What’s your worst case scenario as a creator?  Describe your “horror” or worst fear and try to embrace it. Then ask yourself, So What? Could you survive it anyway? And is it worth the risk?

My worst case scenario as a creator  is falling into the plan my father has made for me. He loves me and is naturally concerned about my future. we still argue about having a career in writing and how even being an English teacher doesn’t promise financial success. this is coming from a man who was the first to graduate with a college degree from his family, worked hard all his life and eventually reached the top of his career working for the government. It’s all he knows, which I understand, but having such a logical thinker, who calculates salary and achievements above overall happiness is a struggle. Especially when others applaud my creativity and he still dismisses it as a hobby.

So my “horror” story would be to wake up every day, wear the same suit to work, flash a badge and sit behind a desk analyzing records whether criminal, political or concerning mail fraud. That’s what he hears when i mention editing or proofreading. Me, sitting behind a desk, staring at a screen and reading information that i don’t understand.

Could I survive this? No. not after everything I’ve done and continue to do in order to erase this future. I just remind myself of all my accomplishments:

  • Working towards my second masters, an MFA
  • Receiving a GA position at the school and getting “promoted” next semester
  • Immersing myself in conferences, one of which is the Iowa Writers Festival this Summer
  • Two published authors have told me I have what it takes
  • I’m beginning to write every day and reading a lot more then I used to
  • I’m happy with the person, the writer, I’m becoming

Now please understand that my father is not a bad person. Note he thinks in numbers and calculations while I think in words. Despite mentioning working for the government he is showing more signs of joining me on a more creative journey. For example, we will both be attending the Writers Festival in Iowa and he even wants to sit in on a couple of panel discussions. he also reads the stories I write and is amazed with the ideas I come up with and how I apply them to the page.

So I’ve taken control of my worse fear because, while it worked for my father, that career would suffocate me in misery. My dad continues to be supportive but the final step is to prove that writing can be my life, working for a publishing company while writing flash fiction, short stories and novels.


Describe a disappointing experience in your life and three lessons (positive AND negative) learned as a result of being changed by it. Add one positive after one negative and tell it like a story vs. a list.


They all came the same week, the printed words stuffed into narrow envelops:

After careful consideration of your application, I regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you a place in the Class of 2018.

The worst was being rejected from my Alma Mater for a second time after applying to their MFA program. I had written each essay to the qualifications of the school, MFA or PhD. I wrote why I would be an excellent candidate, took the GRE three times, keeping in mind that the English and Essay sections were the most important. Recommendation letters from all the teachers who knew something of my work ethic were submitted on time but still…

I regret to inform you…

Then the subtle messages replayed in my head, the teachers asking if i was sure a PhD was what I really wanted. Did they already know? How did they see so clearly what was destined to happen to me? people asking why i wanted a PhD when my field didn’t require one? why put myself through four more years of school?

We are unable to offer you a place…

My teachers saw my love for learning and decided to try and encourage a different path. One mentioned a low-residency program he works for and told me to apply. In the summer, after sending his one final application, I feared what would happen next. My essays could have been better, more scholarly. I was blinded by the title to fully understand the weight of my decision. My scores on the GRE could have been better than the minimum requirements. All he should haves caused me to ignore the truth, that maybe it wasn’t meant to be.

So I sat and stewed in my guilt and stupidity, mourning the ending of my educational career. I stayed that way for days until the phone rang, the final school i applied to scrolling across the orange lit screen. When I answered, the woman on the other end was cheerful so i thought I was the first rejection of the day.

After careful consideration, I am pleased to welcome you…

Her voice consumed by cheers, applause and dinner plans.