Overwhelmed: A Teacher’s Life

Do you ever get so overwhelmed with something that you can barely sit and do anything?

I start school in about a week and a half.  It’s great.  I am excited, and I know I’m a decent teacher.  I mean, yes.  It’s nervewracking.  Will the students like me?  Will I make any sense?  Will I teach them everything they need to know?  Will they like me?  My class?

I’m kind of confident about all of this.

What has me overwhelmed is all of the preparing.  I have to make lesson plans and get school supplies ready… (and being a new teacher, I only get a half a day in the school before school actually starts!  That makes no sense).  As soon as I get something done, I remember something else I have to do.  My to-do list is never blank.

I know I’ll get it all done.  I’ll make it happen, as long as I focus.  But I keep staring at the to-do list, feeling the butterflies in my stomach.  How am I supposed to focus when my brain is going in circles?  Why can’t I have a day without this worry?

Writer’s Block

There have probably been thousands or millions of blogs written about writer’s block.  I hate being one of those people who adds to it, but I can’t help it.  I’m so frustrated.  I spend weeks planning a new story, and I start writing… And it all falls apart.  This is the second time it has happened in the past few months.

I know I shouldn’t push it.  I don’t want to push it.  When I write, I want it to be something I’m proud of.  But I have so many ideas in my head that I want to get out on paper.  And I want to publish books.  Plural.  But how can I do it when I’m stuck?

Lately, I haven’t been able to find any time to write.  And when I do think about it, my brain gets overwhelmed and crazy about all of the other things that I need to do in my life.  I can’t even bring myself to finish editing the novel I actually have done.

How am I going to be a writer if I can’t get anything out onto paper?  It’s just so completely frustrating.  What do I do?

Where I learn to be better at constructive criticism…

It’s only taken a couple of years, but I finally, FINALLY, convinced one of my friends to beta read my first novel.  She read it in a night (which, I mean, I don’t write super in-depth stuff, no surprise), and she kept on texting me about how much she loved it, how great it was (not to brag or anything).

And I trust her.  She’s one of my best friends, and I really trust her.

This morning, she sent me her notes.  I read them first thing when I woke up.  And I felt… angry.

  • Your main character needs some more obvious flaws.

She has flaws!  Are you not reading?  Her shyness?  Her anxiety?  ARE YOU NOT READING?

  • This part makes no sense.

Well, of course it makes sense!  You read it in a night.  Maybe you read it too fast.

My initial instinct was to be angry with her.  Shouldn’t she think my story is perfect?

No.  Of course not.  And after a few deep breaths (and maybe a mile of running at the gym), I started thinking sensibly.  She told me how much she liked it.  Her notes were an attempt to make it better.  So that when and if I publish it.  It’s a GOOD book.

I might not use all of her ideas.  But some?  Some make sense.  And maybe I am upset that my book isn’t perfect, but.  I’m coming around.  I can fix it.

Of course, that means revisions.  (Ugh)

And what am I going to do when I publish it and more reviews start streaming in from anonymous strangers?

Exhausting summer

By day, I am a teacher (though I much prefer my fancy “by night” title as a writer), and so because of that, summer should be my favorite season, right?  Warm weather, no work, relaxing.

Except that I am a 20-something teacher who has yet to find a permanent job.  I run a summer camp in the summer.  You know, so I have money to live and whatnot.  It’s long days in the heat and sun.  Long days with dozens of kids, anxious parents, injuries, and hormonal young staff members.  Long days of trying to make soccer and tag interesting for 8 hours a day.  Long days of trying to make it a unique and pleasant experience for each one of the 60-70 kids who attend the program each day.

And I.  Am.  Exhausted.

It is 8:30 on a Friday night.  I have already slept an hour since coming home from work, and I am planning on crawling into bed and sleeping in a few minutes.

Aren’t I supposed to be wild in my 20s?