|Overwhelmed by stuff, use anticipation to inspire.|
I have already said that teaching encroaches on my writing time. Remember the movie The Thing? That is the life of the English teacher: pursued by an engulfing pile of stuff. The teaching thing just eats everything up. So I need every trick in the book to take advantage of my writing opportunities. My most often used technique is anticipation.
- Work taking over your life and it's been more than a month and you haven't written creatively in weeks? What do I do? I start with little self talks. "Thanksgiving is just a few more weeks away. Keep your grading up to date. Don't overload the kids 'cause that just comes back and bites off another chunk of your time. Keep it steady and high quality, but keep it under control so Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break, SUMMER! will all be yours."
- Weekly overload? I grade everything I can Friday night, having promised that Saturday will supply a slice of time for writing. Then I am back on the grading, planning, prepping mode come Sunday, ready for Monday. Plug in any huge "thing" you want into the spot labeled "grade."
- It's getting worse instead of better? When it is an especially hard year, which the last two have been due to changes in education objectives and focus, I can go nearly an entire school year without more than ten hours of personal writing time in ten months. So those days of summer become a mantra of anticipatory excitement.
- Use all non-work time that can't be given to writing time to brainstorm time. I use the moments when I can feasibly say I can't grade, teach, plan, prep or do anything house related or family related to brainstorm and review scenes. That means showers, the fifteen minutes before I fall asleep, putting on makeup and doing my hair, running on the treadmill, vacuuming, etc., are for thinking about what I am going to write when I get the chance. The idea is you have everything ready to go when the time to write finally comes. You're excited about writing because you know exactly what you are going to do. It will practically type itself.
- Carry the image/scene/dialogue everywhere you go. Sure this may mean you never talk in the car when your partner is driving. They get over it. My husband has. I am quiet in the car whether its twenty minutes or two hours, but my mind is not. I am revolving the scene over and over looking for telling details, foreshadowing that can be slid in, characterization, and what else can be carried by the scene other than the original idea that set it off.
So how do you deal with the overwhelming activities you do to pay your bills and such to make room for writing? Writers who write for a living are not allowed to respond. You may smirk off in a corner somewhere, quietly.