It's official: I'm going back to school. I've got new notebooks and pens and a flashy moleskin day planner. I've spend the last few months doing my prep readings and in two weeks I'll be sitting in a classroom.
It's strange to think about going back to school after being out in the working world. Sometimes I feel like I've forgotten how to be a student, and this time I won't be living on campus or joining student government. This time around it's going to be just me and my computer most days because *drumroll please* ....
I'm going to write a book.
All the misgivings and fears and uncertainties that I have about going back to school are silenced when I remember that I get to spend the next two years writing a book. That's pretty much a dream come true. Who knows what will happen after that, maybe my book will end up in the trash, or living its whole life unread on my hard-drive. Maybe it will end up lost in a train station somewhere like Hemingway's early manuscripts. But no matter what, I'll have written a book!
For anyone who's curious (and doesn't already know) I'll be doing my degree in Creative Nonfiction. That means I'll have a piece of paper that says I'm qualified to write the kind of stuff you read here on this blog as well as much much more. Creative Nonfiction includes everything from travel writing, memoir, essay, editorial, biography, literary journalism and more.
I feel very different starting graduate school at 25 than I did when I started my undergrad at 18. I feel much more focused and goal-oriented now that I'm a little older. My undergraduate degree definitely favoured process over product when it came to making art. I agree that a processed-based approach is an essential part of an artistic practice and that too much emphasis on product can stifle creativity. But I'm ready to write something with the goal that other people will actually see it someday. Something longer than a blog post or a one-act play. I'm ready to take all of that processed-based learning and apply it to a final finished project that's meant to be read.
So I chose a program that demands I write a book, and along the way I hope to pick up many more tips and tools to help with the creative process so I can one day be the best possible writer I can be.
What do you think? How do you find the right balance of process vs. product in your artistic practice?
It looks like I'm about to go down the rabbit hole so maybe I'll find some answers... Stay tuned and come along for the ride with me on this crazy roller-coaster they call the Masters of Fine Arts.