Archive for August 31, 2013

And So Begins the Balancing Act…

The first week of school is over, and I’m always surprised about the weight that has lifted from me once I meet all my new students for the semester.  It’s a good type of stress, really, but stress nevertheless, and I’m always relieved to get that first week under my belt.

Now, comes the hard part.  A question that is always discussed on blogs and in columns is how to find the time to write.  I admit that I don’t have kids, but I still have a heavy teaching load at a community college, so my full-time job does take a lot of time and energy.  This is not a complaint: I love my job and feel very lucky.  Still, during the school year, I have to make time to write in a busy schedule and that is not always easy.  This semester is going to be especially challenging, because I have a mixed schedule — I’m teaching morning, afternoon, and evening classes and thus my free time is a bit different every day.  I used to write early in the mornings, but on some days, I won’t be able to do that.  However, this semester, I’m not teaching on Fridays, so I will have my Friday mornings free — which is the first time in all my years of college teaching including my years as an adjunct.

Looking at my schedule, I don’t believe having a set time each day is going to work for me.  Instead, I’ve been thinking a lot about my Newswriting and Editing course and its syllabus.  In my life before a college professor (sometime in there between retail and factory work), I was a reporter for a small town newspaper.   As a reporter, I didn’t live by finding time to write — writing was my job.  Instead, I lived by deadlines.

I’m thinking that may be the way I should approach my writing life in the next few months.  Many submission periods and contests have deadlines, and making those deadlines should be a goal for me.  Better yet, in my notebook, I plan on setting five writing goals (attainable goals — sometimes I have very lofty goals and then I get upset with myself when I don’t complete them) for each month, and working towards those goals or “making the deadline” a phrase I’m going to use in my Newswriting and Editing course.

So, what is my first deadline?  Proofread a set of galleys and email an editor about a wayward review.  Sounds easy enough, right?