Yesterday I drafted a poem titled “Why I Write Poems About My Body.” As an undergrad professor, I’ve been thinking a lot about what writing I was exposed to when I was an undergraduate, what that offered me, and how it limited me. One part ars poetica, one part invective, the poem needed me to write it, even if only for myself.
Now that the semester is here again, I have to make sure to protect my writing and research time so that I stay focused and productive on my own creative and scholarly projects while also staying focused and productive on my teaching. For that reason, I try to reserve Fridays for my writing day. Because I don’t teach on Fridays, it’s the perfect time for me to assess all of the energy and ideas I’ve had throughout the week, throughout my class discussions, and empty myself before the weekend, during which I try to have at least one day of self-care, time for myself, away from grading, away from writing, away from any kind of work. I find that I’m more productive in all of my endeavors if I protect my writing and self-care time, and I find that I’m happier, healthier, and more energetic when I return to work on Monday. Additionally, I like to think of my #FridayWritingDay as one kind of self-care I practice throughout the semester, and it also serves to keep my Professional Development & Scholarship, a component of my faculty assessment, current and relevant.
Some writers who teach protect their writing time by getting up really early in the morning and writing every day. Others I know only write during winter and summer breaks. How do you protect your writing time? I’d love to hear your strategies, so feel free to comment below!