Yesterday I received nine more article assignments to write, so here I am at Donkey Coffee procrastinating a little. The first assignment I opened was intimidating, over a subject I know absolutely nothing about. Instructions, sources, and guidelines were included, but it’s kind of like asking a photographer to write a 600-800 word article on best practices in the medical assisting profession. Once I reviewed the rest of the assignments, I felt better. It was just that first one, so I won’t start with that or else I’ll fall into a small panic that I can’t do what I so eagerly signed up for.
This challenge is a necessary one right now. I’ve been teaching for over twenty years, and for twenty years I’ve usually had something to complain about on a daily basis, from having to adhere to the academic calendar to grading essays to dealing with paperwork and accountability procedures that don’t come naturally to me. I’m not saying I’ve never liked teaching, but it’s been this strange set-up where I know I’m good at it, and there are moments when I’ve loved it, but it has come at a cost. The truth is that I want out of it for a while. Maybe eventually I’ll be ready to go back, or maybe not. Perhaps in my golden years I’ll simply say that I taught for twenty-two years then went on to do my own thing.
But back to why this is a necessary challenge. One of my chief complaints about teaching writing is that it sucked my own writing life out of me. The last thing I felt inspired to do was work on my own words and what I wanted to put on paper. The opportunity is now here for me to write and write and keep writing. Okay, so it’s not my dream novel or a collection of earth-shattering personal essays or anything like that, but it’s regular, paying work and it’s writing. It’s also the kind of work that once it’s done I can shut it off. But it’s not easy and it’s going to force me to push myself and learn more about topics and styles of writing that I’ve never experienced before.
On that note, I’m going to click “publish” and get back to work.