Recently, I wrote about my experiences on the night of the 2023 Emerging Artist Grant, which is fully available on Arts Coast Magazine’s website. The experience was fun and engaging and you can read all about it here. Now that it’s over though, I have a looming feeling over me. An important question that seems to be echoing and growing since that night is a simple and important one: “Now what?”
It’s a fair question. Sure, I still get to do some work still with Creative Pinellas, and I’ll keep writing and submitting stories to publishers and magazines to see what happens. But in this strange way, I can’t help but think about what the next big move is supposed to be. After branching out and doing a visual arts show, something I have no experience with, I feel like I can do anything and make my writing more applicable to more people. There are film festivals I can write for, YouTube videos I could make, blogs I could create, and countless other ventures I could do.
But instead of doing any of that, for better or worse, I’ve just been writing. My summer teaching hours are here, and I do a little extra work on the side, but for now, I feel like I am engaging with writing again with a new sense of vigor. Whether or not that means I’ll be successful with it is another thing entirely. What I do know, is I’ve spent the last week writing for an indie horror anthology anthology and it’s the most fun I’ve had with the craft in months. For so long, I’ve been stuck in this world of editing, and re-reading, and then editing again, and also worrying about the art show, recording, QR codes, and so many other non-writing things, that I lost the momentum.
But now, just a few weeks outside of the show opening, I can feel myself back in the groove. I still have things to edit, stories to write, and submissions to do, but without this dread that I’ve been carrying around for making my writing more visual.
But the question remains. “Now what?”
More grants? A residency? An agent? Publications?
In reality, I just need to silence all of those questions. Focus on the art first, and the rest will follow. That’s how I got this grant, and how I’m lucky enough to write to anyone else interested in the process. I guess my answer to, “Now what?” is there is no answer. There is only the work.