Monday, December 17, 2012

On the Writing Life and Seedlings (Re)Born

So I've posted about it briefly on Facebook, but I truly haven't mentioned here why I've restarted this blog. Here it is: I've finally entered a season of my academic life, for the next few months at least, when it will be possible to actually balance my writing life, both of the academic and the creative varieties, with my teaching life.

It could have been possible over the summer, but I had to move and was pretty burnt out (still recovering from a very full load of teaching so soon after finishing the diss, so regeneration was needed before this semester, which involved a new school and new classes and all the adjustments that come with that.

Despite all that, though, over this summer and into this past semester I was able to crack slowly back into my writing side, like one of those seeds from childhood school projects beginning to germinate and push back up through the dirt surrounded by the inevitable styrofoam cup.

It started small, as it should: a couple of more articles written for the ever-delightful catapult magazine; finally cleaning up a chunk out of my MA thesis from years ago and sharing it at a conference this fall for some great feedback; and then finally revising a couple of chunks of my dissertation intro and extending out the ideas in semi-new directions. I'm grateful to note that both conference papers have been accepted for spring academic conferences. And in the midst of the semester I jotted down some ideas for a diss-related journal article and for turning my diss theory into a book down the road.

Without even talking about my projects for this break, next semester, and the spring (I'll save those for later posts), now that I look at the list of "small" starts, that it's pretty miraculous that I think of this list as small, because my pre-PhD self would have thought of it as a huge list. I won't lie--the PhD process and the dissertation were painful, and I protested much in the midst of them and afterwards. But as I've mentioned here before, my writing muscles have become strong, and my writing stamina grew tremendously from those challenges. I'm delighted by this, and am delighted to be back, firmly planted and with my writing life's metaphorical seedling head again above the soil to the point where it seemed obvious that I would restart this blog.

Sometimes that whole instant gratification thing is overrated, and as my students and I discussed the other way, the work itself--regardless of what happens with it--is valuable. I'm so thankful I was given the strength to stick it out, or I wouldn't be ready for new challenges!

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