Month: May 2009

Burnt Brains

I have a terrible fear. The fear of burning out before I’m done with my coursework.

Come Decmember, should everything go as planned, I’ll be done with my coursework and only have to do is revise a thesis. That is if I can focus enough to write one.

Here’s the problem. Week one of summer school is finished and I’m already feeling behind, and don’t have an ounce of care in me. I just want to take naps and exercise, and read for pleasure. Do whatever. I am not focused at all on my school work, or my novel, which I am planning to get a good chunk done this summer.

I don’t know how to get this focus. I thought a re-dedication to my workout and eating right would only lead to a re-dedication to my writing. But instead I just want to sleep the summer away. I need help getting focused and any suggestions would help.

By next Thursday I need have to 20 pages written and have read about 300 pages. I try really hard to write at home, but I find I can’t get anything done in my house. I’m actually considering a Starbucks. What do you guys do to get focused? Do you have a writing space? Where is it?  Does leaving your house to write help?

While summer one is just one obstacle, I can’t help but be concerned that summer two will entail teaching and one more class. Then a measly three week break and then four more classes. While those four classes in the fall will be my last four classes. Will I be able to handle four graduate classes, three of which are literature courses, one of which is a workshop, where I won’t be submitting any of my thesis to be workshopped, but will be working on another project.

I’ve been close to being burnt out before and I can see the symptoms beginning. I’m glad that it’s May sweeps and there isn’t a TV show besides The Office that I care about. I may unplug my TV to be really hardcore. I imagine this will last a week, but whatever.

Please, any ideas for a re-dedication to writing would be helpful.


Summer Goals

And so, it’s back to reality. Summer school started on Monday and I feel like it’s time once again to get back on track.  I had a week and half off to refresh and reset and now it’s go time.

I’m taking a workshop where I’ll be working on my novel, which is also going to serve as my thesis. My professor described the class as an “immersion” class. I’m stoked about this. The only way to survive it will be to write everyday. This is the kind of kick in the ass that I need. I need to be forced to write daily. I’m hoping the intensity of this will rub off into the fall. I’ve been working on getting a routine going all year and I’ve almost got my workout schedule set and so it’s time to focus on my writing schedule.

Is it terrible that I put the workout routine first? I’m going to justify it by saying that if I don’t workout, I can’t focus. I need to let off steam and running and working out are the most productive ways I know how. I’m not going to do drugs or drink, I will, instead, run it out. While it’s getting really hot, running is going to be very challenging but I’m up for it. I’m also ready to write write write.

I feel like I don’t have time to write anything but my novel and I wish, so much so, that I could just hide in cellar and write this novel until I’m done with it. Unfortantely, I’m not rich or anti-social enough to do this and so I’ll have to continue with my daily responsibilities. Hopefully this workshop will help.

My goals: I’m going to write them out here so it’s official and I can see if I’ve completed them by the end of this summer.

1) Remember why I signed up to be in this program, by writing.

2) Complete a good portion (like 90pgs) of my novel.

3) Develop a kick ass writing schedule without sacrificing any of my exercising.

I’ll keep you guys posted on the progress.

Summer will come and go

Over the next few days I’ll be lounging by a pool that over looks some coast surrounded by a bunch of foreign tourists. I hope that during this vacation I experience some cool story I can relay to you all. I also am thinking I’ll bring some observations about Dante’s Inferno to you guys. I have never read it, and frankly if I hadn’t told my sister that I would read it, I probably wouldn’t ever read it. I intend to be like my professors who only assign books they want to read. I think this is a great system.

Once this break is over and Mother’s Day passes, it’s time to strap on the seat belt and get cracking once again. Because I won’t be teaching until the end of June, I actually have the opportunity to get a great writing schedule in and, and, and, time to get a workout schedule going. I have been debating if I want to talk about working out here in this writer’s space, and the more I think about it, the more I do.

It has occurred to me how important exercise is. Almost too late.  I have found that having a writing and workout schedule has become increasingly difficult.  I will discuss this more in detail, right now though I’m thinking about which sundress I’m going to wear tomorrow. Probably a cute green one.

I would love to hear about everyone’s vacation plans. I haven’t decided if I’m going to take a writing break as well. I feel like when I’m more relaxed I write the most and it’s good quality writing, so I’m not sure…I’ll probably try to bang out some pages.

Do you guys write on vacation?

You call this a Break? HA!

So the spring semester has come to its end and in a week summer classes will commence. In. One. Week.

I’m fine with having only seven days to rejuvenate and refresh, what I have a problem with is professors who assign readings before class has even started.




All semester we have to read and write and do work. Can’t we have a week to not think and just be? I mean really. Isn’t it bad enough we don’t get a spring break because we’re catching up on the semesters work on top of having work assigned over spring break.

I’ve been teaching now for two years and when I started I was teaching high school. While spring break doesn’t carry the same weight with high school students as it does with college students, it still is a well deserved break. I will sadly admit I nearly gave into the temptation to assign a book to read, but I decided against it. It was their break, their time to refresh, hit restart. Assigning work would have just pushed them towards burning out. I also didn’t assign work to my college students during their spring break, since it felt like a cruel punishment.

Here’s the thing, I get it, it’s a summer class there are only 6 weeks to do 18 weeks of work, but it’s SUMMER. Come ON!  Students enrolled in summer classes have most likely gone through fall and spring classess as well. This is our week to recover. I don’t for see much recovery for myself. In the short time I have off these are the few assignments I must have done by next week. Part of this work load stems from my having to have complete draft of my thesis by December, but still.

1) Read about 80pgs for one class

2) Read another 30 something pages for another class

Let me stress reading 150 pages isn’t that big of a deal. I promise I’m not that much a lame ass complainer. What I have a problem with is:

3) Having to write about 60-80 pages of my novel for my thesis chair.

I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get number three done. I’m being a realist and have also decided that refreshing is more important than writing. I know I know, what kind of writer am I?

Oh let’s not forget number four.

4) Read Dante’s Inferno to help my little sister in high school with a ridiculous paper she has to write. Have I mentioned I’ve never read Dante before? Well I haven’t, this should be some great light reading to do while I’m on vacation…

I feel like a giant complainer, but you know what? It’s my blog and if I want to complain and be a baby I will be. Actually, after I wrote out what I needed to get to done I realized, it’s actually not that much. I’ve already finished the first 150 pgs of reading today. So, I’m doing pretty awesome. I don’t officially leave for vacation until Wednesday, I wonder if I could bang out twenty pages of writing by tomorrow night?

Your thoughts on assigning work during summer and spring break? I’d love to hear from the teachers and professors out there.