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Old Dog. New Tricks.

So everyone wants to know why I went back to school. I am 42 years old. I already have a career that a degree will not really affect. I am busy beyond belief writing books, speaking at conferences and schools, taking care of my children, my household, and my church and neighbor obligations. With all that, seriously WHY go back to school?

It started something like this:

Me to Mr. Wright: I want to know how to design book covers.

Mr. Wright: You can just pay someone to do it.

Me: Yes, but when they’re done and presenting it to me, how will I know if it’s any good if I don’t know anything about the elements of design?

So I signed up for classes. I took some professional editing classes as well and, while in the frenzy of signing up for things, thought about my great grandma Dezi Irene Jones Dunlap who received  her degree as an old woman. I’ve mentioned her before.  She received her degree. I should do the same.

Once I started, there was no way to quit because my daughter who is currently in school told me that if I quit, she could as well. So yeah . . . I’m getting a degree now. No daughter of mine will walk the earth uneducated. It sucks to be the adult sometimes.

But I’ve actually really enjoyed so much of this new experience–far better than I would have had I finished as a cheeky little twenty-year-old who thought she knew everything. Okay, I don’t love math or physics and I think writing academic papers is a waste of my time. But aside from that, the learning! I love the learning. I love looking at Jane Eyre from a different point of view. I love discovering how to calculate the escape velocity from our galaxy. I love feeling as though my design teacher is a magician as he manipulates Adobe Illustrator to make amazing art.

It’s been a good exercise for me, a wonderful expansion of my intellectual reach. And though my own personal writing is much slower, it’s still coming along. I finished my twentieth novel last month and am on page 42 of my newest novel. I love reaching page 42. It feels like I’m sharing a cosmic joke with Douglas Adams. I mentally curtsy to him at that particular crossroads. I like page 42 versus page 60 where everything I write feels wretched, shallow, boring. I get over it again by page 80. Fall int0 despair again by page 150 and am doing some version of a maniacal villain laugh by page 200. Does anyone else have such a bizarre process?

Anyway, yes, I am back in school, yes, I am a little worse for the wear physically, and I cry whenever someone says the words “imaginary numbers” to me, but I’m not sorry I took this step. And I’m managing to make time to continue on with important things like speaking at writing conferences and making time for family and friends. Life is good. Drink it up.

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A bunch of amazing authors and me teaching at Teen Author Boot Camp

J. Scott Savage and me at his awesome steampunk dragon. COVE is a book to be on the look out for!

J. Scott Savage and me at his awesome steampunk dragon. COVE is a book to be on the look out for!

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