|Gotta leave some time for
my new passion: sushi!
People ask me all the time how I manage to fit it all in – writing and family and a full time job teaching.
The fact is, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning, and I can’t get it done. You might be surprised (or maybe not) that it’s the teaching job most likely to make me feel this way … not writing. Last week was a particularly bad one, but I’m not going to write about that. People have asked me how I schedule my time, and that’s what I’m going to share.
One thing in my favor is that my daughters, at age 16 and 13, are self-sufficient. By the time I get up in the mornings, they’re already dressed and getting ready to catch the bus to school. After they leave, I generally have 30 minutes to read and comment on blogs while I have my coffee. I’ve given up responding individually to people who comment on my blogs, but I try hard to visit theirs as often as I can.
I live 2 miles from the school where I teach, and somewhere over that brief drive, my mind switches from blogs and writing to school-related matters. Teaching can be all-consuming. Usually, I can’t even remember to use my planning time to make a doctor’s appointment if I need to. I have to plan ahead just to use the restroom.
I’m allowed to read my personal email over my lunch break, and sometimes I do. Often, I will try to read a book for pleasure while I eat lunch.
Recess duty is, in my opinion, a gross waste of the tax payer’s money. When Governor Corbett cut the funding to Pennsylvania schools, we lost most of our aides. Now, the highly paid teachers spend 30 minutes of their day watching kids on the playground. I often find my mind wandering to my WIP during this time. You’d be surprised how many plot problems I’ve worked out in between breaking up the game where boys see how close they can run up to the swings without getting kicked in the face.
When I get home after school, I need to unwind before doing anything productive. That’s my social media time – Facebook, Twitter, maybe some more blogs.
Writing takes place after dinner. I’m lucky that my husband will voluntarily cook dinner when he’s at home. When he’s away on business, I do it, but my daughters help. The daughters also clean up most nights.
If I must have certain papers graded before class the next day, I’ll do that in the evening. But most of the time, I save grading papers and lesson planning for the weekend. Weekend is also usually when I write the two posts for my own blog. I almost never watch TV during the week, except for The Big Bang Theory if there’s a new episode.
I can revise a manuscript at any time of the day. But new words come best late at night. So, if the only task ahead of me is writing the first draft of a new chapter, I will probably work on promotional posts (guest blogs and interviews) or family things in the early evening. The Muse generally shows up around 9pm, whereupon I’ll spew words fast and furious across the page until 11pm, when I reluctantly head to bed.
So, that’s a typical week for me. Of course, I’m leaving out some things – driving daughters to and from play practice or attending one of their concerts, days when I flop down on the sofa and read a book cover-to-cover, an occasional encounter with the Bow-Flex … Mostly, it all seems to get done, even if I do have weeks that drive me to tears.
Don’t we all?