Dec 9, 2012

Going on sabbatical

Before my parents retired, they were college professors. And every seven years, they applied for a half-to-year-long sabbatical from teaching to travel and do research.

If you're familiar at all with the politics of upper-level academia, you'll have heard the term "publish-or-perish" and what that means is that if you want to keep advancing up the academic pay scale (assistant to associate to full professor) you have to publish original research in a peer reviewed journal periodically.

In other words, you have to get out of the classroom, study something interesting and then write about it. (One year my dad spent in Halifax,  Nova Scotia studying the territorial impulses of a certain kind of sand snail. Which doesn't sound mainstream interesting but he's a biologist and weird that way.)

The whole idea behind this expectation is that interesting lives make for interesting teachers. And the same goes for writers.

The muse I have..
This past semester I've been plugging along on various WIPs. I revised a finished MS twice, completed a WIP and started another despite the fact my writing time shrank to one hour a week at best. And I've been teaching two additional classes without any advance time to plan... in other words, pantsing each class. This takes a lot of thinking time to accomplish - thinking time I had spent on writing. 

And here's what I've discovered: my stores of creativity - aka, my bipolar muse -  are not limitless. They are finite and specific and not into multi-tasking. Also they are slow to refill. I'm an introvert, someone who needs LOTS of down time to refuel. In the middle of the school year, what downtime I have is filled with laundry, cooking, shopping, hockey/volleyball games, volunteering, etc.... the drill of a working mom.

So my Christmas gift to myself this year is to relax. No more internal pressure to just write already. I'm going to concentrate on LIFE - both inside and out of the classroom. Next year I'll be traveling, doing projects with my students and starting the college search with my son.  Oh, and reading a ton. I'm hoping that creativity - as well as enthusiasm and energy and that sneaky/bipolar muse of mine -  will creep back as soon as I stop constantly draining that tank dry. *crosses fingers*

I will continue to post Friday Funnies but Monday Manuscripts will be dependant on something writerly to share.

The muses I want...

How about you? How are you coping with middle-of-the-schoolyear-stress?


Nicole said...

I LOVE the cartoon! I really need a muse like that to carry around with me. ;)

Good luck with the writing and relaxing. That's my plan for this semester break, too.

Dr. kold_kadavr_flatliner, MD said...

GREETINGS, EARTHLING!! Yes, while I’m here for this existence finite, gottawanna run back to the Elysian Fields soon; however, take anything and everything you wanna from our wonderfull, plethora-of-thot to write the next, great masterpeace -if- I can but kiss your gorgeous, adorable feets and/or cohesively cuddle withe greatest, ex-mortal-girly-ever to arrive in Seventh Heaven. Think about it. Do it! Get back with me Upstairs, k? God bless you, doll: pleasure-beyond-measure is waiting in the Great Beyond for you and eye. Love you. PS: the musical term MORENDO means ‘dying-away in tone-and-time’. How very apropos for U.S. …