Sunday, October 17, 2010
Finding time to write
My writing ladies met today and we had another good round of critiquing. One thing that came up, as I am sure comes up all the time for writers, is that we have trouble (especially this time of year) finding time to write.
Family, school, jobs all make finding time difficult. Right now I am feeling really cramped by my day job. I am a high school English teacher and it is both rewarding and absolutely draining, emotionally and physically.
Many people do not understand the job of a teacher. This is made more apparent by the things politicians, parents, and film makers say. This is the superjob that goes completely underappreciated. It is believed that a teacher should make up for all that a family situation lacks and advance a child intellectually despite exterior influences. This is very difficult, but almost every teacher tries their hardest to make it happen. But when you have a student who comes from a family that does not have an educational foundation with books in the home and an interest in learning new things (ie. closed minded), that feels teachers are worthless, and who encourages their child to "hit the easy button" by cheating (it does happen), it is a difficult job. Not to mention the constant onrush of 20 or more children (whatever their age) needing answers, needing support, not waiting their turn, hitting each other, engaging in typical behavior, but behavior that is unexceptable in a classroom nonetheless, and the bizarre disconnectedness of administrators is various applications of nonsupport and uninsightful micromanagement, it becomes a VERY difficult job.
After eight years I still find myself drowning at times. I have a student teacher this year and right now is a difficult time for me to feel like I am leading her into something worthwhile. It will change. October is the month where it all catches fire and right now I have a lot of fires to put out. Things will settle down. There will be amazing moments in learning and growing. But right now...it is consuming me.
It goes without saying that I am not doing much writing. How can I? I want to get back into the world of DISTILLATION and LADY SLIPPER (the continuation of the story) - but it takes a while to get my mojo on. Once I do get back into novel mode, it can only last so long - then, when I have to come out and grade papers or deal with a tough day of student defiance and apathy - I am angry - yes angry - about having to do that. About having to step back into the muck of real life rather than create a ficitional one.
Is this a writer's illness? Are we escapists who would rather live in an imagined world? How does one overcome the emotional drain that life brings and easilly step in and out of the writing mind without it feeling like it is a gigantic leap that - in itself - is disruptive?
How do you find time to write? How do you make the jump to the writing mind from the reality mind? I know it is an escape. I have said so myself. But I am finding it to be an escape accessed only by traversing an tremendous divide.