emmagrant01: (woman)
[personal profile] emmagrant01
1. My mom and I often joke that we are mentally connected. Over the years, we've had many, many incidents that made us think that, and today there were two more. I went to lunch with DH, and on the way I said, "Wouldn't it be great if my mom came for a visit this fall?" It had just hit me, out of the blue, that she hasn't been out here in two years. Within 15 minutes, my mom texted me and said, "I'm thinking of coming to visit you this fall" and asked what weekends would work for us. Later that afternoon, I picked up my phone and thought, "I should call mom, but I'm not sure if she's off work yet." Ten seconds later, my phone rang -- it was her. This happens to us A LOT. I haven't lived in the same state as her since I was 18, so it's cool to think of us as connected... even if I don't believe in anything supernatural.

2. I took a carload of stuff to a kids' resale shop, and they took very little of it. That was a bummer, but I decided to come home and offer up two of the larger items on our neighborhood social networking site (we use Nextdoor.com, and it's a huge improvement over the old yahoo group). Within half an hour our doorbell rang: it was a family who wanted to buy one of the items and just decided to stop by. So that was cool!

3. I think I've finally decided that the professional writing thing isn't for me. A year ago, I decided to give it a serious try, and I set aside time and everything, but... I haven't really accomplished much.
The thing is, I love writing fanfic. I love being part of the fandom community. I love the instant feedback and the freedom to write whatever I want. I thought it would be interesting to try to write professionally, but I don't think it's what I want, really. I miss teaching. I really, really miss it, and I've been thinking about it a lot lately. I took some time away from teaching to travel and then extended it to try this writing thing, but I'm thinking that I want to go back to it, at least part time. I'm in this crazy-priveleged position where I don't have to work at all, so this is absolutely about me wanting to do it again. I am lucky enough to have a choice and I choose teaching. I miss connecting with students and watching them grow and feeling like I have a purpose. Don't get me wrong: I love being a mom and have cherished having time to pursue my hobbies, but I want something more. I want to teach again.

And the cool thing about finally admitting this to myself (and saying it aloud to DH) is that I feel like a weight has been lifted. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to work on original writing, and every day that passed that I didn't, I felt guilty, like I'd wasted time. DH (who is retired and spent a lot of the last 8 months very bored while I tried to be a writer) would want me to go do things with him while BG is in school, like go exploring in our local area, try new restaurants, watch the movies we've never managed to watch -- basically, do the things we always said we would do if we just had time. But I would say, "No, I have to write," and then I'd stare at the screen and not accomplish anything. And of course, I'd feel like shit for it. After all, how lucky was I, that I actually had the time to devote to a writing career, but was fucking it up completely? Writing had always been fun, something I did purely for pleasure. And that was fandom and fanfic -- I wrote when I wanted to, and it was so much fun, but trying to write original stuff -- yeah, the fun was sucked right out for me. I want to love writing again. I want to be able to spend a day with my husband without feeling guilty for not having spent it writing. I want to be able to spend three hours building lego cars with my son and not feel guilty for not having spent it writing. And I'm going to do just that, I think. :-)

Date: 2014-09-09 02:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aome.livejournal.com
My mom and I don't have quite the mental connection your mom and you do, but I can't tell you the number of times we've bought each other the same holiday-based greeting card (Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc). A few times we'll get a title-specific one (for a mother or a daughter) but whenever we haven't, we've often ended up laughing our heads off as we each opened identical cards.

Congrats on the professional realization. I once was apologizing to my grandmother for not staying in my profession as a speech therapist, but she pointed out that knowing what you DON'T like can be just as as valuable as knowing what you DO like. What ages/subjects do you enjoy teaching?

Date: 2014-09-09 01:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmagrant01.livejournal.com
I teach at the college level. I figured out about 6 years ago that the tenure track was not going to work for me (it's a long story), and so after that I taught at several different institutions as an adjunct. And I LOVED it. It pays crap, but I'm not in a position where I need to live off of it, so that's okay for me. I happen to be in a field that's usually in high demand, so I'm hoping it won't be a problem to pick up a class or two at one of the local universities or at the community college. :-)

Date: 2014-09-09 02:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frenchroast.livejournal.com
It's really cool that you want to go back into teaching. I had to get out of it after a couple of years (5 preps and a 45 minute commute made it pretty stressful), and I still have nightmares about it. I have so much respect for people who choose to stay in the classroom, because I know I'm just not cut out for it.

Date: 2014-09-09 01:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmagrant01.livejournal.com
Yeeeeah, I only taught high school for two years before I realized I was not very happy doing that. In retrospect, I was in a really difficult and unsupportive environment, and that had a lot to do with it. So I went to grad school for five years and these days I teach at the university level, which I LOVE. It's a whole different experience, as you can probably imagine!

