Talk About Motivation!

I graduated with my MFA in Creative Writing a year and a half ago. Since then, my life has not changed much. I write a little more, but not enough. Professionally, I’m still working in education. I had a stint at adjunct teaching at a local community college, but it was ESL, not Composition or Creative Writing. For a while I really wanted to find a job teaching writing on the college level, but 1) I haven’t published enough to get a full-time position; 2) I just cannot handle a full-time job AND adjuncting AND a family; and 3) Honestly I probably make more teaching public school than I would teaching full-time at a community (or maybe even four-year) college.

As far as publishing,  I published more in 2009 and 2010 (i.e., while I was still in school) than I did in 2011. But I didn’t send out many submissions in 2011, either. What I did to in 2011 is blog more, join Twitter, and network with other writers more. I am hoping this will eventually benefit me when it comes to writing, but for now I am really excited to have a cyber community of writer-types!

So all this brings me to today, with my not-quite-finished poetry chapbook, a few fiction works-in-progress, and a amalgam of non-fiction pieces. I’m reading a spiritual memoir right now called Girl Meets God, and it’s really inspired me to write a spiritual memoir. I have a lot of stuff on my blog that I can use, plus I have 40 pages of a manuscript I submitted to a contest that I can use. Initially I was just going to write about my conversion to Orthodoxy, but now I am working on pieces about growing up as a missionary’s kid and the Protestant church (Church of the Nazarene) I was raised in also. I think I have some really good material that can eventually be an interesting spiritual memoir.

Most of my problem is finding time to write. I work full time, so I am gone from the house from 6:45 to 4:00ish each day. When I get home, I try to devote time to my kids, catch up on laundry, cook supper, etc. While I sometimes blog or surf the net during the kids’ one hour of TV every night, I rarely write until after they have gone to bed. However, there are many nights that I go to bed right after the kids go to bed. Meaning, in bed by 8:30, asleep by 9:00. Pitiful!! But I’ve been getting up at 4:30 to try to exercise, so I’m pretty beat by 9:00.

Whine, whine. I know.

But. I now have a little more motivation. My husband is writing a book proposal. He and his friend have a good – well, let’s just say it – great idea for a book about the Christian faith for teenagers. As in an idea that will probably fly, a book that will probably sell.

And if my husband publishes a book before I do, I’m going to be so pissed!!!! I’m the one with the MFA! I’m the one who’s been writing since age seven!!!

Sorry. Calming down now.

One word: Motivation.


  1. c van gorkom says:

    Karissa, finding a balance in our lives is something we all struggle with, so I can deeply sympathize. Somehow quiet times for meditation and prayer has to be part of the mix as well, and it is during those times I find that so many life-details fall seamlessly into place.

  2. Kevin Marshall Chopson says:

    If you want to be a writer … dare I say a “real” writer … you get up at 4:30 a.m. and write, not exercise. Or, you are up until 4:30 in the morning and drag yourself into work for the most unproductive day-gig day of your life. Writing is an ugly business. If you do it the way it should be done, the way any artist lives his or her life, you will not strive to be in shape, or, sad to say, to even be a consistently good, helpful, and deligent family member. Your “real job” may suffer. To get to the good stuff inside of you, it takes a great deal of sacrifice, otherwise, whether it’s you, or me, or hundreds of others, we’re just going through the motions. This is hard to say, people don’t like to hear it, but it’s the truth. Good writing, good art, comes at a tremendous cost. Everything must be sacrificed.

    Kevin Marshall Chopson

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