Rachel Thompson has a great post about why writers should blog, and one of the biggest reasons they don’t.
It’s fear. Big surprise, right?
They’re scared that their writing sucks. They’re scared no one will read their writing, even if it is good. They’re scared that they’ll never finish a book.
Or, they’re scared about going back to school.
Like I am.
I’m approaching 50 way too quickly (94 days!). I should have been wondering about retirement options by now, at least based on the old way of life. My dad retired when he was 65. There’s no way I’ll be able to retire at that age. It’s largely my fault because of decisions I’ve made, but then again, the world we live in is different from the world my dad lived in.
At any rate, I’ve not been able to find much reasonable or sustainable work these last few years. I had a good-paying manufacturing job back in 2008, but that got sent to Mexico. Since then, I haven’t worked more than about nine months at a time. That’s not supporting my family. (Thank you, God, for parents that planned for a stupid kid.)
A friend of mine – a disabled vet – sang the praises of VA Vocational Rehab. One program they have will pay your college tuition costs as well as a small stipend for up to four years of college. So I filled out the paperwork and met with a counselor.
He explained that Voc Rehab will help me gain the education to meet a particular job goal. Then he basically asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told him “a writer.” But Voc Rehab doesn’t pay for self-employment types of goals. I chewed that over for a bit, then found a couple of PR-type positions that looked really interesting. One of them was for a semi-custom gun manufacturer. That would be really cool. I hope it’s available when I graduate.
So we wrote up a plan for me to attend Tulsa Community College’s AA program in Strategic Communication. It’s designed as a transfer program, so that I can easily transfer to a four-year school and pick up another bachelor’s degree.
Another? That’s what makes my decision even more interesting. Realistically, I should be thinking about a Master’s degree at this age. I originally attended college right out of high school, and learned early on how much freedom you have at college. You have the freedom to choose certain courses. You have the freedom to not attend those classes. You have the freedom to make stupid decisions concerning alcohol. Yeah. I left Miami of Ohio with a 0.56 GPA. Shout out to anyone from Stanton Hall 3d Floor in 83-84.
I ended up on the 14-year college plan, graduated from DeVRY with a 3.64 GPA (Magna Cum Laude, thank you very much) that also included classes from two other schools.
Classes start August 15th at TCC. I met with an academic adviser Friday, and he told me with a sad look that most of my credits from DeVRY probably won’t transfer. He said that’s a big problem with the for-profit schools. They’re typically nationally accredited, and non-profit schools want regional accreditation. Sigh. Transcripts are on the way from my other schools, but everything is moving by mail. I’ve got unofficial copies, but those don’t count.
It’s going to be tight.
In the meantime, I’m sweating all sorts of things. Like driving from Muskogee to Tulsa multiple times a week. Like being a fifty-year-old in a class of eighteen- to twenty-year-olds. Like finding out I’m not nearly as smart about tech stuff as I thought I was, or that my writing really does suck. Like finding out that used textbooks for two classes total $300. Thank goodness for the VA, but man, that’s a lot of money. But it’s for a good cause. I hope.
And the writing courses I’ll be taking should end up helping my fiction, right? That’s my story, anyway.