Friday, December 16, 2016

What I've Done to Keep Writing

It's been a struggle to keep writing while also having a day job as a teacher. As an introvert, I am very tired at the end of the day after being around so many people, especially teenagers who have so much energy. I do not get my energy from being around them, like many of my extraverted colleagues. And while I very much enjoy teaching and getting to know my students, it's something that leaves me very tired at the end of the day.

Additionally, I stare at a computer screen for a big portion of the day. Since I teach students science, we do a lot of labs and discuss the concepts in that way, but I always have a powerpoint to at least organize my thoughts (even if it's just bullet points).

Guillermo Del Toro hand writes his thoughts too
From his exhibition at the LACMA
Then there's answering emails. All our students have chromebooks (we're a one-to-one laptop school), so in addition to emails from parents, colleagues, the school district, and random science people, I also get emails from students every day. That's a lot of email to go through. I'm the type of person who likes to reply back ASAP so that I've answered all my emails and don't have any responses hanging over my head. We also have lots of assignments that are turned in over our web-based management system, so I grade almost everything on the computer. Again, this means a lot of screen time.

When I get home, the last thing I want to do is to use more brain power to write on a computer. I don't have clear thoughts on my story because my day was filled with minute-to-minute decisions of other things. I cannot force myself to look at a computer for the rest of the night. But obviously I still want to write. I have this story (that I've started twice) that keeps swirling around in my head, that I have to finish. But it's been so hard to keep writing on the computer.

Instead I've been handwriting in a journal every night before I go to bed. Writing out scenes instead of typing isn't something that makes sense to me and my brain, so I've been world-building and character-building and even plot-building. Even if it's just for half an hour, I've been thinking about it and writing down something. That way, when I get to the week, I can outline and actually start the real writing.

I know this is nothing new to lots of people, but it's not something I ever really considered for some reason. Living in this technical world, I guess I just forgot about using a journal.

So that's what I've been up to. I'm starting this story over for a third time (yay) and hopefully with all the world-building and brainstorming I've been doing, this will be the correct vision (of a first draft).

Are there days when you just can't get yourself to look at a computer screen? What do you do instead?

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