The DecisionDeciding to become a writer was one of the most pivotal moments in my life.
I'd always written little stories, journal entries, bad poetry, but becoming a writer was a commitment to a way of life.
It happened in the winter of 2004. I had just finished a challenging three-year Masters of Divinity, a program I struggled through because I never felt the same passion as the students around me, but I wanted to, and thought that I should.
After graduating, an opportunity to housesit for a year became available, which meant I only had to work part time. I painted, kayaked and started a novel with the rest of my time. It was an amazing year. It also awakened an actual passion in me, one I never felt in my studies before. I fell in love with writing and devoured every chance to learn more.
It happened that a nearby university was hosting a weekend MFA program open house, complete with several lectures and readings. I'd never attended anything like it but I was in awe every minute of it. For the first time in my life I sat in a room full of people who cared about writing as much as I did. I was not alone. I began to consider the possibility of going back to school yet again, this time for an MFA in creative writing, but I had a hard time trusting my gut that it was the right decision. Not to mention it would mean I would need to start earning a lot more money in order to afford it.
Then a moment came during the weekend program when I looked around me at all the people there and realized: I didn't know a single person in my life who had an MFA. It wouldn't be following in anyone's footsteps. And it wasn't something I had internalized as something I should want to do. I just actually, genuinely, authentically wanted it. The desire was from inside me. It was the first moment of recognizing myself as a writer.
I got a real job to earn real money and got an MFA. My studies were an incredibly rich experience of joy and thirsty learning. I have had to have a"real job" ever since to fund my pursuit and many times I've had to come back to that deciding moment to remind myself why I have chosen a life of much more rejection than acceptance.
But then this year something wonderful happened: I got laid off. Through savings, severance and wise spending, I get to enjoy a year of writing. It's something I would never have the guts to do if I hadn't learned how to trust my gut in the first place.
by Christin Rice
San Francisco, CA