Summer is finally here! I've been looking forward to this for months. This summer is going to be different from any other. For the first time in thirty-five years, I have the entire summer to myself! My sons are grown, we're staying in a small apartment while waiting for our house to be built so there aren't any "house projects" to do, and I decided to resign as a mentor teacher so I won't be working with the newbies this year. The summer is all mine! Hmmm. That makes me both excited and scared.
I'm thrilled to have time to work on the writing projects I've putting off for way too long.. I want to find out where I fit in the world of writing. For as long as I can remember, I've dreamed of writing books for kids. Now, I have the time to work toward that goal. .
But, I'm also scared. I'm not used to having chunks of free time. I'm used to being busy, constantly busy with work, home, and family. I think I've taken on this lifestyle of always having too much to do because.I don't do well when there's too much empty time in my day. I tend to fill in the empty spaces with worry, and before long I get depressed because I've wasted so much time worrying. Then, to make things worse, I waste even more time trying to cheer myself up by searching the Internet, reading blogs, checking Facebook, reading other people's books, and daydreaming about what I'll write "someday." It's been easier for me to keep filling my time with chores (which I now realize are really just excuses for not writing) then to face the possibly of finding out that I'm not really good enough to be a writer after all.
So, this summer, I'm trying something different. I joined the wonderful Kim Messenger's TeahersWrite! online summer camp to help me feel that I'm part of a writing community. I wrote down some writing goals. I gathered up some essays, poems, and picture book manuscripts that are in various stages of completion to take another look and see if they can be revised in something worth submitting. But the most important thing I've done is to accept the fact that I need to be held accountable. Leave it to me, and I'll fritter the days away, but give me a deadline, and I'll meet it! I don't like letting other people down so I make sure the task gets done. The other thing I need is to know someone is going to read my writing and give me feedback I can use to improve. I feel extremely fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to be working with a team of mentors this summer. They are teacher/writers I respect, and I know I'll learn a lot from them.
I've tried to set myself up for the best chance of success. Next, I need to come up with a daily schedule. I'm already feeling a little guilty about spending time doing something just for me when there are so many needy folks I could be volunteering to help. If you are a teacher/writer, how do you balance your time to get it all done?