Tuesday, November 5, 2013
I graduated with my MA in English in May, and I can honestly say I'm not even sure I read a book that wasn't required in the entire year and a half I was pursuing that degree, much less put pen to paper. Before that, I was getting my BA, and finding time to write was difficult, but I still managed. Now, though, I teach three classes a semester, which means that even though I have huge chunks of free time in my schedule, I'm constantly exhausted and tired of words on pages and using my time to grade papers (sometimes). I also work at a movie theater because being a teacher really doesn't pay all the bills, especially since I only get paid once a month. So I teach in the mornings and am done by 12:30, and then I spend my nights and weekends shoveling popcorn and making drinks. It's a glamorous life, let me tell you. I am lucky when I get a day off at all, and any actual free time I have is normally spent curled up on my couch staring blankly at the TV simply because my eyes burn and/or I'm too mentally and physically exhausted to make my brain work.
But if I want it, I'll make time. Isn't that what people say? You force yourself to write whenever you can. Any words are better than no words. But I was an English major. And a perfectionist. And I hate writing things that are bad. I like to take my time and craft them well so there's less revising and editing and cutting and all that lovely jazz. But, Amanda, you say, that's just how writing works. Not just writing, creating anything, heck, even life! It's messy and takes work and patience! And I know it. I do. You know what else I know? That I just want to write. I don't want to worry about whether my classes are failing or if my students have figured out how to string words and sentences together any better or if I'm going to want to punch my coworkers for being too lazy to sweep up popcorn. I just want to write and be happy. But I can't do that until I can pay all my bills. And I can't pay my bills without working myself to the bones. Oh isn't life grand?
And you know what? I still find time to write. Because even though the words are crap and I have papers to grade and popcorn to make, writing is what I love, and if there's one thing I learned from my mother more than anything else, it's that you should do what you love. So I teach, and I work, and I lie in an exhausted heap around my apartment, and I write. Because it has always been my dream for people to read my stories, and it has always been my goal to be good enough at crafting them that people will pay me. And one day, it'll happen.