Summer’s End: Finding Work-Life Balance

Now that the fall semester started, I’ve reintegrated teaching into my daily responsibilities, which looks something like this:

  • M/W—Lecture English 1A (x2 M, x1 W)
  • T/Thu—Creative Projects (see menu)
  • F/Sat—Grade
  • Sun—Rest

It still feels shaky, but then it’s also mid-August; I imagine by September, the routine will set in, as it’s always set in before.

When I was a high school teacher, beyond the ableism I encountered in K-12, I also struggled with making room for writing. I know some K-12 teachers are more capable of this work-life balance; I’m grateful our society has them. Personally, I couldn’t figure out how to do anything other than K-12 business. When middle management accused me of poor time management—after I’d already afforded every scrap of spare time I could—I physically and mentally shriveled up.

I’m not sure there’s ever been a time in my life where, when creative writing is taken away, I’ve thrived in the long term. I’m glad to juggle instruction and creative writing again, in a fulfilling tandem, balancing the energy I invest in my well-being with the energy I invest in the intellectual development of my students.

Image is a remix of sarahimark99’s free-to-edit PicsArt.

Advertisements

Tuning Up

I close my eyes and listen to the songs to tune myself to the ceremony ahead;

I listen to the songs to tune a deeper chord inside myself;

A deeper chord inside myself, thus offers itself, like sword and shield;

Like Frodo and Sting, the deeper chord glows as anxiety reveals

Itself, with Its monstrous depression and fear, taking control of

Stress, once-faithful companion, sabotaging the cortisol dear

Productivity reared; offering itself, this chord leans in to say,

“I’ve got your back. I’m right here.”

Honeymoon & Wedding Check

Honeymoon controlled variables

  • Scheduled Airbnbs—yep (we’re staying at four places, each for 2-3 nights…well, except the fancy hotel, which is just one night, so I can die in a fancy hotel pool)
  • Scheduled snorkeling in crater—yep!
  • Scheduled plane tickets—yep!
  • Scheduled ferry to take us to Lanai—yep!

WhyamItheonlyonedoingallthehardstuff—

ThisiswhyIhavenobrainpowerfortheweddingpart—

I AM NOT FREAKING OUT AT ALL—

Note to self: Write about bridezilla anxiety.

Honeymoon unknown variables

  • Luau?—figure it out when we get there?
  • Kayaking?—only if we’re bored?
  • Jeep or alternate transit on Lanai—if I don’t think about it, it can’t freak me out, LALALALALALA (it’s freaking me out)

Wedding controlled variables

  • Everything is scheduled—yep!
  • People are going to be there—yep!

Wedding unknown variables

Every time I think about this part, I need a nap.

 

August Routine

Writing Schedule

In an effort to prepare for the coming fall semester,—where I’ll be teaching Mondays & Wednesdays; writing Tuesdays & Thursdays; and grading, planning, and errand running on Fridays—I’m dedicating this Thursday as my #1 Productivity Day!

In order for me to reach my first 1mil word goal (1 April 18 – 31 March 19), I have to write 3K words a day (1mil / 365 = 2.7K; 7 x 2.7K = 19K weekly load), and given I’ve produced 250K in the first quarter (1 April 18 – 30 June 18), I know I’m capable of leaping to this stepping stone; but I don’t want to place the pressure of 2.7K words on myself on my two teaching days, so I’m redistributing my daily word count goals:

  • Monday: 1K words
  • Tuesday: 5K words
  • Wednesday: 1K words
  • Thursday: 5K words
  • Friday: 3K words
  • Saturday: 1K words
  • Sunday: 3K words

I know I’m capable of this redistribution, given I do it all the time for the weekends. But what this means is that I have to be more careful with how I spend weekends during semesters. My standard production speed is 4K in a full workday, 7K in an exceptionally focused workday, and 2K in a lazy workday, so the wiggle room here is minimal.

This new allocation of word count per day will start on August 1st, since we’re getting married next week, followed by our honeymoon, where I intend to read a little less, write a little less, and explore way more for the remainder on the month.

Blogging & Storytelling Schedule

With my word count redistribution in mind, these are the schedules I’d like to adopt for the different projects I’m juggling:

I know if I worked on one idea, uninterrupted, like a swordfish spiking prey, I’d be done quite fast, but part of my enjoyment of the creative process is watching the deeper narrative within my unconsciousness unfold by chasing several different ideas, and several different threads, through completely different genres and agendas, to see the eventual, inevitable image they weave together.

Also, I’m considering writing a mass reflection at the final, sputtering tail of this 1mil word exercise, maybe by leaving comments on all my previous blog and Wattpad posts during March ’19…

This reflective step will add personal value to this journey through 1mil words, and the journey should ultimately be the fuel propelling me forward—the wisdom from this experience, acting as the light at the end of the tunnel.

Again, I’m not fully slipping into this penguin suit until August 1st; there are too many other life events happening in the interim. Getting married is hard!

Rewriting an Idea

2018 Big Writing Goal

Once I complete the first draft of Emergence No. 7I’d like to rewrite it from a first-person perspective, utilizing three PoVs:

  1. First, Jet’s invisibility, which lets him observe the other characters in motion (through shadows) and also feel as bewildered as the reader (because he’s just simulating magic; he doesn’t actually wrap his mind around it).
  2. Then in Part Two, I’ll switch to Ovelia, who is trying to relearn the dimensions, filling holes since the time she cut herself off from wonder, in response to childhood trauma—similar to how many adults cut themselves off from science after experiencing frustration in school—and this will double as a means to dig deeper into the philosophies beneath the story.
  3. Finally, in Part Three, I’ll shift to Nalowei, who’s much more experienced in the dimensions, yet is struggling through the loss of her parents—an issue that’s more universal to the human experience, to give the reader a sense of grounding as she simultaneously juggles quantum issues.

I’ll release the story again through the lens of this prewrite, with the title Server No. 7, which illustrates the purpose of the Wizardhood better.

2019 Bigger Writing Goal

Once I’ve completed the first draft, Emergence No. 7, and the rewrite, Server No. 7—both as releases on Wattpad—I’ll introduce the e-book on Amazon, which will be the third and final edit; and a couple months later, I’ll release an audiobook.

3×3 (Medium x Small) Steps

  1. Finish 50-70K first draft by the end of September (4 months);
    • Finished Part One in June;
    • Finish Part Two in July, before wedding;
    • Finish Part Three in August and September, after honeymoon.
  2. Finish 70-90K second draft by the end of December (3 months);
    • Finish Part One by end of October;
    • Finish Part Two by end of November;
    • Finish Part Three by end of December.
  3. Finish 90K-110K final draft by the end of March (3 months);
    • Finish Part One by end of January;
    • Finish Part Two by end of February;
    • Finish Part Three by end of March.

This should generate 150K-200K towards my one-million-word goal, given edited content is counted at 50% value, and new content at 100% value; so this means I should realistically postpone one of the projects from my 8v8 exercise until 2019’s one-million-word goal. However, this doesn’t mean placing that project on a hard stop; it’s more like restricting the updates to monthly blog posts until Emergence No. 7 and Server No. 7 finishes.

Here are my candidates for pausing (the second and third options are listed in the likely inevitable event the other projects also expand, as Emergence No. 7 is expanding):

  1. Emergence No. 3 (prequel to Emergence No. 7) & From North On (travel blog);
  2. Emergence No. 4 (sequel to Emergence No. 3) Wyvia (ritualistic blog);
  3. Worlds They Dream (side story to Emergence series) & My Quest for Chicken (gardening and self-improvement blog).