What are your goals as a writer? Be specific

imagesThis is the second question of the “Short Answer” section of the Pen Center Emerging Voices Fellowship application for 2015.  The first — why are you applying for the fellowship — is a little easier to answer.  There are considerable benefits: a professional mentorship with a published author, classes at the UCLA Writer’s Extension Program and a series of genre specific master classes, to name a few.  But specific goals as a writer?  That’s a little harder to say.

Get published, you might shout out!  Though as any published writer knows, this check-point means little to nothing.  Perhaps it keeps your family quiet for a few months or years, but at some point your right back to where you started.  On a draft.  Fine, how about finish something, you might say.  Well, one solution might be to make shorter projects for yourself, which isn’t something a fellowship can do for you.  How about just write something good that others will enjoy?  Humble, nice but not fellowship worthy.

Instead, we suggest these might be craft specific goals that are personal to you. To capture the softness of your grandmother’s voice and give it 285 timeless pages in which to live on.  To provide for yourself a new ending, one other than what would be if you didn’t write anything down at all. To take a secret, hide it, and then hide it again in the form of a story that entertains as well as heals.

Now those are starting to sound like something.  Which brings up another question for the group.  How much poetry is appropriate in the Short Answer section to begin with?  And would any of these actually fly?  To find out we will ask the participants of the fellowship, past and present, for answers of their own. Standby for responses.

In the meantime, if you’re working on statements of your own, please share a few ideas below.  I’ll start:  My goal as a writer is to get in the flow: specifically, I want to be able to download the thoughts and feelings that seem like outer body things and make them more mine.  See why I need your help here people?


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