Two semesters ago I said I would try to write a blog once a month (or was it once a week?). Obviously, that didn’t happen. Currently, I am three fourths of the way though the third semester of my MFA program. Honestly, sometimes I miss my weekends, but when I decided to get my masters, I made myself a promise, and it’s one I intend to keep.
I think the difference between my pledge to keep this blog updated and my pledge to soak in as much writing knowledge and wisdom as possible while I’m pursuing my masters is intensity.
Even as I wrote that first promise, curled up in my room, avoiding strangers during my first residency, I was allowing exceptions. “I will try but…”
Strangely that wasn’t very effective.
Part of the problem was that keeping this blog up, which I never had before, was an unreasonable goal. I have three kids and am enrolled full-time in a masters program. It’s a lot. So, I don’t feel badly for not keeping my promise to write regular posts. I shouldn’t have promised it to begin with.
Here are my true promises: I will occasionally post on this site until my life slows down a little bit, which will probably be never (but, hey, a girl can dream). I will not feel badly when Facebook tells me the followers of my Author page haven’t heard from me in a while (as in months and months). BUT, I will be the best writer I can be by setting scheduled time aside to write, by always learning (and reading), and by giving myself reasonable goals even after I no longer have a mentor waiting for my writing packets.
A new friend I met at a writing conference recently said to me, “I used to feel guilty if the dishes or laundry weren’t done. Now, I feel guilty if I haven’t written. Women are good at making themselves feel guilty, might as well use it to our advantage.”
You may or may not be a writer, but everyone one should have goals. Pick the ones that are most important to you and make yourselves intense promises about them.
I have been abysmal about updating this page but I have never asked for an extension or turned in fewer pages than were required for my MFA.
I can’t give you any statistics that will prove this focus has allowed me to grow, but I can tell you, for the first time in my adult life, I have written pieces of which I am proud. And not in an ‘it’s an interesting idea and I think it has potential’ kind of way. For me, this is huge.
So, this is me saying, from now on I’m gong to work towards feeling guilty about useful things and making and keeping the right kind of promises. And I hope you’ll join me.