Hope you're well. Life has been really busy lately - rocketing from zero to what feels like too fast to keep up with!
I turned 25 a couple of weeks ago; a prompt to reflect on life. Life's an odd thing really. I'd never really planned it out, but when I was younger, I was sure that by the time I'd reached this age, I'd have reached whatever career goal I'd been aiming for. It didn't happen! I'm still re-training as a teacher (though thankfully in my final year at last), whilst working and writing on the side.
I really do struggle to find the time to write though at the moment. Such is a career in teaching. Too many things, not enough time. It's important to write every day - I know it to be so (more words is a good thing - practice, meeting manuscript words counts, deadlines, etc). Yet, how is it possible to fit it in?
At the moment my life consists of getting up in the dark to commute to another city - a stressful experience that I genuinely dread each day - to teach my class (and children are tiring! Wow does it take a surprising amount of energy out of you!).
When their day is done, I stop behind to plan, mark and prep for the following day. When I make it home, in the dark (I miss sunlight and the wind on my face, how stupid does that sound?), back through the blood-pressure raising tangle of cars, the family needs feeding, the house needs tidying, or cleaning, or something else, and the school work generally still isn't done, so there's that to do too. I know I'm not alone - this work routine probably describes most of the adult population!
Do I feel like writing though? Not a chance. I vegetate on the sofa and if I have two thoughts awake enough to rub together, or if I can hold a conversation, I'll count that as a success. My brain is in no shape by that point to craft and hone a story worth reading.
I started up a routine last week - get home, write until teatime, then make tea and sort everything else out. It lasted one day. From then on, I was simply too tired to even contemplate getting out the laptop, other than for the teaching things which needed to be done so that I could stand in front of the class the next day, prepared.
I'm not going to lie - it sucks. There's little work-life balance at the moment. I can only hope that it improves with time and practice. I know there's teachers out there that do manage to have a balance between working and doing the things they enjoy out of school. That's the thought I hold onto; that it is possible. I'm a motivated person, determined to do whatever is necessary to reach my goals (and importantly, with an appreciation that these things do take time to achieve...). I'm sure I'll get there - I just don't know how long that will take.
With the arrival of my 25th birthday (a quarter century, halfway to 50, closer than ever before to 30, or whatever other taunt my nearest and dearest joke about), I hope it doesn't take too much longer. Life moves on apace, and you can never really be sure what is around the corner. Plus, I have too many book ideas in my mind, with characters who are getting really to impatient to remain there much longer!
Carpe diem certainly springs to mind. A writer friend of mine, Andy, recently died - a total shock and surprise to all who knew him. The world lost a great man and a brilliant mind that day, who never had the chance to fully realise his writing potential or share his greatness with the world. He was great, of that there was no doubt. You only had to read snippets of his work to think "Wow, that's something special."
It was one of those events that, amidst the upset that causes, and the anger at such an injustice, makes you once again realise the frailty of all that we hold dear and how important it really is to make the most of it all.
So, this week, I endeavor again to do so. It's half term - a week of calm and time alone. My mornings I will fill with all the teaching related stuff I need to do (aka the neverending checklist!). The evenings belong to my family and I .. and the chores. But the afternoons belong to me and to fiction.
I'll be working on Books of Caledan 2, whilst reading too. I've picked up a copy of Sun Tsu's "The Art of War", a fascinating sounding book that I've been meaning to read for years. Plus, I have a hefty reading list piling up on my kindle to catch up on, which I can hopefully make a dint in!
After this week, I'm not sure what will happen in the next 7 weeks of teaching until the Christmas break. I really hope that I can find some time to write, even if it's just on weekends, to keep me sane. It's frustrating not to be able to put into place the ideal routine, but something will be better than nothing, at least.
Anyway, that's enough of my ramblings for now. Don't forget - carpe diem.
In memory of Andy Walmsley, immortalized in our memories and his words.