2016, Archives, December 2016, The MFA Years

Change is Inevitable

I have never been a strong proponent of change.  In fact, I have gone to extremes to not have to change.  Nothing frightens me more.  However, being a writer is one place that I must accept change because without it, I lessen my chances of writing a masterpiece.  This isn’t an easy thing to do especially after I’ve poured my heart out on 50 pages of prose only to be suggested my mentor to scratch it all.  In my past writing semester, this is exactly what happened.  However, I didn’t realize until later into the semester that mentor was struggling as much as I in the process.  I felt supported.

The project I’m working on is a spiritual memoir.  My original idea was to write my traumatic experiences growing up in a home that eventually created PTSD in me.  Then I was going to explain how I found a God that I could relate to.  The more we talked, the more my mentor felt that my dog’s story was the story that needed to  be written.  This wasn’t something I wanted to hear.  My dog passed away 4 years ago and only now am I able to look at her and remember her without tears.  However, it was still something I didn’t want to have to go back and look at.  It was far too painful.

After a few weeks, my mentor’s suggestion began to make sense.  The format would change, but my passion for my dog would keep me moving through the story. The more I thought about it, the more I could  see how much more effective it would be than what I had first started out writing.  My mentor told me once that when you are on the right story, it will write itself and there will be no more struggle.  When she made this statement, I wasn’t sure if I could believe her.  But, when finally accepting the change, the story began to pour out of me on to page after page.  I knew she was absolutely correct.

Change is inevitable.  I believe it is more so when writing a masterpiece.  I have discovered that change isn’t to be feared, but welcomed.  Much like the strenuous ordeal and resistance writers feel when beginning to edit their work, changing a manuscript around to something totally different can be disturbing if one does not embrace the beauty that has yet to come out when all the changes have been completed.

Prior to starting the MFA program, I read The Courage to Write by Ralph Keyes.  After reading this book, I felt so much stronger as a writer, but also as an editor of my own work.  Suddenly I noticed that I had no more fear or resistance to making my project better.  When going through the frustration and confusion of rewriting my  book, I had to return to Keyes’s wise words.  I began to feel courage pulse through me and I realized that only through change can a manuscript become valuable enough to be shown to the world.  However, just like rosebuds that need to be nurtured, it takes work and times of frustration for the bud to bloom into something far more beautiful.

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