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Your Muse Is Holding On Line One

TimwritersblockI'm just thinking about stuff....

I've been struggling over my third book for months.  I've done all of the writers-block-breaking exercises and activities I can think of.  I've put the book away for a while, hoping to come back to it refreshed.  I've given myself creative space to work on it.  I've immersed myself in the fun aspects of the topic I'm researching.  Nothing.  Well, nothing except a lot of false starts.

Now that I have a mountain of grading to do for the semester, the creative juices are flowing... gushing, actually.  But I don't have time!  My students are patiently waiting for their grades... they've worked hard on their assignments and papers, and they want my feedback.  Some of them are waiting on tuition reimbursement from their employers.  I have a duty and obligation to be timely...


The siren call of creativity is now waiting... beckoning... tempting... seducing.  If I ignore it, who knows when it may come back?

What's a guy to do?


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Eric Peterson

Quickly, spend 10 minutes giving all your students "A"'s and then get going on your new book ;)

Seriously, though, you do technically have until 01/02/08 to get your final grades into the office (I believe that's the date anyway), which gives you exactly three weeks from today. Personally, I can be patient and wait for a grade (and "No," I'm not just saying that for brownie points). I know there are others out there (and I probably used to be one) that wait impatiently, constantly checking "BlueView" to see if their grades are posted. However, if you truly have had quite the "block" for a while, and are now just getting the juices back, then you better spend some time on the book.

Keep in mind that I have never written a book, so I have know idea on how the process goes, but my suggestion? I would say work through the weekend (maybe even a solid week) on the book. You've got to capture those thoughts. Maybe you don't even spend the time writing the book, more just capturing and writing ideas. In a week, re-evaluate, and maybe you'll find that all you needed was a week off from the educational system in order to re-find the energy to "bust out that grading stuff!" Plus, I'm sure many of us students could use a little lesson on "Patience."

Of course, another road might be to do the grading with "book notes" in hand, so you can capture thoughts in between papers. Multitasking to the extreme!

Eric Peterson

One more thing....If you have a list of all emails for your students, you could send out a sincere email explaining that you need these few days to a week to iron out some ideas on your book, but will immediately follow that up with grades.....give yourself a "grading deadline" (maybe it's the January 2nd date.

I hope that helps some! Good Luck!

Timothy Johnson

What I'll probably do is just hunker down over the weekend and "git'r done" but if my muse calls back, I'll put down the tests and papers and pick up the book writing.

Lisa Gates

Mr. Johnson...I would be remiss if I didn't respond to this post. Do you really think I could let you get away with all that whining? :-) I get a picture of a big fat giant toad sitting on top of your muse.

What if you could ask the toad to take a break and go play in the pond for awhile? Let the muse breathe for Pete's sake (my mom used to say that). The toad is always worried about time, money, duty, scheduling, looking good, getting a 5.0, perfection, etc. Kind of ironic 'cause he's such a warty, ugly thing.

If you're a morning writer, why not give a little right-brain space to the muse in the morning, write whatever comes to pen or fingers, with no plan, just write from the right. Set it aside and go grade a few papers, and then go check in with your muse again. Breathe, eat some lunch. Repeat. Call me in the morning.


Timothy Johnson

Hi Lisa... why did I suspect I'd be able to entice you with this post?

Thanks for the advice. I'm getting a handle on it... sort of... kind of...

As Eric noted, I have until January 2nd. I almost have the project management grades completed, which leaves the two sections of leadership. Hence, the "toad" will be kicked out while the muse is allowed to breathe. She hasn't visited in a long time, so I want to spend as much time with her while she's here.

Breathing and eating... what are those? I've heard of them. :)

Thanks for stopping by.


Digital recorder... I think one of your six cell phones should have the capacity to capture those thoughts so you can write about them later:) Had to razz you a bit. I agree with Eric on this one, you have time. As a teacher myself I have to turn grades in 24 hours after the semester ends. So I am grading finals as they take them.

I contend that all those bright students are giving you too many good ideas;) Take care and I wish the best in the coming weeks. And in line with Liz Strauss's recent post, "Thank you for this semester. You have far exceeded my expectations."

Timothy Johnson

Thanks Bob, for the reminder. I have made it through the grading, and I will be posting the grades this week. You and your classmates far exceeded my expectations as well. My favorite line from the semester (regarding stakeholders):

Eric P - "Yeah... but here in Iowa we call them plates"

For those who weren't there, think about it a little.

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