Today marks the end of the rather intense Chaotic Marking and Editing month for work: Trial HSC marking and 6 Major Works for my Extension 2 students. I can, if I want to, break the writing drought. And there’s a couple of lessons to share.
Firstly, returning to projects after the drought. I said a few weeks back I would be absent, and for the most part I was. My works in progress were put on hold and I can now return to them.
But not yet. Why?
Because I am absolutely knackered mentally, emotionally and physically. Today is a day of rest. Well, sort of. Washing done, biscuits made with Miss #2, couch time watching footy with Miss #1 and a gig to play tonight.
The adage, often said in all caps and repeated as a mantra, YOU MUST WRITE EVERY DAY, is in my mind, piffley twaddle. It would be ideal to write every day but the caveat is that every person is different, their schedules are different and you work out when and how you fit writing, or any creative activity, into your schedule.
During this last month, I gave myself permission not to write because I knew when the time was done I could return to it. It has been a writing drought. However, while washing up last night I had another idea for a poem to include in my verse novel, The Broken Chord. I found my notebook, scribbled the idea and returned to washing up. This is still writing.
Secondly, the month of Chaotic Marking and Editing abated, I began to reflect on the work of my students. I posted this to Facebook and I’ll reproduce it here.
As I prepare for my Extension 2 English students to hand in their Major Works on Friday, I have a new credo as a teacher. And it comes (with a slight adaptation) from Doctor Who.
Great men (and women) are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.
To completely misappropriate the quote and apply it to teaching, I am very proud of the work my students have produced. I am proud because they took on a challenge some of them were unsure they could tackle, and they have known what it is to work hard. And succeed.
As a teacher, I get to light the flame in my students. I want to instil in them a love of learning, not just my subject.
Sometimes that flame is encouragement, words of praise and congratulations.
Sometimes it’s telling the student the hard truth.
Sometimes it’s confronting their attitude, beliefs, values, and sometimes it’s supporting them.
Sometimes it’s asking them how they are, acknowledging their presence, saying hello as they enter the classroom and wishing them a good day as they leave.
To light the flame is to wish my students the very best in their endeavours and to do things better than I ever could.
I hope I never run out of matches.
I still need some rest before I tackle my WIP. No rush. It is knowing your creative cycle and how to ride it. It will take a little while to break the drought and gain momentum in my writing but that is fine.
How do you break the creative drought?