When I’ve been travelling I’ve often heard about the 6-8 week pangs people feel – those initial thoughts that maybe you’ve had enough and homeward bound is the way forward. Give it another week or so and you find your energy and love of backpacking renewed and ready to keep going. I think the same applies to teaching, only much earlier on.
It was roughly 2-3 weeks into the term when I felt at my lowest, and judging by the conversations I’ve had with others new to the job, it was the same for them too. Now, we’re in week 8 and I’m probably feeling my most positive yet. I’m starting to see real reason for doing the job I do and having good or okay days much more often.
This optimism has led my naïve little mind into thinking I can handle yet another mammoth task on top of my workload, and seen me sign up to #NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month for those allergic to hashtags. The aim for those not in the know, is to write a 50,000 word novel in the space of a month, using daily word count updates, forums and motivational tools on the organisation’s website to keep you going and produce a piece of fiction.
Last year I was realistic, and only set myself a goal of 30,000. I achieved 17,500. Pretty bad really, but still 17,500 words more than I would have written without the programme. And too large a number never to bother looking at my work again. So I’m cheating a little, in that this year I shall be picking up where I left off rather than starting a new novel. At this rate I might have something novel length in 5-8 years, which sounds light years away, but left to my own devices without NaNoWriMo, I bet it’d take me at least double this, if ever actually completed. And they say the average novel takes 5 years to write anyway.
But that is not all! No, I have also done the manic thing of signing my students up to the Young Wrimos Programme too, and committed to running an after school club EVERY NIGHT in November for those up to the challenge. I bet I’ll be on my own fairly quickly. But if not, I see sessions taking the form of writing sprints, where students and myself can motivate each other to do well enough to have something we are proud of by December.
If you haven’t visited the NaNoWriMo site before, and are interested in writing at all, I really recommend a quick visit. And just try and resist the ‘Sign Up’ button that stares you in the face!
Happy writing, readers.