Post # 1
… I went to the US for two academic years, after we’re married. I’m a UK bee.
I was thinking about applying for a writing fellowship, after I finish my Masters degree in Creative Writing, The degree finishes in 2015, we’re getting married in August/September 2015, so I would be applying to begin the fellowship in 2016. Now I know that there’s probably not a big chance that I’d even be shortlisted for the fellowship, let alone accepted, but if I was to apply and be accepted I’d be so stuck.
My Fiance has a job for life with his company, so naturally it would be crazy for him to come with me. He can take thirty days leave a year so I know that he would visit as much as possible, but his Dad lives in Ukraine, and he has to use some of that holiday to visit him too, as he only sees him once a year. I could of course take the academic holidays to come home to the UK, but that would hinge on whether I have the funds or not.
I would miss him like crazy, we’ve never done long distance, and the only time I’ve ever done long distance was when I was 18, and the guy cheated on me. Naturally I was younger then. To give indication, I’ll be 24/5 when I’d need to be in the US. He’d be 30/31. I can’t imagine spending the beginning of our marriage apart.
This is the first time I’ve felt the LOVE or CAREER tug of war. I would never sacrifice what we have for my career, he’s too important to me. But I’m trying to figure out whether I’d take a chance and go for it, or not. What would you beautiful Bees do?
Before anyone says it, I know that in a good relationship, you should be able to get through long distance, but I’m worried about the DAMAGE it would inflict on the relationship more than anything.
Post # 3
i think you should discuss this with your SO and lay out all the pros and cons with both sides. then come to a decision together.
this is something between you and your FH, not something the bee can tell you what is best for you.
Post # 4
@somersetdarling: For me, I wouldn’t risk my relationship. However, that’s me. If you do decide to do long distance, then maybe post-pone the wedding until after your returnUst in case things don’t work out.
Post # 5
@somersetdarling: If you want to do it and your Fiance is supportive, you should do it. My best friend got married and spent an academic year away from her husband. She was finishing up her graduate school and he got an amazing job opportunity 1500 miles away only weeks before their wedding. It was a tough year for them, but they got through it and now they live together and are expecting their first baby. It’ll be tough, but it’s doable. Neither one of you should have to give up opportunities in order to remain in a marriage. And you’ll be able to come home for the summers, too!
Post # 6
It’s really hard.
My husband and I spent the first 3 years of our relationship in a long distance relationship. Then we lived together for 3 years before getting married in September. He got a good job opportunity and moved a couple hours away in December. And it sucks. A lot. More than I thought it would. It’s harder than the long distance we did when he was first dating. But we’re making it work.
We go back and forth every weekend. There have even been a few weeknights that we’ve gotten together. And, we should be able to be back in the same city in under a year (I hope!). But it’s still really hard. It is almost impossible to be as attuned to someone’s life when you’re separated by distance. Talking frequently helps, but it’s not the same. You lose a lot of the familiarity. You can get it back, but it’s a process.
Long distance can definitely work. But it’s a lot of work. There are plenty of people who are separated from spouses for long periods (due to work, military, caring for family members, etc.). But I think most of those people would tell you it’s really hard. Do-able. But hard.
However, if it was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, it might be worth it. So I would really think about how important this fellowship would be. And talk to your fiance. Definitely not something to enter into lightly, but if it’s worth it and you give it a shot, be prepared to put more effort into the relationship, because it takes more work to keep a marriage in good shape over distance.
Post # 7
what are your options? what would you be doing if you didn’t get that fellowship? if it’s really important to you, I would try my best to get in and see what happens. as you said, it’s a slim chance to none. even if you do get in you can always decline, and leave the spot for someone else on the waitlist. at least you’ll know you were able to get in!
Post # 8
I don’t think it’s immediately a cause for damage to a relationship, but an International LDR is a lot harder to make work than a domestic one. As you’ve mentioned, your chances to visit one another will be limited, and flights between the US and the UK aren’t exactly cheap right now. Phone calls are also not cheap (Skype helps) and the time zones make it difficult to spend quality time together. You also want to be careful with your finances as, if you’re coming to the US on a student visa, you absolutely will not be allowed to work. If you want to come over on a work visa, the process is quite different, not exactly cheap either, and not fast.
