Sunday, September 21, 2014

What's Next for The Writing Life? Upcoming The Writing Life Season

As I prepare for a new season and new possible directions for The Writing Life, I took some time to reflect on the things I've learned these past three seasons.

The top of the list:
1. Write because you love it.
2. Write because you need to.
3. Publish because you have something to say.
4. The story is the most important element.
5 Without characters, there is no story.
6. Challenge yourself as a writer.
7. Challenge readers.
8. Write

Catch up with The Writing Life interviews here.
What did you learn from the interview season? What questions would you like me to ask future guests? Comment below.

What's new this season? This season I'll be interviewing emerging writers as they showcase their work on the show. I'm looking for poets, short story writers, playwrights, novelists and Creative Nonfiction writers: any one with a story to share.

Want to get involved? Leave a comment here, contact me through the station or Tweet me on Twitter: @YBattleFelton 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

One Class at a Time: Back to School for Moms and Dads too

I started my adult learner education when I was in my 20’s. It was around 2002. I had two children, worked full time and it had been almost a decade since my last attempt at pursuing my education.

“What about your kids?” Friends asked. “Who’s going to take care of them while you’re in class?”

It wasn’t like I was going traipsing around town, I was taking evening classes at a community college.

“Their dad,” I answered.

“What if they need you?”

“What if someone gets hurt?”

“What if…”

I was leaving them with a capable adult. No one asked what if when I went to work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week but the decision to go to school sparked quite a few discussions. Why are you so angry about me going back to school? I wondered. 

I didn’t ask. 

No answer would have been enough to stop me from going back to school. People thought I was selfish to choose my education. That’s as ridiculous to me now as it was then. How can pursuing my goals while providing for my children be wrong? Where is it written that in order for my family to succeed I must do without?

I went back to school.

I started out with two classes at a local community college. I was so excited to be back in a college classroom that I didn’t pay much attention to my fellow students. I didn’t participate in any activities, groups, organizations or societies. With two children, a husband, a full-time job and homework, I didn’t have a lot of time to experience college anywhere but inside the classroom.

A few semesters later I was going to school full-time. Then I transferred to University of Maryland University College (UMUC). I took classes both online and on campus. In 2005 I had my third child. In 2006 I graduated from UMUC and started my Master’s program at John’s Hopkins.

Over my academic career I have learned as much about myself as I have about my studies.

While pursuing my Master’s I continued to work full-time, raised three children as a married-single mother, and added a Nonfiction Concentration to my Fiction degree. I went to Florence for a class, Chicago for a conference and to Iowa for a workshop. Later that year I took my children with me to Breadloaf. In 2008 I divorced.

My education has been good for all of us.

Now my children and I are in the UK while I pursue a Creative Writing PhD. While being a single mother of three I engage in the student experience as a full-time student. I am writing a novel. I work part-time, teach, write and I host a campus radio show. I host events I want to attend and organize events I want to see.
I am crafting a life of creativity, purpose, love, inspiration, hope and I couldn’t do it without the support of my family.

If you are wondering whether or not you can balance family, work and school, I believe you can. Will it be hard? Yes. Will you sleep less? Yes. Will it be worth it?

Yes.


Enroll today. The future begins with one class.