De-Cluttering the Brain

In an effort to stay focused on my classes and teaching, I have completely neglected this blog. While I’m still in the middle of a summer session as both teacher and student, I am ashamed to say I have fallen off the wagon. Last summer session I was banging out pages and pages daily for my thesis/novel. I was focused and had a great schedule for both exercise and writing.

Once the second summer session began and I had to start teaching, my schedule was totally distrupted and I still (sadly it’s been three weeks) haven’t been able to get back on track. I can’t quite figure out why I have lost focus and I guess in the end it probably doesn’t matter. I just need to address the fact that I haven’t done any new writing in almost a month.

I have attempted to outline my novel and I am confident that with an outline the pages will come. I’ve always been a huge advocate of the outline. It is a great tool that I force my composition students to use, regardless of how much they like it. While my thesis isn’t something “academic” it’s still a large piece of writing that needs to be well structured. I am glad I haven’t completely forgotten about my thesis.

Writing this blog has been a great venue to get my thoughts out. In de-cluttering my brain I’ve been able to focus on my thesis. I’m hoping that since I decided to get going again, I’ll be ready to work on my thesis.

I’m a little nervous about the deadline for my rough draft. I need to have a completed rough draft of a novel by December. While December is seemingly far away, it’s closer than it appears; like a rear view mirror and the objects in it. Summer classes have a way of decieving. It seems like you’re getting so much done because you’re in class, then doing work but before you know it summer is over and it’s time to start again.

Since I was enrolled in summer classes last summer session, I haven’t really had a chance to recouperate. I’m grateful that I get a three week break between summer two and fall. I’m a little more than halfway through summer two and I already feel burnt out. While today I was incredibly productive, and I still feel a drive pushing me to finish some reading and grading, today was the first day in a while where I’ve gotten a lot done.

It’s a good thing I’m not so focused on the final grade. I do hope that doesn’t bite me in the ass when I eventually apply to PhD school. When I started grad school last August I was grade obsessed and it started to take away from the learning and enjoyment of higher education; so I decided I’d do my best regardless of a final grade of a B. In the end, I’m there to produce a thesis and read and learn about a bunch of literature. I’m not there to get straight A’s; although straight A’s would be great.

I keep going with this post because it feels good to just talk, to write. I feel better already and I’m thinking I shouldn’t have neglected this wonderful space that is One Mean MFA’s blog.

One last thing, teaching and writing is daunting. It seems that when I teach I put so much of myself into the classroom that it takes away from me putting myself into my writing. Today when I was grading papers, I found myself really giving my students a lot of insightful–and long comments. While I really want to help them grow as thinkers and writers I know that most of them just want to pass. They don’t care and I’ve noticed that many of them just flip to last page just to see the grade. So why the hell am I giving them these detailed comments? I’ll devote a post on this later.

Well thanks for listening. I feel invigorated and ready to focus on the rest of my reading and definitely the writing I need to get done for this week.



  1. Hi, I work with and for academics – I really admire you guys who are studying and teaching – good luck with it all. R.

  2. Rubric – adopt. Takes some work to develop, but it saves you some time as you can check next to the criteria you put on the it. Make a one page form, score, and make add’l comments as you see fit, then staple to essay.

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