With the opening of fall in a couple weeks and most deadlines approaching in December and January, this leaves about 3-4 months to complete a manuscript, application, and personal/teaching statements in addition to requesting and collecting recommendations.
What to Do Now: Begin serious work on the manuscript. If you’ve been completing any of the summer writing assignments, you may already have a full draft. I recommend working on something (whether new or old) that feels electric to you. Avoid working on any drafts that feel stale or old. If you’re bored at the starting line, it will be that much harder to get across the finish line. Create a schedule so that you are writing every day or every other day.
And take note of how you’re working, what works for you, and what your experience is in creating this manuscript. While there may be a lot going on, it’s worthwhile to calm the nerves and spend time exploring how you operate as a writer. Consider setting a timer for 60-120 minutes, setting your phone on airplane mode, and giving yourself the time to work. If writing in the house works best for you in the morning, establish that practice and honor your writing time and space. Establish a writing routine and keep showing up. In the words of Ashtanga guru Pattabhi Jois: Do your practice and all is coming.
Work all month to finish a draft that is as close as you can get to a completed piece of work. Then step away for a couple days and look at it with a fresh set of eyes so that you can pinpoint where problems might exist in structure, language, plot, and character. Jot down a couple readers who would be excellent constructive critics, and ask for feedback.
If you’d like to work together, see my list of services here and feel free to contact me at any point on your journey.