Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Continuing Education Never Stops

This week was a challenging week.

The main issue I've found is balancing my life as a writer with my life as a writing teacher.

I do enjoy teaching most of the time.  There is so much fear about writing that people have this aversion to the process that, with time and understanding, they can get over.  The hardest part of my job is not teaching a student where a comma goes in a sentence or how to recognize a run-on sentence.  No, the most challenging hurdle I face is the student who has had poor instruction or has been told in the past, "You are a bad writer."  It reminds me of my old days working with website developers where I had to hunt down bugs in an application and reprogram the app to do the right thing, the right way. 

A student comes to me with faulty thinking, and I have to find where the faulty thinking originated.  One student, probably in his late 20s or early 30s, told me he used to write when he was a teenager.  He kept a journal and his mother had caught him writing and made him feel bad about it.  By the time I had got him, the mental block he had built was colossal.  So I gave him the best advice I could think of (just replace the word "dance" with "write"):

 So great, I help people write.  But sometimes, I wonder about my own writing.  I didn't get a chance to work on my homework for my Blogging class this week.  I've had Writer's Block for months now.  I finally feel ideas coming to me, but I can't find the time to act on them.  My girlfriend, Jolie (read her blog on writing; she's brilliant!) has suggested many different writing projects, such as my forthcoming blog on riding the bus on Long Island (adventures and hilarity follow me wherever I go so why not blog about them?)  It just seems like I never have time. . . I don't want to be Mr. Holland.  Teaching is a noble profession, but I'm not always noble.  

A parting shot. . . if you ever want to see how good your English teacher is, ask him the following questions:

  1. What are you reading right now for pleasure?
  2. What writing project are you working on right now?
If he or she can't answer those two questions readily, seek out someone else, like oh, I don't know, me! 

My answers:

  1. Three books: Jane Eyre, Mastery by Robert Greene, and Feeling Good by David D. Burns
  2. This blog, a script for a pilot for a TV show I want to write, and just anything to help me break my Writer's Block.  Suggestions are welcome.

Blogging 101- My First Day of Continuing Education

Today was my first day of continuing education.  I am a student at Suffolk Community College, learning about blogging.  I've never taken a course that wasn't related to attaining a degree of some sort.  I'm enjoying this experience because I'm in a classroom and there is no pressure.

No pressure to perform, no pressure to excel, no pressure to even teach.  I can sit back and enjoy while learning a skill that I have incomplete knowledge on, but will serve me well in my writing career.

This was a good idea.  I'm in a period of my life where I feel stuck, frozen, not moving.  This is a different experience.  I'm already feeling the pressure between my eyes go away.  I feel the ideas swirling in my head, actually fighting to get out.  Usually the ideas lounge in my head like drunken Romans in "I, Claudius."

They demand attention but they produce nothing.  Now, the productive ideas are stomping those lazy thoughts out.

Taking this class is the best thing I can do for myself.