Theresa Milstein: Off Track
From: Theresa’s Tales of Teaching Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts
September 22, 2012 at 09:30PM
View from a field near my new home.
“Even if you are on the right track—you will get run over if you just sit there.”
– Will Rogers
Lately, I’ve been feeling like my blog has been captured by promotion. And that is because it has. Part of the reason is that good friends have published books. Another part is that more people are self-publishing, so more books are being published. And the last part is I have a short story coming out in an anthology, so I’m even going to be promoting my own stuff.
My blog has gotten off track.
I began blogging 3 years ago with the mission to chronicle my
living hell life as a substitute teacher. Some of the posts were funny or some poor attempt thereof. Some were poignant. If I really nailed it, the pieces were both.
But I didn’t write just about teaching, but also writing and sometimes snippets of my personal life. Here and there, I might do a book review or promote someone’s work, but those were exceptions. Then I began working full time in 2010, and blogged less. Those once-a-week slots filled up with more and more “other”.
While my blog has changed, this summer was (mostly) typical. I spent it visiting family, enjoying my kids, taking my kids to camp, setting up our new house, exploring our new town, applying for jobs, and writing and submitting. The biggest change, besides the new house, was getting the dog.
Oh, and my husband and his dad parachuted from a plane:
Nearly everyday these few months, I wrote nearly everyday. I wanted to achieve more than I did, but I did pretty well. I started a middle grade novel (I’m over 10k into it) and started overhauling on an old middle grade novel (I’m more than halfway through it). I also edited my last YA a bunch of times. It’s with a reader now, so I won’t do anything with it until I receive feedback.
My teaching life is kind of like my writing life: lots of stuff goes out, but they don’t lead to lots of “YES” replies. But I did have a poem in the July issue of Vine Leaves and my vignette from their April issue, “Left Behind”, will be included in their Best of Vine Leaves paperback on December.
Now I’m back at work. My aide job this year is more challenging. I’m working with an autistic child who has a hard time following the routine. This student needs so much support just to switch tasks, which is a new experience for me. While I’m fond of the student and am working hard to help the child thrive, it feels far removed from what I envisioned my role as an educator to be.
My kids are coping with switching schools in our new town. My son went from a tiny school to a huge one. After several scheduling problems, which added to feeling overwhelmed, he’s getting along better. He’s also kept in touch with old friends, which helps. My daughter had an easier start since this summer she made a neighborhood friend who’s in her class. But it takes time to build friendships, so it’s still a transition for her too. It’s hard to watch them struggle.
Even with work, the house, and the kid’s after school activities, I’m determined to keep writing manuscripts and submit short stories. A piece I wrote last summer, “My Moment”, is coming out in the From Stage Door Shadows anthology on 09/29, so I’ve set up a mini blog tour. I’ve gone through trouble to make sure when I link to guest posts, they’re not just there to say, “BUY MY BOOK.” The crowd of publication-pushers has become so large, we’re all feeling fatigued. But I’m proud of the story and if I have a piece in a book, I think I owe it to the publishers to get the word out.
I’m going to try to wrestle my blog back to its roots. Not subbing
which would kill me, but less promotion and more about my struggles and your struggles. Like when I began this blog, I’m still trying to not get derailed by what’s not working in my life, but holding on to the small successes. I think I can, I think I can.
This is my cat when we were packing to move.
What were your challenges and successes this summer?