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?

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3 Comments »

  1. Sympathies, sister. As you know, I’m also at a cc with a heavy load, so I reach the same struggles.

    I do find it interesting that, like you, I often provide the disclaimer about not having kids. While I do think it is important to celebrate mom-writers who cram the writing in wherever they can, I’m struck by the fact that I’ve never read a male writer make the same disclaimer. So interesting.

    In any case, let us both find time to write!

  2. kweyant Said:

    I think you are right, Sandy. I’m not sure why I don’t see male writers make that same disclaimer, and to be honest, I’m not sure why I feel the need that I have to…..except that I work with so many women who are trying to balance teaching and raising a family – and in spite of everything, it still seems that women are deemed failures if they can’t do everything or have it all in today’s world.

    • Yes, I do it, as well, because of those colleagues out there making it all happen. It’s sad that women are still looked down on for not being able to “do it all”! Viva la VIDA!


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