But it’s time to leap. Teaching five classes of high school English and one class of creative writing, starting my day in the classroom at 7:16 AM and grading piles of research papers into the night – well, it’s fun and all, but to paraphrase my pal Rachel Hawkins, sometimes it sucks your soul out of your nose. Not to mention the hours out of the day. Somewhere in the middle of using up all my sick days while mini-touring for book two, I realized that I was willing to take the financial hit and see where I landed. Most likely, I will cobble together part time work to augment those advances that come when the contract gets negotiated – which can sometimes take months and sometimes even longer. But I will be moving on from the classroom and its routines and annoyances and deep pleasures. I leave with very mixed emotions. My seniors and I are graduating together this year, and when I chaperone their prom in May, it will finally be my last one.
My rhythms will change. I will miss the tears and the craziness and life and death angst of this one’s break up and that one’s family implosion. The people I write for will be more distanced from me than they have been. Even as I’m excited to go, this makes me sad.
But here’s the thing about writing: if you can’t push yourself to the next level because you don’t have time, you’re doing no one any good, most of all you and your career. I am finishing book three. It’s time to feel like a professional, albeit one who may have to give up her Starbucks habit.
So I’ve begun to prepare. The home office is now mine alone. I’ve got five pretty bookshelves on which I will organize my books and notebooks. A window that looks out into the trees. I will no longer walk into a school building every morning at 6:45 AM knowing that I might not leave until it’s dark again. Come mid August, for the first time since I entered kindergarten, I will not go back to school.
Change and fear are part of the writing process for me. I’ve got some of both coming. Cheers to that, I say!