As I'm hitting the intense part of the semester--preparing final projects, revising work, and drafting those dreaded 20-page papers--I'm reminded of how much worse it was to apply to school. Lots of schools, really: 8, which probably wasn't even enough. I don't miss the experience.
Worse yet was the aftermath, the waiting, the constant visits to MFA Blog. Refresh! Refresh! I wasn't the narrator in the story by Benjamin Percy, but I was nearly as desperate. Who had a friend who heard so-and-so got wait-listed where? Oh, at Notre Dame? I didn't apply there. Refresh! Any news was NEWS, and I was hooked. While this blog does an amazing job providing vital information--seriously, it's the envy of my friends in other fields--I don't think its head honchos want it to ruin your day-to-day lives.
The only thing that got me through the stress in November and December was working on my manuscript and my statements. In January, once most of the apps were sent, I wrote new poems, read a lot, sent work out to journals, applied to residencies, etc. By the time March rolled around, I had to regiment myself. Finish this chaper, and I can visit MFA Blog! I still managed a daily visit, and I still managed to feel fulfilled outside of the application process.
So I'd like to invite you guys to take part in a little challenge where you set your own rules:
- How will you stay fulfilled as a writer while you apply, and then while you wait for the responses?
- Will you regiment yourself to make sure you aren't spending entire days (and workdays) refreshing?