Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Spring Break pt.2: Writing and Life. Help.

Geez, how could I forget this part (continued from late-last-night's Spring Break post):

I've also been working on my next book some more, working out plot points and developing characters and scenes. Almost have it all in place! Which leads me to an insight:

I've discovered that it takes me about 3-4 days of being away from a full day of work to clear my mind enough to really immerse myself in my writing again. No matter how much I'd like to be, I'm just not one of those people who can write for a few hours a day, at least not when first getting started with a project. There's too much mind-clearing needed, because my job is not just teaching (which also entails answering email and grading at all hours of the day), but also keeping up with Center for the Study of Science Fiction stuff pretty much every day (including planning, emails, website updates, prepping for and doing stuff like tonight's Super Nerd Night activities, and so forth), and constantly researching ways to improve each course (which I do pretty much weekly for most of 'em). There are also meetings, course development for new courses down the line, GTA training to teach existing courses I've developed, student and GTA mentoring, thesis direction, reading for the Campbell Award, and a ton of things I don't even want to think about right now. It's utterly consuming and draining.

Now, I'm not complaining, because I love my work. I love teaching, I love the Center, I love almost everything I do for my job.

The point is, what I need to maintain a level of new writing and publication that makes me happy is more chunks of time off. I used to think that summer = writing time for a teaching job, but in fact for MY teaching job, summer = busiest time of the year, with two two-week intensive courses sandwiching an international conference where we honor the authors of the best short-SF and SF novel of the year and bring in guest authors and editors from around the world.

How to find the time to make my writing happen? If I could only secure a solid month during the summer, I could write a book a year - I have no problem doing story-development in dribs and drabs.

Are you novelist or other big-project creative who also maintains an all-consuming job? How do you manage to product big projects on a regular-enough basis to remain happy? 'Cause I've reached a place in life where I need to make this happen or I'll grow more and more frustrated and dissatisfied with my career(s).

Tags: life, teaching, the self, writing

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