In the couple of weeks since I decided to slow my blog to three days a week from five days a week, I’ve gotten an inordinate amount of complaints. I could take that as a compliment, because it means that people are enjoying the blog. And I AM kind of flattered. For example, my mother said that a day without my blog is “like a day without sunshine.”
Then there were the other complaints. I’m not going to name names, but there were the people who told me it’s my JOB to entertain them. And the people who told me that I will never be a serious writer if I don’t blog every day.
To those soul-sucking vultures who think it is my primary duty in life to provide lengthy and amusing posts for you on a daily basis, I would like to invite you, at your earliest possible convenience, to jump off a cliff.
I mean, I’m thrilled that you find me amusing. But am I here to amuse you?
However, for those of you who either politely inquired about the frequency of my posts or else have decided to suffer in silence because you know that true art cannot be rushed, I would like to explain why I cut it down to three days a week.
Stephen King, who is one of my all-time favorite authors (despite my firmly-held belief that all of his books have the same plot: someone or something goes crazy and kills people), described the problem perfectly in his book On Writing. King worked as an English teacher before he got a six-digit contract for Carrie. And he explained that the problem with teaching was that for the first time in his life, writing was hard. He said that while he loved his kids, by Friday afternoons, he felt like he “had jumper cables clamped to [his] brain.”
While there are a lot of really rewarding parts to teaching, it’s also the most mentally draining activity that I have ever experienced. I spend seven hours of my day with thirty pairs of eyes on me.
Now I AM narcissistic enough to enjoy being the center of attention, but being the center of attention for that long is exhausting. I know that I’ve said this before on this blog, but as my mother always says, as a teacher, you’re the subject of someone’s dinner table conversation every night of your life. And the problem is, they’re much more likely to discuss what you screwed up than what you did right. So if you get lipstick on your teeth, spill coffee on your shirt, or have a wedgie that needs picking, THAT is what your kids will be telling their parents over dinner that night.
But for those of you who still think I owe you five blog posts a week, let’s walk through my typical day. I get up at 5:30am every day for school. And still usually arrive just minutes before my first class starts. I teach from 7:25 until 8:12, then I get my two planning periods together. Which SOUNDS good, in theory. Unfortunately, that early in the morning, I’m not as good at focusing as I would like to be (due largely to my chronic insomnia). But I spend as much of that time as I can grading papers, inputing grades, Xeroxing, and planning for the rest of the week.
From 10:01 until 2:10, I’m in class straight through. Lunch is in there, but I ALWAYS have newspaper kids working with me and English kids coming in for help during those periods. There’s no break at all in there, and because I’m in four different classrooms for the last four periods of the day, I don’t even have time for a bathroom break between classes. If I have to go, I have to hold it or find someone to cover my class.
I know what you’re thinking: at 2:10, she gets to go home.
You’re funny. Really. Hilarious.
Most days, I don’t get out of there until after 3, and that’s an EARLY day for me. Often I’m there far later for meetings, group planning sessions, or to work on the newspaper. Then, when I finally DO get to go home, I have grading to do.
After all that, when I finally have time to sit down and start my blog for your amusement, my brain feels like jello that was made with pineapple chunks and therefore won’t gel.
But three nights a week, I still try to come up with something witty and funny to say. Which means I am left with no time to work on any other writing (like my next book, which fans of Beyond the Palace are already asking for). And if I don’t pay attention to Rosie somewhere in there before I collapse into bed (which almost never happens before midnight), she shows me how sympathetic she is to my busy schedule by leaving me little presents on the dining room rug.
So to sum up, I do love that people are enjoying the blog. And when I’m off for the summer, I’ll probably go back to five posts a week. But if you nag me about it during the school year, I’m going to use one of those nights off from blogging to retaliate in an immature show of annoyance (most likely by wrapping your house. I’ve been around high school kids for WAY too long).
But if you just can’t get enough of my writing and are DYING to read more, pick up my book. And if you’ve already read it, tell everyone you know to read it. Because if I get a real publishing contract and make enough money to write full time, you’ll get more blogs.
And if that STILL doesn’t make you feel better, I’m trying to use the extra nights off to polish up my next book to self-publish. So more writing IS coming your way, you just might have to wait a little while.