Anxiety and worry, stress and fury

Today is stressful. I feel a heavy anxiety weighing on me. I feel like I need to be doing everything and nothing all at once. No, this is not boredom. This is a stress that stems from my upcoming online graduate class that I have to read and annotate two novels for. I have chosen my two novels. I just have to get them approved. I feel like I should begin reading one, but there is the uncertainty of not having the green light on the book and, though no book is a waste of time, I would not be putting my efforts toward my upcoming class in as constructive a manner as I would like to. I did e-mail the professor to find out how early was too early to submit our choices for approval. I anticipate a response tonight or tomorrow. She is extremely prompt in her replies. I also asked her how she prefers to be addressed, which I only think is natural, given that she may or may not prefer a title, being a writer herself. Some people do and some people do not, so I asked the question. At least that will ease my anxiety a bit to know what she prefers to be called. It sounds like a small detail, but every little bit counts, here. Anxiety is no joke!

I obtained a copy of the classic work of fiction that I hope to get approved at Barnes and Noble today. I also ended up buying two literary journals. One is called “Popshot Quarterly”, and is a British publication that features new writers’ short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. I have been enjoying reading that one this afternoon, and actually subscribed to it so that I may know when submissions are due. It holds promise for me to potentially be published at some point. The other publication is “American Short Fiction” and seems to be a different breed of journal. The neat part about “Popshot Quarterly” is that the issues are themed. Though “American Short Fiction” does not seem to be themed “proper”, it also has a common thread that runs through the stories that I see published in it. It may or may not be semi-themed, editor style. I am rather excited by what I see in “Popshot Quarterly” thus far. Of course, I would have to write a submission to match the theme coming up, which has yet to be announced, but breaking into the “published” world would be a nice element to be able to put on my resumé concerning my future applications to the MFA program at SNHU. I know that they do not know about my extensive writing history, but how can they? They do not ask! A new Personal Statement is in order–one tailored to the MFA program. That is in the future, though. Right now, I have a graduate class in creative writing to worry about! It begins in a mere 11 days and we are going to hit the ground running, I am sure.

Part of the anxiety I feel is about doing well in this graduate writing course. I know that nobody starts out being great at writing. I still want to do well and not make stupid mistakes, though, which I probably will. All of the citations for research have to be MLA style. I have not looked at MLA style since I was in high school! I have used APA style since 2001! I have looked at it, and I have the manual, but it does not make much sense to me. We need one universal citation style. I firmly believe that. Having Chicago style and APA style and MLA style and all of these other styles is ridiculous! Just have one universal citation style so that everyone knows how to find the information they are looking for. Would that not be simpler than all of this bickering about whose style is best? So, MLA style it is, I guess, until this universal citation style of mine comes to fruition. I hope that the writing gods smile upon me in the rest of my creative endeavors as well…

I wish there was a way to calm my worried mind about learning how to write, but there is not. It is like anything else. It is a hands-on, full-contact sport that you only learn by doing. That is why I am paying for an education in it. I want to learn how to do it properly so that I can break all of the rules if I so choose, and so that I can hopefully get published. Getting published would not be for the money, but instead for the satisfaction of having written something that others deem worthy of being read on a broad scale. Money? It is nice, but it is not the sum total of an idea, by any means! I enjoy writing, and that is what I would continue to pursue–the enjoyment and happiness that writing brings me. If I can look at the whole thing from that perspective, then things do not seem as stressful and worrisome. We will see how I feel about my first critiqued piece that comes back marked up and marred with red ink, bleeding like a stuck pig…

Criticism. That is another thing that I am afraid of. I will have to get over that fear very quickly in this writing program, though, because writing is all about being critiqued and criticized, reviewed and redirected. It is all a matter of opinion, and I have to make sure that my opinion does not get lost in the suggested revisions of others. I want my voice to come through and be heard. I want my ideas and my views to be present in my stories. Others can write their own stories if they want to be heard so badly, but I will not allow them to usurp my voice in my own stories. Period.

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