Wednesday, September 3, 2014

And Thus Ends Another Summer

Summer ended, officially, somewhere around 12:20am on the morning of Tuesday September 2, 2014. I can't be sure when exactly I finally slipped into sleep, but school started at 6:07 am the same day for me as I trudged from my bed into the shower. Summer, the sweetest of seasons for a teacher and the busiest as well sometimes.

The last week of August and the first week of September are one of the most stressful times for a teacher. I don't know how to articulate it to those of you that do something else. Do you remember the first time you started a new job and what the first two weeks were like...well imagine doing that every year. That's the best analogy I could come up with. And this year was even felt disjointed and jumbled then kids started showing up yesterday. I still don't know if I'm ready, but then again I don't know if I ever am ready for students when the school year starts. I'm optimistic so far...most of my classes seem decent, though I have one group of obvious devilspawn that I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to handle. If the first day was any indication, I'm going to have my hands full.

Anyway, you don't come here to listen to me lament my day job woes, you come here for the reading and the writing. (I am an English teacher, it all kind of interconnects actually.)

September 1 always has me looking back at the summer and thinking that I should have written more and I should have read more. It always bums me out at how little I feel I write given the time I had. Especially this summer doing a writing institute for teachers where I had time to write every day for three weeks. The thing is that my writer's mind was kind of schizophrenic this summer. I had one project that stalled when I realized that I didn't have an ending and the project needed a desperate rethinking, so I took a break from it. I was rolling on another project and hit the half way point when I sent it off to a beta reader for a very superficial read...that revealed I may need to take a break from it and rewrite the first half. It's a good decision and I need to rewrite the first half to make what I want to do with the second half to work. Then, during the writing institute, I discovered a story idea that I couldn't ignore. It wasn't a big enough project for a novel and I'm still not sure what it is/will become. Yet, I still can't get a full grip on it yet.

I planned a little novelette for the end of summer, but I failed my challenge. Too many things kept popping up and I found myself more than distracted by the Every Simpsons Ever marathon (there is a blog post coming about that). I want to write the novelette and some point because I think it's a strong story.Then the big project that has been the last 7 or 8 years of my life (SEASONS) that needs some attention. SPRING and SUMMER need some polishing before I can move away from them...I believe in my heart of hearts that something will happen with them sooner than later, so that's moved up in priority in my heart and mind. The funny thing is that as I'm reading SPRING is stronger than I thought and I'm looking forward to it. On top of that I am challenging almost all my classes to participate in NANOWRIMO and I am going to do it with them. I have a completely different project I have in mind for it but we'll see.

It's all about time and that's at a massive premium right now. And that's a little stressful, mostly because of the pressure I put on myself. I have to make realistic writing plans instead of grandiose ones where I imagine that somehow I am going to write 12,000 words over a weekend. That's just not plausible. My life is too hectic right now. I'm trying to work on my craft not just as a writer but as a teacher. I've decided that I want to really step up my game and that interferes (it's a bad word choice) with my writing. I have to be realistic. I know that I'm talented enough to be a published and successful writer, I'm just not there yet. I need to focus on what is paying the bills: teaching. I want to get better. I'm taking on more responsibilities at school this year: extra class in the afternoon after school, department liaison to the principal and acting as a mentor to young men in the building on top of trying to be more organized as an instructor and working on my student feedback. As I write this, my head spins.

The one benefit I have is that writing is integral to my job as an English teacher, so it makes sense for me to write. So, I'm going to pull out my writer's notebook and write out said plan and go from there. Hopefully I'll have something exciting to announce sooner rather than later.

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