Thursday, 5 August 2010

Hard Work

I try to go the gym fairly regularly – some weeks I’ll manage twice or even three times, other weeks I’m too busy. I used to rock climb a lot and I miss that – going to the gym is my attempt to keep myself ready for the return to climbing which I hope will happen in September when I’ll be working near the local climbing wall on a Tuesday afternoon. It’s hard work keeping any physical shape apart from round. I accept that.

I read a lot of books – some weeks I’ll manage two or even three, other weeks I’ll still be ploughing through the same thing I’ve been reading for days. I’ve always read a lot and some days there just aren’t enough hours of peace to read as much as I’d like. I read for work too – I’m extremely lucky that I can pursue a career that involves me doing something I love. It may not pay much and that pay may not be regular or even guaranteed, but I’m lucky (or daft) enough to be able to get by, somehow.

I work hard at planning and structuring my teaching plans. This September I’ll be teaching a minimum of six courses – four will be very similar but I’ll still need to organise things along the way in order to meet the needs of my students. I enjoy my job, I enjoy teaching and I hope I do a good job. The planning and the delivery, while demanding, time-consuming and sometimes tricky, is never hugely difficult. The reason it is no longer difficult is because I’ve been teaching for nearly twenty years now – boy, does that make me feel old! I love those daily demands that teaching make – the need to think on one’s feet, the ability to quickly adapt material to your audience – it is like performing and sometimes your audience just doesn’t get it. Sometimes you misjudge your audience. It all keeps it fresh, interesting and fun; that’s why I keep doing it.

I know that things worth doing take time and effort. Nothing worth doing is easy. I don’t even like doing things that I find too easy – I’m suspicious of ease. Blame that on the Catholic upbringing.

So now I’ve explained to myself why I need to keep plugging away at writing short stories. The plots will develop, the ‘spark’ will appear and I will get excited about a story I can’t put down. Some of that rubbish I’ve written recently will eventually join the other stories that I’m proud of – even if I haven’t sent them out yet. And yes, the three novels I’ve half-written will be finished. The fourth one that is still in the planning stages will be written too, someday. Why not make it today?

Writing is a job just like any other one. It’s hard, lonely and sometimes what you write is just plain dull. If you don’t like it then go and teach A levels full time.

Subconscious, take that as a telling off. Now come up with some brilliant stories. Thank you.

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