Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Zeppelin Rides Again on the Winds of Change!

I have good news, and I have bad news.

The good news is that the final results are in, the Oakland Teaching Fellowship is mine! I will no longer be an unemployed freelance writer and author, but an employed teacher, who is also a freelance writer and author. With money to spend, money will no longer be on my mind. Even given that I will have the Biology grades of fifty-odd (or more!) Oakland Unified School District students on my mind, I'm sure my creativity will benefit. In fact, I'll probably be able to mine my job for material - sitting in coffee shops being stressed isn't exactly story material.

The bad news is that my life will certainly be a lot more busy now that I have a "real" job, and as the song goes "something's gotta give." Unfortunately, the Burning Zeppelin loses out in this calculation. It would be stupid to cut into my limited writing time to write in a blog about writing, for example. If I cut into my the Abigail time... well, let's just say I'm glad my angsty poetry phase is behind me. So, Burning Zeppelin it is.

This doesn't mean that the Burning Zeppelin is going to crash, but it does mean that my promise to blog every single day is complete, as of today. I don't know what the final schedule is going to be, as I've got a lot of stress and life changes on stack for the coming months. For now, however, the Burning Zeppelin will fly on the following schedule:

Wednesday (when I have nothing going on in the evenings anyway)

Friday (when I can stay up as late as I dare)

Sunday (is a Sunday).

This schedule may make minor adjustments. Once per month, for example, when my man-cult meets on Saturdays, the Friday post may, in fact, appear on Saturday afternoon. I also reserve the right to make major course corrections as life keeps on coming at me, so Wednesday may become Tuesday, Friday may become Thursday, and Sunday... is likely to stay Sunday, but you never know. I do promise that the Burning Zeppelin Experience will continue to update at least three times a week with cool, compelling content, and other things that start with the letter "C."

• • •

I'd like to kick things off with a discussion of writing under stress. On some level, making time to write is just that. You make the time to write, you don't find it (under the couch?). That said, however, I'm sure there are a great wealth of coping strategies for writing under duress, and I want to hear about yours.

In the comments.

That you are going to post.



Becca said...

Congratulations Mark!!! This is wonderful, wonderful news.

As for writing under duress? As NaNoWriMo has shown, I think it helps increase productivity if you're only hours away from a deadline.

Anonymous said...

CRAP is another word that starts with C. So does carp... hmmm.

Just wanted to point that out.

I've done a lot of writing under stress, mostly at college, usually at the last possible minute, always for a grade.

Now that I write for fun, I do not write under duress. Fun things should not cause more stress.

Scattercat said...

Well, I can honestly say that stress makes writing very, very difficult. My years as a teacher were almost bone dry, writing-wise. The job is a metric fuckton of work. I'd say the average is somewhere around fifty to sixty hours per week. Expect ten hours days to be the norm.

Mind you, I was also deeply unhappy in my circumstances. The public school system and the school I was at in particular were almost diametrically opposed to my philosophy of life and my teaching style. Hopefully you will find your job a joy and receive energy from it rather than having it drain you away until all you can do when you get home is stare blankly at the computer screen for a couple of hours before bedtime (which was my experience.)

Previous comments seem to have conflated writing under a deadline with writing while stressed. The two are not the same. Duress is fine. Stress makes you lose focus, energy, and creativity, and can be a complete deal-breaker for the writing process. If you find yourself getting stressed, change your circumstances as soon as you can. That's really the best solution, not just for writing but for your health as well.

Scattercat said...

Also, congratulations.

Montgomery Mullen said...

Stress + writing = commonplace for me, especially over the past year. But I don't equate deadlines with stress, necessarily; some of my best work has been done under strict deadline.

I definitely agree on making time to write as opposed to finding time to write, but sometimes life kicks the inspiration out of you, and when you sit down for writing time, all you seem able to produce is drivel. That is possibly one of the most frustrating experiences I know.

I appear to have a need to recharge my writing batteries on occasion.

Regarding your new vocation, well done, and I also hope that you find yourself rewarded and revitalized from being a teacher. Congratulations; the world needs more good teachers.