Yesterday I had a meeting with Jeanette Lynes, the coordinator for the University of Saskatchewan’s MFA in Writing program. We had a nice chat. The program seems very rigorous and should I be accepted I would be able to do nothing else with life, but work and write. Which sounds pretty good, actually. The fact that I have an actual book I want to write was good. A few people have contacted Dr. Lynes about the program with the intent of becoming a ‘better writer’. As she said, this is a noble pursuit, but not really the point of the program. The program is really to prepare the students as professional writers. Two semesters of the program involve working with a professional writer as a mentor. I’ve already got two possible mentors in mind! Now, what this has to do with NaNoWriMo is this – I’m not going to finish a novel this month. I’ve been flailing around like a fish on a dock. However, my new goal is to finish the first draft of the first chapter. In order to apply to the MFA program the applicant needs to supply 30 pages of writing. Now, I could just send in 30 pages from my thesis, but I figure I ought to use something creative. So, if I can get 15 or 20 pages of a first draft of a first chapter I would have something creative to submit. I’d take 10 or 15 pages from my thesis and submit that, unless there are a few good blog posts I feel would be good to submit as well. I refuse to believe I have ‘failed’ NaNoWriMo even though it is highly unlikely that I will make 50,000 words. I will definitely make it to 10,000 and possibly 20,000 or 30,000. The ‘win’ is that I’ve created a real goal – one chapter – that is far more achievable than a whole novel. And, of course, that once I’ve got my application in to the MFA program and then am accepted (how could they not accept me?), I will be one step closer to the Ph.D from the University of Hawaii!