This is the authentic voice of an old woman who hopes she has learned some things to share. It is about transformation. It is becoming our true selves. It is finally about returning to Oneness.
It is also about writing and recovery.
SIX OF ONE, HALF A DOZEN OF ANOTHER: WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
I discovered a great way to meet friendly bloggers, make a little AdSense money, have fun writing with some new ways of looking at things, and get my blog links out there and pick up some new readers. It's called Seeded Buzz.com (MsRefusenik has spent many a mellow day into evening with seeded buzzes, and can tell you all about them. She was always getting taken advantage of by unscrupulous teenage pot dealers who sold her lids that were mostly seeds.).
Seriously, it's a community of bloggers who share their content ideas and writing goals with each other. The benefit of these friendships and idea and writing exchanges are increased subscribers, followers, revenue, backlinks, new writing opportunities, new topics to add your two cents to, and a place to get guest hosts to freshen up your blog and get some new perspective once in a while.
There are two parts to how you do all of the above, which I won't get into now or it will take the focus off what I am supposed to be doing with this post, which is "planting a seed" (a.k.a. providing linkbait.)
I read a very thoughtful, interesting, well-written post by a young woman trying to make a big decision and asking for help with it. My job now is to write a post about this piece and link to it.
This will help Lauren Holgate, the young woman, with her decision about whether she wants to incur loan debt by accepting a place on the January roster of MFA Fiction Program students that begins in January 2011, or work on the debt she already has and try some of her other goals such as opening a coffeehouse. You can read her post here.
Well, Lauren didn't count on her post being seeded by another B.A. in English writer who wants to write and publish books. (And has started three different graduate programs at three different universities and dropped out of all of them.) And what she couldn't possibly have known, but may now finding interesting, is that seven years after graduating from high school I read an article in the newspaper that said that with the 1972 changes in federal education legislation it was now possible for anyone who wanted to attend college to go regardless of finances. I took them at their word, registered at a nearby university and became an honors student for four years, winning many unexpected grants and scholarships.
Further, today, at 61 year-years-old, having discovered my life's purpose more completely, I am about to apply for financial aid as well as apply for grants and scholarships to attend graduate school in April 2011 in a totally new career direction. The kicker is that I live solely on Social Security disability, and can barely afford to eat and buy my meds from month to month, no less afford a luxury item like grad school. But I have learned that anything is possible with God so I might as well dream dream big
Lauren wrote out an interesting, semi-realistic (how much does debt does she think she would take on in opening a coffeehouse?), goals list of the top five things she wants to accomplish by age 35. And guess what? Getting a master's degree in writing, or fiction, or in anything does not make the cut to the top five. It only shows up way at the bottom in what she calls "flexible goals" and explains that this means she might change her mind about them. And even then it is snuggled in close to "become a personal fitness instructor." (because she loves to work out), and "go to an outdoor black and white movie."
Now Lauren's husband. Tim, is in grad school himself, and they had a son, Isaac, before she finished her B.A., which brought on more debt than they were ready to take on.
She sounds like she really hates the very idea of any new debts, a good choice considering that that small baby will soon be needing money for education, more health care visits, larger wardrobes, dental work, haircuts, books and school supplies, maybe orthodontics, entertainment and dining out money, and on and on until he hits college age and the bottom drops out in their post-retirement years unless he wins a total-package scholarship.
As Lauren herself says, "unknowns" do get published (I guess she means regular writers who don't put "M.A." after their bylines), and she can, too, if she writes well. Good writing has absolutely nothing to do with taking writing courses, judging from the educational backgrounds of some of the finest writers in the world. Writers write. That's how you get good. If she writes, and writes authentically and from the heart, she will no doubt find someone willing to publish her.
If you want to make money off of writing, you don't need a master's degree or even a bachelor's degree, to be a freelance writer. You can get paid for publishing in magazines and other print and online publications, pr you can, and Lauren could write e-books and print books.
My advice to Lauren, as someone who has lived and continues to live the anything is possible dream ticket on education, career and life's work, is if she really, really wants to get this master's degree--and she'd better really want it more than going to listen to a big band ("if there are such things as big band bars"). Because once she hits the wall of all those graduate level hours and hours of reading, writing that will take her away from her husband and infant, she may want to drop out if she isn't fully motivated and committed. If this is only something she's doing because she thinks it will look good, and she only wants it about as bad as she wants to go to a drive-in movie, she is going to definitely going to drop out and leave a mess of debt and unfulfilled commitments. Besides, no one likes being quitter.
Let Tim be the grad student in the family for now. She can always go later if she decides it's something she wants as much as one of her top five goals like, say, learning to play tennis.
In the meantime, she appears to be a good writer and loves to write, so why wait to earn an income from writing? As long as she is working at home already, she can sign up with an agency such as Elance.com, Sologig.com, or My Guru.com and find some gigs she can do as a freelance writer. You can make good money on Elance I know for sure, if you are ambitious and bid on a lot of jobs.
She should get a copy of the most recent Writer's Market and get to know the markets and start reading the publications she's interested in submitting to so she knows their style and what they're looking for. You can make really good money writing magazine articles or blogging if you choose your markets well.
Start publishing and selling some e-books today. Download any one of hundreds of free "How to Write, Publish and Sell Your E-book" e-books, pick a topic, write your outline, and get writing.
There are countless ways to make money as a writer. She could write music and CD reviews, since it sounds like she's into music. She could write reviews of products, services, books, movies and organizations and their services. She could get a job in television, movies, promotion, or drop out of writing for others, and try writing a television show or a screenplay.
And yes, as someone mentioned, she could have written a novel in 30 days with the rest of the thousands competing with all of us who are writing furiously (or not) in the NaNovWriMo contest. I don't have that many words as my NaNovWriMo word count. She could start today, bypass me and win the contest with the thousands others who will be winning. I won last year, and I never thought I would achieve my goal of writing a novel.
And if she is determined to not lose the money she has already invested with the University, she should spend all of her free time researching scholarships and grants. That's what I have been doing. I found entire long lists of some I'm eligible for by virtue of being "elderly," a woman, in recovery from some of my diseases and conditions, having adult attention deficit disorder, and many more. It just takes patience and time. They are out there going to waste if no one finds them and claims them. There are surely some for which she is eminently eligible. Maybe her Dad being in the military, or her Mother's work offers something. Perhaps her bank, her community, her church, or organizations she belongs to. Her former high school might help give her suggestions and leads on some. Start looking and you and Lauren wil find some.
Finally, if she still can't make a decision, give the decision to the Divine, to whomever or whatever her power greater than herself is, to the Universe, to synchronicity, to the Cosmos, and then pay close attention and listen deeply for her answer. It will come. There are three possible answers: Yes. No. Wait. Take one and accept it.
Lauren, I hope you publish several bestsellers, open that coffee house, learn to play tennis like a pro, travel the world and end up living some place remote and exotic, and make a hundred records, all of them big sellers, if that's important to you, and many more dreams come true that you haven't even discovered yet. May you learn your true life's purpose while you are young enough to fully pursue it. May you find lifelong bliss doing what you love and making a living at it.
What do the rest of you think? Go over to Seeded Buzz and Plant Your Seed.
Writing Fiction Class at Southern New Hampshire University
Note: Readers are welcome to read the original article and comment on it, but, as I understand it, no further seeds are invited to be planted on this post.