Post # 9
@patchy: if not I’d just be working, probably in admin or something, and trying to get my book published. Everyone that has had the fellowship, has gone on to be published/successful.
Thanks everyone, it’s so great to hear other people’s thoughts! It’s definitely something Fiance and I need to sit down and discuss properly. I know that he would support my decision, but it’s quite terrifying! I think I will still definitely apply – they’ll probably hate my writing and I won’t have a choice to make in the end! Haha 🙂
Post # 10
@somersetdarling: I would sit down and map out my options with my partner. I would also think about myself – would I be happy? would he? It seems like an amazing opportunity, and I wouldn’t want to pass that up lightly.
Post # 11
@Horseradish: yeah exactly, flights would be insane! And lonnnng – it’s not like I could pop back for a weekend, would have to leave straight away!
the fellowship offers around $30,000 per year which is fantastic considering! But an extra job would probably pay for food, so I could save for flights. Ahhhhhh, going stir crazy!
Post # 12
@somersetdarling: Bit of a different perspective here. Getting published has more to do with the content and marketplace than your educational credentials. Too many people spend too much time in school without getting any practical work experience to even it out. I see it on a daily basis with my medical students who falter in “the real world.”
We’ve had an article accepted after TWO YEARS of collaborative writing and it’s currently in its 2nd cycle of edits by the journal… and that’s just an article in an educational journal.
Books are somewhat easier in that you can self-publish, self-promote, and try to get noticed on the e-marketplace as well. We did a medical student guide that sold like gangbusters from the first year on (it still took over a year to write).
I would suggest working on your book on your own, getting a job, and starting your career in earnest. Have fun being married–the fellowship will always be there if you feel you really need it later.
Post # 13
@MrsLongcoatPeacoat: i totally agree, but my writing is quite literary (hopefully) and I want it to be in that category of writing, rather than something that sells lots of copies. Essentially I want to be recognised for my skill, rather than be a self publisher or bestseller – all are great, but I’m just not interested in the commercial bit. Probably sounds weird haha.
Post # 14
@somersetdarling: I would recommend only applying if you intend to take the position. It doesn’t look good to be accepted and the decline. It’s a hard decision to make, but I would make it before applying. It’ll be all the harder to make later on.
Post # 15
@somersetdarling: I know how you feel about wanting to make sure you are successful with your writing/publishing. I’ve got a degree in English/creative writing, and have been published; however, I am nowhere near the level of notoriety that I’d like to be. I’m working on a book of poetry now, and ideally would love to have it published within the next few years (ugh, it takes such time!). Honestly though, if your long term goal is publication (as opposed to teaching, or something like copywriting), I would complete your masters–congratulations!!–and focus on submitting as much work as possible to different journals, publishers, and competitions. Once you’ve got some credits on your resume, submit your book for publication. Also, if you check out pw.org, there are some great resources (which, you might already know this). A lot of times there are contests or grants featured there that are looking for full length books by lesser-known or unknown writers. In what genre do you focus?
I’m not married yet, so please take this advice with a grain of salt: I’d stay with your husband, especially since your marriage will be so new, and see if there are maybe any fellowships available where you’ll be living. I think you’re fortunate to be a writer, in that no matter where you are you can continue doing it. Submit, submit, submit for publication, and see what comes of it! Who knows, you might find out about a fellowship that is a week or a month long, that would be just as prestigious and beneficial! 🙂 Good luck (and yay, for another creative writing bee)!
ETA: I totally agree with you on not wanting to self-publish or be a NY Times best seller. I don’t want that either–I want to be what professors are using in their classrooms and intend on standing the test of time in the literary world. I want to be on par with Wordsworth, Dickinson, Langston Hughes, etc. Not Stephanie Meyer (though, good for her because let’s be real: she’s got way more money than I do and a lot more people know her name)!
Post # 16
@somersetdarling: It doesn’t sound weird, but my point is that for all of the successful writers who have completed that fellowship, there are many many more who haven’t. Why not try to contact previous graduates for their opinions, find a local mentor at a publishing house, join a literary guild, or even look for a local fellowship or writing program that might help you as well? The first few years of marriage are very difficult, and planning to spend them apart for something that may or may not actually help your career just doesn’t seem prudent.