Monday, January 14, 2013

Insecurities and Commitment

I'm having a flare-up of insecurity.  I wish it would keep itself in check until the first Wednesday of the month.  But here it is.

Things are happening quickly, and it's making me nervous.

This Saturday, I start graduate school.  I've been out of school since the early 90's.  I think I can handle the workload without letting my writing or my laundry slide (well, maybe the laundry will slide, but whatever).  I worry my memory of college classes and how hard they are may be skewed - the way my mind modified the memory of giving birth twice - even after I had strep throat and a broken toe with the first and delivered a baby over ten pounds with the second.  Childbirth never seems that bad once it's over.  I wonder if college is the same.

I wrote the check for my first semester, so it's a done deal.  I'm in for at least one class.

The graduate director advised me to apply for the MA program right away (I'm just in the certificate program now because, well, it had less requirements to get in).  If I wait too long, the classes I take for the certificate won't count for the MA.  The MA only includes 4 additional classes, two of which could be for the ending project - my project will be a novel, which I would have written anyway.  No big deal, right?  It's only 4 extra classes, two of which aren't classes at all.  But in the non-logical segment of my mind, which seems to be dominant today, committing to the MA is huge compared to a certificate. 

Yesterday, my husband ordered me a new ultrabook for school.  It's less than three pounds, about half the weight of my current laptop.  It was a lot of money - which adds extra pressure for me to finish the MA.  My husband says there's no pressure, but I can feel it. 

Last night I went onto the web site for the professor that teaches the novel writing workshop.  He had a lot of articles with really great advice for new authors.  As I read one of the articles, that little voice got in my head and told me my novels don't and won't ever measure up.  It told me I should stop writing now (I'm at 40K words) and reassess the details of my story before writing another word.  Damn you, little voice!

This weekend, I wrote a few new chapters in a journal, probably 6,000 words or more.  This morning I'm going to completely ignore the voice and type up those chapters.  Once I get to the end, I'll reassess and outline and research and revise. 

For now, I need to get it done.  Because next week I might have homework.

Today I am going to commit myself to the MA program.  I'm going to submit my application.  But first, I'm going to write those chapters. 

49 comments:

  1. It will be a big commitment, but once you make it and start striving for the goal, you'll realize that you really are capable.

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    1. I think once I wrote that check, there's no turning back. Especially with a kid going to college in a year. Beauty part of being a parent is you have to be brave for the kids.

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  2. I've often thought about going to graduate school but never seem to have the guts to actually do it. So good for you for having the courage to do it.

    And I think you should definitely ignore the voice. If I listened to the little voice in my head, I'd never write anything.

    Best of luck with it all.

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    1. The only way to shut it up is to write.

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  3. Honestly, my master's program was a lot easier than my undergrad one. I don't know it it was because of maturity or interest, but I loved it. I hope you love your classes.

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    1. It helps that I'm only taking one at a time and only one day a week.

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  4. I'm cheering for you. Just put one foot in front of the other and don't let the bigger picture scare you away.

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  5. I bet you'll do great in grad school. College is easier when you're older. Adults have better work habits than most young people and the pressure of investing your own money keeps you on task.

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    1. I had that pressure when I was younger too. And it did make a difference. :)

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  6. YOu're going to do great! It's scary going back to school but you'll get into the groove in no time. Good luck!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  7. You will do just great, Tonja. I have found when I did my degree that the individuals who came back to studying after joining the work force, did a lot better then us, the green kids who started studying directly after high school. You have always wanted to do this and you can do this. You are an intelligent woman and you managed to raise your kids, so going back to college will be a walk in the park. Just enjoy the experience.

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  8. You need to invent a character in your head who will shut that other voice up when it gets out of line. Maybe punch it in the nose. Not that I'm advocating violence...well, maybe.

    And good luck. Kind of exciting to be starting a new phase of life, isn't it?

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    1. That's a fantastic idea! I think she'll look like the girl from Brave - same accent and everything. :)

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  9. You will push your craft on. With your output and your classes you get a lot closer to book deals!

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    1. I suspect that it will be a lot like climbing up one of those rope ladders like they use for boot camp (on tv at least). Each step will be difficult, but it's a straight line to where I want to go instead of a long circuitous and less painful one to get to the same place.

