Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Letting go in life and writing

It should come as no surprise that I'm a bit of a control freak. And a little opinionated. Especially when it comes to kids and literature. So this past week, starting a new job as a middle school Language Arts teacher, has been full of ups and downs.

I've never encountered a curriculum, or even an educational philosophy, like the one at my new job. At first, I was purely bewildered. Then, as the week went on, I grew frustrated. I came home each evening railing about literature and kids and what's good for everyone involved. But when I finally hit Friday, I was feeling a bit more subdued. Maybe I don't know everything after all...

And while I haven't done any personal writing recently (don't worry, I'll get back to it! I just needed some time to fully devote to this job), I find myself thinking about how I might do this full-on control freak thing in my writing, too.

Lately, the words haven't been coming. I've worried I've lost interest in my new story, but anytime I re-read my notes, I'm as passionate as ever. I've worried I've plotted myself into a hole, but my brain is still bursting with ideas and work-arounds for every problem I encounter. Maybe I've been pushing myself too hard, worrying too much about conflict, character development, and perfection. What if, like with the job, I instead need to sit back, observe, and let my path become clearer rather than diving head-first into everything?

Easier said than done, of course, especially considering I spent the weekend on the coast, soaking up late-September sunshine and ocean breezes. Somehow I need to find a way to carry that beach mindset with me as the days grow shorter and darker.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Have you ever found letting go helped your writing? Your life?

*The picture is mine, one of my favorite "reflective" pictures from Santorini, Greece.*

11 comments:

  1. Sorry about what's going on at your job. I hope you're not stuck in a scripted program. We used to have a scripted LA program, and I felt totally boxed in. My own creativity took a hit.

    I hope you can get back to writing soon!

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    1. Thanks! I've been feeling pretty lucky to squeeze some writing in on the weekends so far!

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  2. Hang in there. It's definitely a transition process when you start a new job. Hopefully it will be more a compromise rather than you "giving in". As for the writing, one thing I've noticed recently is not to put "pressure" on myself -- I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone, I just want to write a novel I'm proud of -- so that's helping me.

    Good luck!

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    1. Yes! I've been out of it so long, it is hard to remember that these things are big transitions, and it will get smoother with time.

      And very good advice about non-pressured writing. In some ways, I think this job will be good for me, and force me to be a little more casual and happy in my writing life.

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  3. Transitions, oh yes. That's when the need to grasp on to anything, trying to solidify our liquid present, takes hold.
    And you are in one, it seems. Be kind to yourself.

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    1. Yes, exactly! And what good advice about being kind to myself! I'll try!

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  4. I'm finding this right now, as a matter of fact. I'm towards the end of my WiP and I know what is going to happen, and how I want it to happen, but I'm going crazy over how to organize all of the elements and make them fit into a perfectly coherent, cohesive whole. I'm going to leave it for a week, then blitz through it willy-nilly. Good luck to you!

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    1. Ohhh, I hope this weekend is full of writing success for you, Mary! I have found pulling myself away from the wip a bit seems to be working. Slowly. But at least that's something! ;)

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  5. I may know a little something about being a control freak... :-) This is one of the reasons that I have to draft my stories quickly, because otherwise I'll get in my own way. Being a control freak can be a very good thing in revisions, though. (At least, that's what I tell myself.) Good luck!

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    1. I'm sure it IS a good thing in revisions... I usually like to draft fairly quickly, too, but this wip is determined to take its own, sweet time. Maybe that means I can control it more?! (hah! More wishful thinking!).

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  6. My first two years of teaching I did very little writing. I sometimes went for weeks, even months, without doing anything. This was hard since throughout my teen and college years I wrote all the time. It was during my third year that I picked it up again and wrote diligently. Teaching was a hard transition.

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