I had been telling myself that once I went back to work and I was on a schedule, I would have more time to write. But September came and went, and as October began, I kept finding excuses to not open up my work-in-progress when I was at the computer. And I still haven’t.
But I have been writing.
This year, the Parents Association at my school is sponsoring an after school program, and I proposed a Creative Writing class. The only issue was that, due to my schedule, it would have to be Friday afternoons. What 11-14 year old would willingly stay at school on a Friday afternoon? Isn’t the best part of the week rushing down the stairs and through the doors, knowing the next two days are yours? I was a little skeptical, but thought some kids would sign up.
And they did.
On Friday afternoons, eleven students (only one of which I teach on a daily basis) come to my room, rearrange the furniture into somewhat of a circle, and write. There’s a five-minute free write warm-up, and then a more structured “try it” activity, and then time to work on their own stories. Some of them spend all of the time adding to stories they’re working on. Some spend each block of time writing something different. And more often than I would have thought, some take what they’ve done in the “try it” activity and keep on going.
And me? I write, too. During the first class, the students were shocked that I was participating in the activities. “You’re doing it, too?” asked Willa, the pixyish seventh grader who always sits next to me. “Of course,” I told her. “I’m working on my novel.”
And I am.
Every Friday, from 2:35-3:35pm, you can find me in room 306, pen in hand, writing. I write monologues that I know won’t actually make it into the book but that I know are helping me learn more about my main character. Or I use the “try it” to write the silly beginnings of science fiction novels that I know I will never write. Or sometimes I just stare at the page for a while because that’s what writers do.
I forgot how fun it is to write with a pen and a piece of paper – crossing out instead of deleting, drawing lines instead of cutting and pasting, no fear of forgetting to save. And someone’s got to share first. Don’t expect a twelve year old to volunteer. I like to think I’m modeling good writing habits for the kids, but I know I’m just easing myself back into writing.
It’s slow-going, but it’s going, one hour at a time.