Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Originally posted Oct. 2, 2008: Ahh, Thursdays....

Interestingly enough, I've had a decent day. I got caught up on a good bit of grading because my student teacher had the majority of the classes today. It's a really great feeling to get all of that work off of your back.

Unfortunately, I still can't take the time to write tonight, because I have just a little bit of grading left and then I'm going to watch some playoff baseball. Nothing like October, even when my favorite team is halfway across the country. Considering they're based completely on the other coast, I guess I should feel lucky.

Anyway, I just thought I'd talk a little bit about life as a teacher and a writer. Depending on what you teach, it can be interesting/difficult. I'd love to give all kinds of advice to unpublished writers out there, but I am one myself. As such, my advice probably isn't worth much.

But as a teacher, I can tell you that it can be really tough to maintain a marriage (even when your spouse also teaches), be a writer, and be a successful teacher all at the same time. And here in my home county it's even worse. Here's why:

These days, we're so brazenly politically correct that we can't let a student feel bad. Even if they didn't do their work because they were just plain lazy, we can't hold them accountable. We (and by we I mean teachers and administrators at the school level, NOT the county level) just have to work harder at motivating our students. And we also need to work to be better teachers, because the whole state isn't doing as well as our county, and therefore we are the problem. It's complicated, I know.

Then there's the whole writing thing. If I didn't have more homework each night than my students, it wouldn't be a problem for me to write til my heart's content. But that's not how it works. And when I get to school at 6:50am and don't leave until somewhere between 4pm and 6pm, then have to go home and be a good husband lest we both go insane and grow apart from all the grading, well writing 500-2000 words a day is daunting.

So I write when I can, and it's never as much or for as long as I'd like. J. A. Konrath has talked several times about the myth of "you must be disciplined and write every day!" and I appreciate a published author letting the rest of us unwashed masses of mystery know that it's okay if life just muscles in once in a blue moon. If not, we'd all spend our every waking moments engrossed in weird tales of serial killers and decapitation and bullets whizzing and....

hey, wait a minute....

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