It has been an incredibly full semester of writing. I took apart one manuscript for experimentation purposes. Yes, how fun, right? I got to try out varying POVs on the poor little thing. It survived. If I am being honest, it...well, it got better even. But it was a rough five months for that guinea pig of a work in progress.
I also wrote a second manuscript. Finished a rough draft even. Very satisfying. When I forget the sleepless nights and zombie like way I walked around the house some days completely stuck in my story, but I'd be like that with our without the MFA program. This way, I got to finish a draft with someone standing on the sidelines directing me when I got too offsides. Truly satisfying.
And then there were the umpteen critical essays I wrote, books I read, craft pieces I chewed on, and existential angst moments I went through trying to figure out how to make my writing better.
In the end, the big question remains? Was it worth it?
For me, yes. I realize I could do this to myself without the aid of an advisor, but I like the input. And I am not sure I would be so diligent about struggling with issues of craft if I didn't have to write those glorious ten page papers. And finally, I know for a fact, I wouldn't take an MS apart and play with one aspect of it just for the heck of it. It's like taking a car apart and not being sure it will still be the same model when you put it back together but having some vague notion it will run better, just not how. It isn't exactly a comfortable thing to do. Worthwhile? Totally. But better done for me with a little guidance.
But did it make me any better?
In a word, yeah. I am finally learning how to take raw information and transform it into something more than description, into story, and control the process while I am doing it. Granted, I keep creating new problems and sticking points for myself with each work, but I think that may be par for the game. Learning how to self-diagnose has been helping there. I still am a firm believer in a second set of eyes looking over my work before I send it out. I cannot always see the forest for the trees, and it is the blind spots that often need the most work for me. But I am learning. And that is what this whole process is about for me.
I review books that surprise me, jar me, make me think. They are books I've bought, borrowed from the library, or been given as a gift. I do accept ARCs, but will only review a book if it moves me. It's about the writing. If I'm moved, I pass it on in a review.