“Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.”
- E.L. Doctorow
My job has me utterly exhausted. I’m sure I head to bed before any of my students. Some nights, it’s as early as 9:15 pm for an alarm waking me up at 6:00 am.
Why am I so tired?
It’s the newness of it all. Each class has its own set of concerns. I’m teaching periods I’m not as familiar with that I have no lesson plans for. Each class is basically being set up from scratch. And the paperwork! So much grading to do. And so many parents to contact when students don’t.
Then I come home and the next part of my day begins. At least one of my children has an activity. Every. Single. Day. Then there’s laundry, cooking, cleaning, help with homework, and so on. If my husband didn’t help with cooking, I don’t know what we’d eat. Some days even instant macaroni and cheese is too much effort, so I’d probably serve the cardboard box sprinkled with cheese powder.
It makes me look back fondly on the days when most women weren’t allowed to work because it’s really hard to do it all and do it well.
So I’m tired.
When my head hugs the pillow, it’s really hard to shut out the classroom. I think about:
The students who don’t care
The students who have a bad attitude
How a lesson could’ve gone better
What to teach in the next lesson
How to teach the next lesson
Everything I have to catch up on.
And I can’t sleep.
I stop those thoughts that make my heart race and focus on my WIP. The one I’m about 26k words into and don’t have time for right now. Other people write with full-time jobs, but I just don’t have the mental stamina.
I’m not physically writing it, but I’m thinking about it. The next scenes are clear to me. The twists and turns are sticking to my brain. Character growth, conflict – it’s just waiting to be written. The only thing I’m not completely sure about it the ending and whether or not the antagonist will die.
These unfolding scenes steady my heart.
They make sure I won’t forget.
They keep my WIP close to my heart, even if I don’t have time to give it the love it deserves.
I hope to take advantage of vacations to return to it. When I have time, I believe the rest will unfurl like a red carpet.
“When I look up from my pillow
I dream you are there with me
Though you are far away
You’ll always be near to me
I go to sleep
And imagine you’re there with me
- Davis, Ray. “I Go To Sleep” Sia
Those of you who work full-time, especially teachers:
How do find/make the time to write?