How not to be a writer.

May 13, 2010 — Leave a comment

Create a program in creative writing. Do it well. Make stuff. Have students make stuff, like books. Have events. Have students read at events. Have fun teaching and talking with students. Fight for every penny, fight for every underpaid colleague, fight for funding. Spend hours — twelve of them — writing an application for a teaching award. Get disqualified because you won the year before even though the policy about not winning two years in a row hasn’t been officially passed yet. Spend your first precious, hard-earned hours of summer writing a grant proposal so you only have to ask for money this one time instead of for every ten dollars you need, to the point that you just cough up your own ten dollars again and again until you’re broke. Schedule, like, three additional meetings to make sure everyone thinks it’s okay that you applied for such an ambitious grant when you were encouraged in an earlier meeting by an administrator to apply for an ambitious grant. Revise your proposal and send it to one committee to get approval before you send it to the next committee. Hear immediately from all members except the most important one.

M.C. Escher: Relativity

Tomorrow you will send it to the next committee. Brace yourself for their reply. Whatever you do, definitely do not revise the novella you meant to revise in time for the deadline you meant to meet because it’s way more important to ask for money to do more work when you have a slightly higher chance of getting the money than you do of getting your novella published through this particular contest. Listen to good music the whole time you write the grant proposal. How else will you convince yourself that you are passing your time in a worthwhile manner?

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