How I Completed the Third Draft! Part 2: The Master's Degree

Published Monday, March 30, 2015 8:29 PM
So the first thing I did was stop writing. There was no point. All that trying and accomplishing nothing, thinking about the book constantly but having not time to work on it. I was making myself miserable. I focused on immediate task at hand and spent the fall of 2013 and spring of 2014 finishing my Master's Degree and as of May of last year, I have an M.Ed. after my name (Master's of Education: Secondary English Curriculum and Instruction, if anyone's asking).

My worry was that the novel would fade into the background. That I would never pick it up again. That after my degree was done I'd want a break and that break would be the rest of my life. Sheesh, pretty over-dramatic stuff, huh? Then again, I suppose deep-seated fears about failure and the loss of dreams would come out sounding a bit melodramatic. Confirmation that I was doing the right thing and that writing was my true passion came to me in the persistence of vision. All throughout that year, I possessed the same thoughts and drive: I was finishing my degree merely as an interim, it was an obstacle to be overcome and a means to an end. Recently, a friend was bragging about me to some of her other friends as way of introduction: "he has twins, a job, got his master's, AND wrote a book!" Little do most know that I view the second to last in that last, as merely a step in achieving the very last. As much as planning and drafting and providing feedback, my Master's Degree was just another step in that process.

Partly, as I've explained, because I had to do it before I could rest the time to finish the damn thing, but also, in learning to teach writing, I've become a vastly better writer. As much as the numerous hours in workshop at FSU, I've bettered myself by the time spent reading Peter Elbow and Donald Graves and Barry Lane, as well as by the time I spent in Room 211 of Steinbrenner High School, trying to get 10th graders to pass state assessments or show young people the power and possibility or writing in my Creative Writing Classes.

To teach is to know, right?

Until next time...

by DMI
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