Slowly, February, slowly, I’m not as spry as I once was

A week into my membership in the MFA Draft ’11 Facebook group, I’m finding that the community that’s meant to alleviate anxiety is becoming for me a waiting room of fidgety obsessives. I do love these people—they are my peers and fellow fledgling writers—and enjoy participating in the discussions, ranging from topical (what kind of writing do you do?) to the tangential (favorite bands). And there are many in there who offer level-headed conversation, levity, and clear-eyed optimism.

But I’m finding it hard to write with the anticipation of looming acceptances and rejections. This group is fuel for worry. According to historical data Syracuse, Wyoming, and Cornell all notify in early February. According to statistics I have only a 0.02 percent chance of. Based on the past acceptances of Jewish Males ages 29-33 woh are married but have no kids and write narrative fiction I have a one in twenty… O what does it mean, what does it mean! And what about Austin, Michigan, UMass, Montana, Brown, Minnesota, Johns Hopkins, Irvine, Iowa, and Oregon? Tell me, gods, give me a sign!

Really, I have to shut this down. At least for a designated few hours a day. I have to balance writing with work and now also going to the gym three or four days a week and doing household chores and errands and cooking meals and keeping some room set aside for the sheer lovely randomness of everyday life.

The best advice someone could give me right now is to ignore the chatter, accept the limbo, and just write. So…

I’ve started to transcribe what I’ve written so far of this story into a notepad, which I will now take with me to a coffee shop, preferably one without WiFi, to continue to write longhand, with … ahem … laserlike focus. When they are ready for me, schools will notify me.

I also intend to throw a few other irons in the proverbial fire, sketching out a couple other new pieces so that my choice becomes spending my time on one or the other, rather than a choice between writing and not writing. Meantime, my new friend, reader, and fellow writer Blake Kimzey noted that I am looking to publish some of my recent pieces, so maybe I’ll spend some attention on that now. He suggested I check out Anyone else ever use this? Aside from Glimmer Train and Tin House, dear readers, does anyone have any recommendations for publications that may be interested in my material, based on what they’ve read?




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  1. I think you have too much time on your hands. You could not think about grad programs while finishing the raking or folding the laundry.:)

  2. Zak,

    I’m pretty sure we applied to the same schools (except Austin and UMass). Maybe we’ll end up at the same program. Also, I feel you on the trying to stay away from the constant FB and MFA Blog updates. Can drive one mad.

    The other thing I want to mention about Duotrope is they have one of those features where you can see where people who have submitted to Tin House or Glimmer Train have also sent stories (and been accepted). That might point you in the right direction on what other journals to submit to, journals that have a similar aesthetic for what you’re going for.


  3. I’m a huge fan of Duotrope. I try to send out a piece or two every month or so, and have often spent a happy evening using Duotrope to find journals, read some excellent work online, and submit my own meager prose.

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