Today I just gave the first batch of essays back to my students. It’s always a good feeling, leaving the class with your bag significantly lighter. A sense of freedom: now I can do my homework. And write.
Until, that is, you realize they turn in the next essay in a week.
I was excited about writing my connected stories. I was having trouble getting started on them; but I was wrestling with that trouble, and the stories were stewing in the back of my brain even when I wasn’t thinking of them. Which meant I got occasional flashes of “Aha!” It was slow, but stuff was happening.
Not within the last week. Responding to essays and meeting other deadlines has consumed my time. I realize I’m walking in a world of deadlines, jumping from one to the next with few pauses to catch my breath. Is it little wonder that writing becomes yet another deadline I have to meet? February 23rd is when I have to turn something in for workshop. And I’m starting to wonder how much writing I’ll get done before the week leading up to it.
The ironic thing is that I usually need the pressure of a deadline to motivate me. But self-motivation–even if it’s only by sheer force of will–needs room to be acted on. And I feel this is a very narrow space I’m in.