?
That's a good question. And I've got three answers.
1) I like school. I know that sounds hard to believe, but I do enjoy the stimulation of adult intellectual conversation. I am analytical at my core, and as much as I love, love, love my kids, my brain atrophies when all I do is dishes, diapers and dinner. (Okay. I don't do diapers anymore, but all total I spent more than 15 years doing them. Argh!) School gets my brain juices flowing.
2) I have 5 kids. What does that have to do with it? 5 kids = 5 college tuitions + 5 future weddings + potentially 5 church missions = a whole lot of money that I just don't have. My husband (God love him) has a great job with the City of Los Angeles and supports us comfortably, but down the road as the kids start going to college, etc. he's going to need some help. My BA in English is worth squat in the work force. A Master's degree will enable me to get decent employment (preferably as a college professor) when the time is right.
3) I want to be a better writer. So I got my first book published. So I've written a dozen more books that I'm trying to get published. I've gotten some feedback from editors that my writing isn't as strong as it should be. That is pretty discouraging. I've never been one to settle for mediocre. So going to grad school and forcing myself to improve my skills as a writer is, in the end, an investment in my writing career.
So there you have it. Three good reasons why I'm spending the next two or three years of my life doing something as crazy as going to school. But I've made this very clear to my family: IF I am offered a book contract for a shocking amount of money (as does happen to some really lucky writers) then forget school. I'll take fame and fortune over furthering my education any day.
I can dream, can't I?