MFA Achievement: Check

Funny how quickly we write off our triumphs and focus our energy on the next level, the next goal we have.

As a writer, it’s so difficult to decide I’ll take a day off. I’ll celebrate my achievement, because there’s always something else I could be working on. Another story I could try to get published, a revision that might just make my novel finally work in a better way.

A couple days ago I posted, at the end of a post completely unrelated that I had big news that I would divulge the next day. Now, here I am, three days later, and just now remember that I didn’t divulge said info.

So, that big news is this: I have finally “finished” my thesis, and first novel. It’s gotten the go ahead from my thesis adviser and my second reader. This means I will finally, without a doubt, graduate with my MFA in creative writing on August 13th, this summer.

Now, how much did I celebrate when I heard this news? I told my partner and she congratulated me, and I felt really good about myself for about an hour or so. And here’s the kicker–I then just forgot all about it. I pushed it to the back of my mind and started working on other pieces I’ve been wanting to work on.

The victory wasn’t celebrated in the least. I didn’t toast with friends and champange (though that might come on actual graduation) and I didn’t go out for dinner. I just wrote more. Maybe this is because I’m still a relatively new, young, writer. But maybe it’s because my writing is the thing I enjoy the most (cycling is a close second), and no matter how accomplished I become I’ll always want to come back to my keypad and lay down the framework for a new story, a new novel, an essay, because when I write something new, something I think is interesting and good, it makes me feel more alive than any celebration can. Then I show it to a friend and they ask me how long it is before they start reading and I tell them not to read it.

Isn’t that the more offensive part of being a writer? When someone says they’ll read something of yours and when you go to give them the piece they ask how long it is? A reader in a bookstore doesn’t buy the book because it is long or short, they buy it because the story looks good.

Anyway–off track.

What I’ve been trying to say is this: celebrate your achievements. Don’t shrug them off or leave them to stew. If you’ve done something of note, let people know. I’m so excited to not be a student anymore. It’s been about 3.5 years since I entered this program, and now–finally–I’m ready to be done.