DIY MFA: Prompt #2 Honor Your Reality

I just joined the DIY MFA Book Club late last night. Today it’s a mad dash to work through as many prompts as possible so that I can catch up with the group…

Prompt #2 Honoring Your Reality…. Oh boy, that’s a big one. Shit happens all. the.time! I thought writing and painting full-time would make it easier to create a schedule. Not so much. While I’m writing a lot more than before, my focus is all over the place. 

Focus and I have a sordid history. And suffice to say, I’m the disaster. *sob* 

I need to focus on one project at a time. I need to focus on finishing something. Anything. I need to focus long enough to reach a solid word count for the day… I need…. I need… *sigh* And let’s not start with my demanding neuroses that only add self-depreciation to the mix. Funny how my mind has zero problems focusing on my neuroses but when it comes to character development I’m like a 5-year old. There’s CANDY? Where? WHERE? 

Right. Focus. 

I was laid off from my job 16 months ago. Rather than jump back into corporate, I had the opportunity to try writing full-time. The goal was to finish a novel. Needless to say, that didn’t happen. I wrote 42,000 words of a rough draft; began the second rewrite of another novel; and wrote 15,000 words of a memoir. I edited a short story and compiled/edited a book of poetry which I have yet to submit. I’ve also updated my blog and wrote a draft of 2 essays. So while I’ve written a lot, aside from my blog posts, I have yet to finish and submit my work.

Along the way there have been plenty ups and downs ranging from health issues, to family issues, to lack of confidence and motivation. All impact my ability to create. Sometimes I am able to work through my issues and other times I need to remind myself that kindness is in order and it’s okay if I have periods when I struggle to write. The words won’t always come and that’s okay.  

When my headspace becomes toxic, the best remedy I’ve found is change. I get out of the house and write at my local library. It’s much easier to ground myself and get shit done when I’m surrounded by total strangers and heaps of books. My anxieties tend to settle and I’m usually able to complete a solid several hours’ worth of work. Changing my environment, by far, has been the biggest help when I can’t concentrate. 

Even still, I have plenty of days when I feel like a total bum and accomplish very little. It bothers me, but again, it’s a process that’s constantly evolving. 


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