• Thomas Gaffney

This is The End; My Only Friend; The End

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

I've been listening to a lot of The Doors lately. The two-CD The Best of The Doors set is one of my go-to playlists when I need some writing inspiration. I don't know why, but writing comes easier when I'm listening to The Doors. At some point, I'm going to curate a playlist or two based on my books or stories (I have one I listened to when I wrote my manuscript of IRIS, but I might need to change that up when I change up the book). When I do, I'm sure I'll blog about them here (along with links). In the meantime, the title of his post comes from The End which appears on this Doors collection.

It also describes my time at Southern New Hampshire University. This is the end, my friend. After almost two years (that do NOT feel like two years), i have about ten weeks of classes remaining. And it's scary. For starters, this is Module 7 (of 8) for my New Media: Writing/Publishing class and while I've done well in the previous modules, this one is for 40% of the final grade, and I'm sweating it. In fact, I'm writing this post to give some insight into my current writing/school situation, fulfill my two-times-a-week blogging schedule, and punch up my website/blog for the final project due Sunday night. While I began this blogging for the sole purpose of passing this class, I like it. And I'll continue doing it. It's writing but a nice break from working on a short story or a manuscript. It's basically like sitting down to write a Draft Zero. You're not thinking about plot, or connecting loose ends, or finding the perfect word/phrase. You're in front of your keyboard or pad and just vomiting words onto the page or screen without a care in the world. It is (despite the image I just put in your heads) freeing and refreshing. To be able to write anything without a care in the world is like a dream come true. I keep telling myself I'm going to spit out a draft zero for the next story I work on, but I still find myself overthinking the structure, pace, and plot. It takes me a long time to write. Even when I have The Doors on and I'm on a good kick, I still only get around four to five thousand words on my best days. I think it was Sarah J. Maas who said she could do ten thousand words in a day, and my head exploded.

And, as you can see, that was a tangent that I would have to cut out—or rearrange the whole post—if I wasn't just letting my fingers do the typing. But back to school… I have Module 7 and 8, and then I am done with this class. My final semester, I have two classes for eight weeks, and then I graduate. After that, I still won't be where I want to be as a writer, so I'm pushing on with education and (if you've seen any of my previous blog posts) trying to get into a MFA program. I've completed the application for Emerson College, and I'm looking at other schools like the University of Pittsburgh, Temple University, Chatham University, Carlow University, SNHU, and Wilkes University. My fingers are crossed for Emerson, and I hope that having a Bram Stoker Award-winning author write a recommendation letter helps. I feel like I've had an easy ride the past few semesters with Fiction Writing Workshop classes (I love writing and critiquing) and those classes flew by with easy A's. But I'm going to have to buckle down with reading and studying and papers for these last two classes and then really focus on doing the best I can in grad school. I can't remember the last time I ever took school so seriously. Never?

I've touched on my desire to write a draft zero, as well as the Fiction Writing Workshops I've taken the past few semesters, but as I close out my post, I'd to like to give some updates on some of the things I've been working on. SHADOW (from one of my SNHU classes) appears in the July issue of Bards & Sages Quarterly. I should be getting the proof for the issue by the end of May, so I can look it over for any printing errors. That will be EXCITING as I've never had that experience before. The Dread Machine emailed me a copy of EVE before it was published, but this will be a little different. Besides that, I have three more stories finished for FEARS, SCARES, & OTHER NIGHTMARES. Two of them need to be edited. The third, I had some people look over it as a developmental edit. I finished the story and really wasn't sure how it looked or felt overall. I started another story for the collection the other day (before I got sidetracked by my Emerson application), and today I got the start of an idea for a different story. I might work on both of these stories tomorrow once I finish part 2 of this week's assignment for school. Either way, I have to keep up with the self-motivation to get these short stories written without classes to push me. My goal is to have them all done by September or October so I can prep the book to be self-published in December. Hopefully before Christmas. Once I'm done that, I'm sure I'll be focused on writing a novel for whatever MFA program I get into.

Keep writing!

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