07 January 2010

Learning to Run

Today's post is late. Today's post was supposed to be yesterday's post. Yesterday's post was supposed to be about the year I had in 2009, about all the wonderful things I achieved and the ways in which I did them and what I learned from the doing.

I couldn't write that post yesterday.

I couldn't write that post today.

Instead, let me tell you about what I learned today.

I'm tired, you see. Bone-deep weary, exhausted by life. I'm at the end of a six-year stint at university, and I'm longing to crawl into a hole and hibernate until I feel like a normal human being again. Only I can't, because come January 25, I will officially be a teacher.

I'm teaching at school I've never been to before (except the front office for the interview), teaching books I've never read before, to people I've never met before, with colleagues I don't know at present from a bar of human-shaped soap.

I am, quite frankly, terrified.

I'm stressed and tired and terrified.

And I haven't been writing.

Oh sure, I picked up a pen a couple of times in December and - incredibly - hand wrote a bunch of stuff, but I'm not writing; I'm just... fiddling.

And a little, tiny, persistent part of me is wondering why I want to write. If I want to write. Because, donchano, this writing business is a hard thing, and it's stressful, and this voice insists that the only reason I want to write is for the supplementary income and hey buddy, if you're looking for income, there are easier ways to do it.

In short, I feel like giving up. I can't be bothered with anything much at the moment, let alone trying to ford a path across the raging torrent of the publishing industry.

But.

I feel different, the days I write. It does something to me, deep inside, that I can't explain. It makes me a better, happier person.

I need to write.

I don't want to write; I need to write.

Here's a theory: We give up because we're scared to fail. If we give up now, on our own terms, then we're the ones making the decision. We're the ones in control. It's us, all us - and so it isn't failure.

I'm scared about the new job. I'm scared about how I'll cope with it all - the workload, the culture, the staff. I'm scared mostly because it's all an unknown. If I knew what the workload would be, I could say confidently whether I would cope or not. I could make Plans. I could see where my free time might lie and know how much I could reasonably attempt to fit it.

I know nothing, except the limited experience I had on prac.

What if I commit to wanting to be a writer, and the necessary day job gets in the way, and there just isn't time? Time that I can make without dying of stress, that is, because technically, there is always time.

What if I decide this is what I want to do - and I can't?

What if I try - and fail?

So maybe, just maybe, this isn't me hating writing. Maybe this isn't about how tired I am, or how overwhelmed I feel. Maybe this is about me being afraid of commitment, not to a person, but to a goal.

I don't need goals I can't keep; I don't need more reasons to beat myself up.

BUT making no goals isn't the answer. Making Really Simple Easy Goals (TM) isn't the answer either. We're not in life to cruise; at least, I'm not. I'm here to become a better person, to learn more about myself and the world.

Maybe, just maybe, this is about me being scared to try, in case I fail.

And that, dear Readers, doesn't cut it.

So next week, I'll be back with my goals for 2010. I'm going to take some time to really think about them, to make sure that I achieve a balance between pushing myself forward and stretching myself to breaking point. And I'm going to commit.

Because, in the words of Natalie Whipple, there's no Game Over unless you put down the controller.

12 comments:

Merc said...

Good for you, Inky, deciding what you want--need--to do regardless of being nervous about failing. :)

Just don't die of stress overload, m'kay?

*hugs and cookies*

Kristi Faith said...

I think you are going through what every writer goes through at some point. The difference is your willingness to change, sacrifice in order to write. :0) Best wishes to you, and I agree with Merc, don't die of stress overload.

"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one." Elbert Hubbard.

Krispy said...

I feel you on the stress caused by the UNKNOWN. It's pretty much how I've been feeling since I graduated and after the glow of not having to do anything wore off and I started going stir crazy. :(

I'm glad you're not willing to give up though, and that you're deciding what it is YOU want and need.

Don't stress too much though! I'm sure you'll be a great teacher, and stress aside, it must be terribly exciting as well, right?

Good luck! Don't worry too much! :)

Scott Free said...

Oh wow. My mom knows what you're going through. This is her first year of teaching.

Well Inky, best of luck to you. Really moving post. I think you've hit the core of it. :D

Scitt

Yunaleska said...

There's no such thing as failing - you only fail if you don't try.

If you fail (your term), we're here to break the fall, stuff you full of confidence and laughter cookies, and pave the road to recovery.

Did it help getting it all out? Life is really strange - I hope the stress goes away slowly, and replaces with @I can do it' feelings. Because you can.

We all read a lot of books. I know your work has a place in the market. *waves flaming spoon around*

Ooops...I set the dragon's tale on fire. (Yes, that is possible to do. And I think you know which dragon I'm referring to!)

Charmaine Clancy said...

Big hug for you Inky!

That's exactly how I feel from time to time, I try to set myself a day just for me for reading and writing and it never happens, too many life things need attending.

Set your daily goal low this year, no need in stressing yourself about reaching publication by a certain date, you'll be really busy for the first year of teaching because you don't have all the previous lesson plans to fall back on.

Make sure you use a few unit outlines available on the web, prac was crazy you don't need to be planning lessons every night. Save time for yourself, if you don't have a lesson prepared - just get the kids journal writing or take them for a walk around the school and find a way to connect it to the lesson, or better yet, ask them what they think they should do - don't overload yourself hun, it wouldn't be worth the cost of loosing your writing - you have an amazing imagination and I really want to be amongst the first to purchase a few of your hardcover novels.

Cheers
Charmaine x

ElanaJ said...

Ah, how well I remember the first few days of teaching. The terror is unlike anything I've ever felt. Hang in there, it only gets better from here!

Snazel said...

This post has made me think rather hard for several days, and made me realize why I hadn't written either, despite having many shiny IDEAS. (Meh, work is silly, why do we have to eat anyhow?)

Best of luck with your teaching! You'll do great, I have no doubt. And I look forward to seeing your thoughtful goals!

TheUndertaker said...

Hmm, I could almost taste those feelings as they fell off your post.
From a writer and someone who finished their studies in december (i.e. has been sleeping since then, exhausted) could I just put in my 5 cents worth?

Breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Time out. The world actually looks different when this takes place. It's hard, stopping, but you will be surprised at how different your world view is after. It will all come back, the passion, the knowing why you absolutely have to keep writing.
You will be fine, guarantee it : )
Love the name Inkfever

Wulf said...

Sounds like it's time to do a bit of reading! Nothing better to cure a bit of writing blues than a little indulgence in the craft.

As for worries and what-ifs, make sure you take a step back. I like to hike to a particular rock overlooking the city; everything seems so small and petty from there; reminds me to keep the important things forefront in my life.

When you get sucked into the whirlpool of life, put a stopper in it and take a nice bath :)

xtine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
xtine said...

xtine said...

Why is it that we are so afraid of failure? We are afraid of many things.
We are afraid of hunger. 'Oh it is lunch time, I am not hungry but I must eat because it is lunch time and I may get hungry later.' We are afraid of missing a call on our mobiles. 'I must answer the phone while I am driving, even though it is dangerous and illegal because I couldn't possibly miss a call.'
We are afraid of not suceeding at things we try, but is that what it is about?
What if you do fail at managing your time or other things at your new job? You will learn from those experiences.
I think we should learn to embrace failure, because it means that we gave something a go...

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