Date: 2014-09-09 03:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frenchroast.livejournal.com
LOL, ahhhhh, okay, yes. Uni-level is totally different--my husband is a math prof, and I remember being completely jealous of him when I was teaching high school. I've thought about teaching at the uni-level, and was asked to consider it by a friend in foreign lang. dept of the university I work for (I work in the library, as staff), but I'm not sure I can quite get past the stress of high school teaching to make the jump (plus it turns out I need 1 more grad-level French class, and I'm not exactly motivated to be a student again).
Edited Date: 2014-09-09 03:52 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-09-09 03:13 am (UTC)
ext_25473: my default default (Default)
From: [identity profile] lauramcewan.livejournal.com
You have to do what makes you happy, friend. Teach! Write fanfic! I won't stop you, nosireebob!

Date: 2014-09-09 04:47 am (UTC)
ext_25473: my default default (Default)
From: [identity profile] lauramcewan.livejournal.com
Oh, I meant to say, my mom and I will do that, too. It's a little weird sometimes!

Date: 2014-09-09 01:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmagrant01.livejournal.com
Yes! It's so easy to get caught up in the "shoulds" in life, alas.

Date: 2014-09-09 04:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mugenmine.livejournal.com
Guilt is such a wasted emotion. I'm glad you've decided to follow your heart and do what you love. It doesn't make any sense to do otherwise if you are able :-) I've been feeling kind of the same about that push to write original fic. I love writing fanfic, the ideas that drive me to write are fic, but sometimes I still feel that "obligation" to try to write original. The obligation is totally self-imposed, so ultimately it's not doing me any good. Writing should bring you joy not hardship, well there is the hardship of working on a difficult piece and that can be good, I think what I mean is that writing shouldn't feel like an obligation. or make you feel crappy.

Good on you for following your heart :-D

Date: 2014-09-09 01:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmagrant01.livejournal.com
It was absolutely a self-imposed obligation, and once I tried to do it, I realized that the things I love about writing are all present in fandom, but mostly not in the professional writing world. So why not go back to the job I really loved and keep the hobby I loved as a hobby? :-)

Date: 2014-09-09 03:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vivilit.livejournal.com
Hello Emma, what about turning your fan fiction in original work like some people do? Are you against it?
Edited Date: 2014-09-09 03:04 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-09-09 04:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mab.livejournal.com
The mom connection is brilliant! So happy you're able to stay close even far apart. Good for you for figuring out what you really want to do! That's fantastic news!

Date: 2014-09-09 01:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmagrant01.livejournal.com
I'm 43 -- how long before I know what I want to be when I grow up, yanno? ;-)

Date: 2014-09-09 11:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azriona.livejournal.com
Honestly, I think writing fanfic is so much more rewarding than writing professionally, which doesn't seem to be rewarding so much as it seems to be an exercise in being largely ignored. Plus, fanfic is instantaneous...and so much of professional writing is waiting.

(But then: I have only ever had one original story actually accepted by an editor, and no actual word on when it'll appear in print, so this is all conjecture.)

Teaching is a good thing - and kind of similar too, in that you also have the instant gratification of seeing the spark in a child's eyes when they finally get something. But it's got the long-term rewards too, when that child takes the information and goes on to do something with it. Best of both worlds, really.

Date: 2014-09-09 01:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmagrant01.livejournal.com
I thought I wanted to be able to say I was a published author, but then I realized that wasn't the reward in writing for me. The reward is in sending off a chapter to a beta and getting her comments, and later publishing the chapter and seeing feedback from readers and fellow writers. It's feeling like I'm part of this community. And I'm sure that such communities exist for professional writers too, but I'm happy here. I don't want to leave.

There's also this strange aspect of identity, I've found. I have always said, "I'm a teacher." And so when I decided to try the writing thing, when people asked what I did, I said, "I'm a writer. Well, trying to be. Haven't actually published anything yet." And that would lead to either pitying looks or an awkward conversation in which I tried to avoid talking about the thing I was writing, because wow, trying to explain the plot of your action/adventure-slash-queer-romance novel set in the future in space is way harder than I expected. So I started avoiding talking about it, and then I didn't know what to call myself. And that bothered me. Maybe it shouldn't have, but it did. :-P

Date: 2014-09-09 05:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azriona.livejournal.com
I think EGT mentioned something about a published-writer community - so I'm sure they do exist, but I suspect that it's nowhere near as supportive as a good fandom in. I mean...published writers are in competition with each other in a way that fanfic writers are not. (Except when those award thingies pop up, and I've learned my lesson and try to stay the hell away from them as much as possible.) Most people who walk into a bookstore are only going to buy a set number of books - and there comes a moment where they might choose to purchase the book that's not yours.

