I can see clearly now, the uncertainty’s gone. Well, some of it is gone. My teaching contract, due to end tomorrow, will be extended- possibly for the rest of the year (gulp)- because the teacher I’m covering for has gone on an “indefinite” medical leave. I’ve had a difficult time focusing on my writing, for one reason or another, since the end of November, but the excuse I’ve been leaning the hardest on is that uncertainty about my job was causing me to feel “scattered” and “unmotivated”. When I opened the email earlier this week to find out I will be staying, my reaction was not one of happiness or relief, to my surprise. Instead, it was one of dismay. How am I going to get time to write now?
Be Careful What You Wish For
“Congratulations!” My husband told me when I shared the news. “It’s your dream job!” It turns out, that isn’t entirely true. What I discovered in that moment I opened my email, is that the teaching gig I have now is one of my dream jobs. Being an author- a full-time, published writer- ranks above it. I think I may have just painted myself into a corner.
I do love being a teacher again. I love feeling useful and productive- something I rarely felt when I was “just” a stay-at-home mum (that’s a whole other blog post). My position is ideal- I’m a teacher-librarian and teaching writing at a high school one of my children attends- but, it has pushed my writing to the side and I’m worried. Worried that I will get sucked into the job and that my writing will fade away.
I can feel it happening all ready. The early morning writing sessions are getting smaller and smaller as I fight fatigue. My day and a half off a week, when I am supposed to be writing, gets used for marking, or completing family- related chores. All fall, I fantasized about returning to my writing. I was going to take all the lessons I had learned as I taught my students and apply them to my own work. I’d even planned on an office remodel and upgrade because I’d be spending so much time in there, focused on creating. Now, I wonder if any of it will ever happen.
Once a Writer, Always a Writer
I don’t think I will stop writing. I don’t think that I can. I will always be someone who scribbles away in a journal, writes letters to friends and sorts out the madness in her brain via pen an paper. What the real question is, I have come to realize, is- do I have what it takes to become an author? Do I even really want to be one?
I suspect the answer is yes, which is why I’m suffering so much now, but perhaps being content with remaining a writer is the healthiest choice for me. If I commit to staying the path and becoming an author, it creates a huge problem for me; how on earth do I achieve my dream along with all the other stuff I’m committed to? Is it really just a matter of managing my time more efficiently? I have no idea. While it is true there is room for improvement (the thirty five minutes I spent scrolling Facebook the other night was clearly a waste of time) but there are many factors I have zero control over. I have signed a contract to work and must complete the job. My kids still need me to drive them to school and all their activities. I have relationships I need to nurture. I have my health to maintain.
Perhaps the sanest and kindest decision I can make is to modify my dream. At least for now. I just have to write in order to be a writer. Focusing on that alone could be enough, if I let it. What I would give to have a functioning time turner! A way to cram everything I want to do into my life into the ever shortening days.
I guess, in the end, I really don’t see all that clearly. Sigh.