Thursday, August 21, 2008

Flexible Structure

I just realized that that terrible picture was the first thing anyone was going to see when they came to my blog, so instead of taking it down, I'm going to post over it. And besides, the only thing I'm doing at work today is giving blood, even though (as a coworker asked yesterday) I won't be getting an extra day off. At my company, they bribe people to give blood. If you give blood during 2 of the 3 blood drives during the year, you get an extra day off. I was surprised when she asked if I was still going to give blood, even though my last day here is next Wednesday. It's nice motivation, sure, but if you weren't going to give blood in the first place, would it really be enough? Anywho, I am still, indeed, giving blood, because I think it's a good thing to do and if I ever need it, I hope other people will have given it. Karma, you know. And I really don't mind needles.

That and the free orange juice and cookies. Okay, I admit it. That's the real reason I do it. All the guilt-free oreos I can eat.

The point of this post is not, regardless of what you may think, about my personal blood-giving philosophy. It is primarily about getting that terrible picture off the top of my page, and also about talking a little about writing.

So, as you probably know, I like to write. A lot. I went to college for it. I've been doing it for a long time. Someday, I would like to make a career of it. Lately, I've been thinking about taking the GRE and going back to school so that I can teach English to college kids. I figured that would be a good next step out of the corporate world (I'm a medical editor now), and it would give me entire summers off to write. But I'm not sure if I would like teaching, or if it would really give me more time to write. And as I thought about all of the time, energy, and money that i would need to spend to get a master's degree and possibly a PhD, the question I had was "Am I doing this because this is what I want to do or because I'm avoiding writing?"

The fact of the matter is my ultimate goal is to be a writer. I don't know if I can make any money at it. Right now I'm not making money at it; thus, my day job. But is getting a new degree to start a new career going to help or hurt my writing? Certainly, while i'm in school and working full time, i will have little time for writing. BUT, if I love to teach AND I write, then it would be worth it. Also, I'm a huge nerd and I love school. I kind of want to go back just to learn. It's a tough decision, because I genuinely want to go back, but at the same time, I don't know if I will enjoy teaching. Also, what if i don't go to school and instead write and write and write while I continue to work as an editor? It's possible for me to transition directly from editor to writer without making a pit stop at teaching along the way. So, what it comes down to is this: What do I want to spend my energy on? What are my priorities? I already know what my goals are and where I want to go. What I'm trying to do right now is find the best path.

I still haven't decided, though the answer seems like it should be clear enough. What I have decided is that I'm going to make writing a higher priority in my life. I made a list of things that I love, and writing was right there at the top. Running is another priority for me. And I've always loved volunteering, though I haven't done much of it since high school. So here's what I have decided. I have decided to volunteer at the library teaching reading and writing to adults. It's not college, but I think it will give me a good idea about the kind of teacher I could be and how well I would like it. And I have come up with a weekday schedule that I'm going to try to stick to "most" days. By that I mean I will be flexible with myself, but will do it as much as I can. This kind of flexible structure works really well for me. If I'm too rigid, I get frustrated with myself and quit. Without structure, I don't do much of anything. So, here it is:

6 am: wake up, make coffee, shower
6:30-7:30 am: write
7:30-9 am: get ready and go to work
9 am - 5 pm: at work
5-6 pm: commute
6-7 pm: run
7-10 pm: eat dinner, run errands, relax
10 pm: get in bed, read, sleep

The only problem I forsee with this schedule is that I'm not a morning person. The problem with scheduling writing at night instead of the morning, though, is that I just don't do it. So, if I'm going to write consistenly, morning is best. The hardest part of the schedule is going to sleep early. I am a night person. I hit a point in the evening where I am simply just not sleepy. I'm hoping that my body will slowly adjust. I already was getting up around 7 am, so I'm hoping it will be a relatively easy adjustment to 6.

This is something I decided on Monday. I woke up Tuesday and wrote for an hour, skipped yesterday after being out late with friends the night before, and woke up this morning around 6:30, only writing for 45 minutes. I figure 1.75 out of 3 is pretty good. As always, the test is going to be keeping it up until or unless I find a better system.


Rona said...

I love it!! The discipline is really inspiring...Have you been able to stick with it?

Also, your last day is Wednesday?? (I'm assuming last.) What are you doing now??

fearlesschef said...

So how has it gone with the getting up and writing? I wish I had an outlet to write more... I am sending in stuff to the newspaper editor this week... alas and alack, I don't believe that I will ever have a summer home in Cape Cod where all my great ideas come to me... so I am settling for the yard.