When in Doubt…Write Anyway

I realize that I haven’t written since I submitted my application to the VCFA. I gave myself a personal deadline of February 1st, which I met without difficulty. I reviewed and edited until I think that I know the first twenty pages of my manuscript almost by heart. I wrote a personal essay that probably mirrors many of the things that I’ve said in this blog and a critical piece that hopefully reflects my ability to think and write critically. It felt good to exercise those writing muscles again.

The school’s assistant to the Admissions Director has been awesome. He emails me when another piece of the application have come in. I don’t think that I’ve ever had that kind of interaction with any academic institution. I keep visualizing that feeling of being accepted. I know it isn’t good to get ones hopes up about such things and to be probably unattached to any kind of submission outcome, but I feel like I need this somehow.

I am not sure why I feel that being accepted to an academic creative writing program will somehow validate me as an author except that maybe it has more to do with the idea that it is my second foray into actually submitting something. And, yes, I am more familiar and comfortable in those settings because I had lived it. I was looking at submission guidelines for writing journals today and I felt that old nagging “who am I to consider this. I am not these people” feeling. I wonder if that ever goes away.

I am proud of myself that I did submit to a contest last week. But these things also cost money and when one is trying to pay off debt and save funds, the submission fees do add up. Perhaps that is just an excuse to avoid actually submitted a story. Probably is. There are three stories that I think with some tweaking have some potential and there is a personal essay that is writing itself right now. It may end up being a blog post…we shall see.

Now that I have to wait in limbo for a while, I have tried to fill my time with projects. It was good timing that I had to start doing research for the paper that I am giving in PEI in June. I have spent the last few weeks reading articles and thinking a lot about Gilbert Blythe, Darcy and Edward. Probably more than one person ever has. But I am having so much fun. My brain is tickled with the constant thinking and I feel so centered. It is nice to feel centered.

I have hit a little bit of a foggy moment with the novel. I finished one of the major climatic moments in the book. Up until this point, I had been writing towards this scene. I skipped a couple of elements to get there, but now that it is written, I am not quite sure what happens next. I have sat with pen and paper in hand and pondered what the next scene should look like. I am getting a lot of glimpses at themes and ideas, but nothing that would be considered a practical plot point. I’ve written a few pages, but I am not exactly happy with what is there and I feel like I am mostly writing around something than actually on it. I hope that makes some sense.

Today, though, I thought if I went through what I had written, perhaps I could see the gaps and make a list of them with hopes that it will provide me with some direction. I am now staring at nine items with page number references and notes. That should keep me pretty busy I think. So, that technique seemed to work.

The other thing is that in order to flush out the rest of the mythology, I need to do some more research. For whatever reason, I have been putting this off. So, today is the day. It should help me better understand where those nine points need to go. And the rest of the novel as well.

So, I continue to write even when I am in doubt. I have no choice though. It is what I do. It is who I am.

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About Melanie J. Fishbane

My novel, MAUD: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery was published in 2017 through Penguin Random House on April 25, 2017. I hold an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Here I talk about my writing process, things I love, and creative people who inspire me.
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2 Responses to When in Doubt…Write Anyway

  1. Yemiledu says:

    Hey all the best for your Novel!!And all the best for your academic plans too:)

  2. Melanie says:

    Thank you very much.

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