I don’t say this to my students, but teaching is not a great career choice for a writer. It’s a very demanding job if you do it right. It depletes you mentally and emotionally, and when that happens, you feel physically depleted too.
I work part time now, but I remember when I had a full time job with those at-risk kids. I got no writing done. Even working part-time, there’s a lot of paper checking and prepping to do at home. There are many good things about teaching, especially teaching what you love to do, which for me is writing. The interactions with students are great, the lectures are fun to prepare, the time flies as we read stories and critique them.
But still. It takes a ton of time. So…I got my fall schedule in the mail yesterday. I was surprised it came so soon. I should have spoken to my dean about taking fall/winter off in 2011/2012. Even though I’d made the decision long ago and Al was on board with it and we even have a trip planned in September (to see both of our sons!) I was hesitant to turn down those classes. It was a good schedule, it’s decent money (not really, but it’s better than what I made as a book critic.)
I just had a hard time saying “no.” But then I thought of all the papers I’d have to check and how much personal time is taken up with school stuff, and what I wanted to do with my novels, and I zipped off an email to the dean. He responded with a curt reply that made me think he was at least a little ticked off. Nothing I can do about that. There are many people who will be happy to take those classes, people who need the paycheck to put a roof over their children’s heads.
And so that’s it. I’ve got a year off to work on the master plan.