Since I stopped teaching a year ago, the number of people I speak to each day has drastically decreased. It was one of those adjustments I hadn’t anticipated. Don’t forget, I used to spend most of my day with an audience of thirty-plus students. And then there were the conversations with my students’ parents and my co-workers.
Now, I spend many days in my own company while my husband is at work and my son is at school. Those hours when my son is in kindergarten are my precious “me-time.” People will often ask what I do all day, now that I‘m not teaching. Actually, I believe my days are quite productive, and I’ve never yet had a day when I would say I was bored. I take care of our house, run errands, and attend my doctor’s appointments. Basically, I have much more flexibility to get things done at a more relaxed, less frantic pace than I did when I was teaching. And, I have time to write.
Writing used to be something I wanted to do, something I liked to do, just for me. When I was teaching, I was lucky if I could carve out a solid hour a week to write. Now, I have hours available to me, and I need the time to write. I’ve got deadlines -- my personal blog as well as my two weekly posts on MomsLA.com. Writing has gone from an “I want to write” to an “I have to write.” And, I must admit I’m ecstatic about that change.
So, maybe my quieter, less-people-filled days are really benefitting my writing. This quote is attributed to Kathleen Norris: “I am learning to see loneliness as a seed that, when planted deep enough, can grow into writing that goes back out into the real world.”
Writing is generally a solitary occupation, which matches my personality well. I’ve never been one who needs to be surrounded by a large group of people. I am perfectly content taking myself out -- for a coffee, for a snack, for a walk. I need those quiet moments to think and to remain open and receptive to new ideas. For it is those ideas that will take hold in my brain and in my heart and lend themselves to my writing.
“The place of stillness that you have to go to write, but also to read seriously, is the point where you can actually make responsible decisions, where you can actually engage productively with an otherwise scary and unmanageable world.”