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  10. You seem like a strong willed, determined woman. I have no worries over your success. You are going to do great, and go on to do even greater things!! Sending positive vibes your way :D

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    1. Thanks! I can't have enough positive vibes. :)

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  11. Tonja, take a deep breath - you will be fine. I went back to college in my fifties. It was one of the most challenging and amazing experiences of my life. The professors loved me cause I paid attention and asked questions. Of course, i didn't have young children and a family to take care of - just my elderly dad (at the time) and my hubby, but you will do it and do it well.
    Karen

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    1. I'd be surprised if there are a lot of young people in this program - based on the pictures on the web site, I think I'm going to be fitting in just fine. I will report back on that next Monday. I did a little research and found that all of the on-site coffee shops and restaurants are closed on Saturdays. I must remember to stop at starbucks on the way.

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  12. You're going to be fantastic! My mom is back in school right now and she hadn't been in school since the 80s, and she's getting the hang of it. Just wait to get back in stride, and you'll be great! :)

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    1. The first class is an overview intended to level the playing field for people who don't have a BA in English, so I think I'll get up to speed quickly enough.

      When I was in college, I used a typewriter - for a while the non-electric variety. The technology alone should make this easier. :)

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  13. I'm here to abolish your insecurity. Tonja, you are an extremely bright woman. I expect that this return to school will feel like getting on a bike again. In a flash, you will be off and running and exploring the greatest part of your life.

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    1. Well, thank you, Michael, for waving your magic wand in my direction. :)

      FYI - I can't ride a bike. But I know I can write an essay.

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  14. All writers should be deaf! That way they can't hear that tiny voice whispering lies to them! :)

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    1. I'm trying to set the little voice aside.

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  15. You'll do fine, Tonya! You have the mindset and the drive. In many ways, master's program is less tough the undergraduate. It's more project oriented and a lot of group work. Of course, I don't know how that works with the medical field and perhaps that may be more intensive.

    As for your books? You tell a good story--funny and entertaining. Don't start doubting yourself now, sweetie!

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    1. I'm doing creative writing. Nothing medical. I'm too germaphobic for that. :)

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  16. Ignore the voice. He/she must be making their rounds. Ignore, ignore.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

    Believe in your stories.

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    1. LOL. Sorry if yours is acting up too.

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  17. Hey! So happy for you returning to school. You are going to do great. When you start having doubts, just remember how amazing it will feel when you graduate. You can SO DO THIS!

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    1. The image of my kids and husband there at my graduation is enough to push me along. I think I'm going to do it the slow way - one class at a time. My daughter may end up graduating about the same time.

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  18. Don't listen to that little voice! Just keep working... it's amazing what can happen...

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    1. Writing quiets it. I got in about 1200 words this morning.

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    2. Nice!

      But man... you've got your hands full...good luck with everything! I'm exhausted for you!

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  19. I really admire you for doing this, kudos to you for making the commitment! And I agree with LG, create a character who will punch that voice in the nose. I can tell just from your posts that you're a great writer!

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  20. As everyone else says, IGNORE THE VOICE!

    Firstly, in my experience postgraduate anything is very different from first college/university experiences. It's pretty adult (?)(like, in maturity not in certificate of content or anything haha) and I feel like the especially awesome part is everyone you meet definitely and absolutely wants to be there. It's fabulous being surrounded by enthusiasm. I think nerdy amounts of eagerness are infectious and always a good thing!

    <3

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    1. I'm sure that's true about the nerdy eagerness - especially for an English degree in this economy. It's not like we're doing it for the money.

      Apparently if you ignore the voice, it gets louder....

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  21. Sounds exciting and terrifying, all rolled into one. I love school. I get that little voice all the time, too, full of self-doubt, but you'll do great! Good luck.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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  22. Your insecurities sound just like mine - except that I really am in over my head and you just think you are. Hang in there, I believe you'll end up with something amazing.

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    1. LOL. I'm sure you just think you are too. :)

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  23. This is scary and exciting all at once! You'll do great!!

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  24. We're all insecure from time to time, it is what keeps us on our toes. As long as you don't let them paralyse you, you'll do fine.

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