(I admit I have a somewhat cynical view on it. But I also remember being in a bookstore when I was a kid, and trying desperately to buy as many books with my $5 as I possibly could, and weighing which book was the one I wanted IMMEDIATELY and which book I'd have to chance still being there in another week.)

But you see, I'd say you are a writer, already, regardless of whether or not you write fanfic or blog entires or New York Times Bestselling novels. You put words together in a format that other people can read: that's writing. That it's fanfic makes no difference: it's still writing. It's still important. It's still changing the way people view themselves and the world. Just because you aren't paid for it doesn't make it any less important, and doesn't mean you are any less a writer than Neil Gaiman or Toni Morrison or...oh, let's say Steven Moffat.

As far as I'm concerned, your answer when people ask you what you do with the kidder in school can be the same as mine: "I write." (Okay, I also clean the house and you prepare podcasts and presumably we both do the laundry.) But primarily, we're writing or editing or researching; what we do is no different than what any other writer in any other medium in the world does.

(Granted, I can't always tell people what I'm writing - this area is way too Christian conservative for me to be completely honest and still have friends - but most people don't actually care too much about what I'm writing beyond generalities or the publishing thing. Except publishing isn't - and shouldn't be - the end-all be-all of it, and I think most writers know that. I think you're right: the real reward is the feedback, and the simple act of publishing is never going to match that.)

Okay, I will stop being all meta in your blog now......*slinks off*

Date: 2014-09-09 01:37 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-09-09 02:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drinkingcocoa.livejournal.com
No tiny violins for this post! For this one, maybe a joyful choir or a brass band! It makes me so happy that you got to try out for yourself whether you want to write novels professionally and found out, on your own terms, that it isn't right for you. This is pure goodness. You got the chance to try. You got to think about what you love to do. It is a blessing that you get to teach and you'll be able to do it in an environment that lets you teach, lets you communicate with minds. This is a wonderful post.

Date: 2014-09-09 02:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vivilit.livejournal.com
I understand how you feel about teaching, I'm a graduated student in a autism genetics group, and currently been doing just research, but my dream is teaching on college. I used to teach in a public high school to adults that wantesd to complete education (before I decided to get a PhD), and I miss that sometimes, to teach all those people who most of the time really wanted to learn. I had stopped because here in Brazil teaching in public schools pays less than crap, and even though I wanted to teach them, I really needed a little more money (research also pays crap, but at least is better than teaching). But as soon as I get my PhD I'll certainly try and go teach again.

Date: 2014-09-09 04:26 pm (UTC)
nia_kantorka: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nia_kantorka
The connection between you and your mom sounds wonderful.

It might be hard to make such a decision but it's a good thing you can do the things you want. So teaching, time with hb and fanfiction it is. All great things. :D

Date: 2014-09-09 10:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daasgrrl.livejournal.com
Just to say it was good to hear your thoughts on (3). I don't think anything really beats fandom, writing-wise, for that combination of feedback and community, so it's good to know what you want rather than what you "should" want!

Date: 2014-09-09 11:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] write-out.livejournal.com
#3 makes me happy. You gave it a try, it didn't work out, and now you can move on to something else you love.

Date: 2014-09-10 02:22 am (UTC)
ext_25473: my default default (Default)
From: [identity profile] lauramcewan.livejournal.com
Interestingly...check out secret #9 on Fandom Secrets: http://fandomsecrets.dreamwidth.org/1076663.html

Date: 2014-09-10 08:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pallojaketju.livejournal.com
I'm so happy for you!

To be honest, when I first read on your LJ that you'll give professional writing a try I was so sad (for completely selfish reasons) because some fanfic writers who I love have stopped writing fanfic after they decided to become professional writers. That's a amazing, of course, except for me, because I miss and yearn to read more smutty/slashy fic from these people.

Anyway, I've read your fic for ten years and cannot wait for more!! *happy dance*

Date: 2014-09-13 12:17 pm (UTC)
lokifan: black Converse against a black background (Default)
From: [personal profile] lokifan
I'm glad you've made a decision that's making you happy! It's so easy to think that being a talented writer who enjoys writing fanfic SHOULD AND MUST = being someone who wants to (and can) write professionally. And it's bollocks.

(Also, yay for teaching. It's great. Come back to us! *teacher solidarity fistbump*)

Date: 2014-09-13 06:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nenne.livejournal.com
It sounds like a day(time) full of insights. Now you can just do things you enjoy without feeling guilty, how great is that? :-)

Date: 2014-09-17 06:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] geneva2010.livejournal.com
my husband and I are avid hikers, and our motto is "hike your own hike" (although we really hike OUR own hike). I think that goes for life, too. We are drawn to things for a reason, they fulfill us. I will always love your fanfic, and it's a glorious day for us to know that you're planning to devote time to it!

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