As it’s the first day of a new month and crisp autumn mornings are upon us, I have decided to take stock of my life – an autumn de-cluttering if you like, rather than a spring clean.
Since returning to work last month, life has just got the better of me. I have let myself slowly drown in the amount of work I have to do. I have ended up being completely overwhelmed and back to having anxiety attacks.
As a result, my writing has suffered. I’ve managed to get up at 5.30 most mornings to write, but have been so stressed about my ‘to do’ list at work, I just haven’t been writing productively. I’ve stared at the screen unfocussed, the words like military lines of ants swarming before my eyes. I’ve battled through against the voice in my head screaming ‘lesson plans, assessments, wall displays, tests’. I’ve simply ended up on a very fast road to nowhere, a quivering wreck.
So this morning, I sat down and knew I had to de-clutter my head. I had three questions I wanted to try to answer:
- What am I doing wrong?
- What do I want to do?
- How am I going to do this?
The very simple answer to the first is that I’ve been trying to do everything at the same time and it just doesn’t work.
The reality – I have to work to pay bills etc. I teach, it’s a stressful job, the workload is humanly impossible to keep on top of … but I enjoy being in the classroom with the pupils and the pay is decent enough.
The dream – To be a writer.
And of course, my most important role is being Mam to my three amazing little boys.
I have had an epic battle going on between Reality and Dream and it has finally dawned on me that neither is going to win. The only way for me to keep my sanity is for both to slot into my life and exist side by side. I am not a super-human, there is only so much I can do.
So with this new month, comes a new me (hopefully). I’ve cut my work hours down to three days. On these three days, my teaching workload has to take precedence (I stay late after school, I work through lunch – whatever it takes to keep afloat in the sea of paperwork). I focus solely on work.
My non-working days are my writing days. I’m not being paid to work on these days therefore school work has to be left alone. Whilst my youngest naps, I’ll write. I won’t think about anything else. To help keep this focus I’ve set myself three targets for this month:
I) Finish my current WIP
2) Edit a short story and enter it in a competition
3) Start on the sequel to my debut book
Being Mam is of course, my number one priority. Not just the mechanics of this role, but having fun and enjoying being with my boys. This comes first and foremost.
And that is where I’m at. Writing this blog has helped – I can and will do this. Others do. By the end of this month, I hope that my equilibrium will be restored and my writing targets met. As to that endless mountain of school work? I’m a teacher. My role is to teach. And if I get that part right, that’s what matters.
So here’s to a productive and happy October.
Hwyl am y tro x