Over the summer, for the first time in my life, I got a little taste of what it would be like to have the opportunity to live just as a writer. I didn’t have to take on a part-time job to survive, and for about six weeks, all I had to worry about was writing and promoting. It was an amazing experience. For that six weeks, I was happy. There was little stress and little tension, and I was very productive. I saw how my life could be if I can ever get that break that gets my books popular enough to be self-sustaining.
Now that school has started back, I’m suddenly overwhelmed with stress. The teaching side of things is wonderful. I have good students who seem to want to learn and grow, but as has always been my complaint with the system, the bureaucratic side of things — the endless piles of redundant paperwork, the endless stream of meetings, the endless wheel-spinning of committees — sucks the life and joy straight out of the job. Around the watering hole, most of us discuss this and agree that the system as it stands in 2009 is hopelessly broken. Service to the students, in-class focus, and education itself has been lost in this deluge of bureaucracy.
It’s really a shame, too. Once upon a time, I loved teaching. Not so long ago, I felt like I could’ve been happy living out my days in classroom and passing on my knowledge about language to my students. Now, I feel as if the job is strangling me, and if I don’t find the way to make my writing profitable enough to survive off of soon, I will fade into oblivion from the overwhelming insanity of the system.
Dragon*Con is next weekend, and it is the first step in this transition. I hope to make a few contacts there and gain a lot more exposure for my series. I’m feeling the pressure of it, too. This is a crossroads in my life, a fairly major one that only comes along a handful of times at most, and I have to be on top of my game next weekend. I have to make a good showing for myself and Third Axe Media so that I can begin to move away from the shackles of our current educational system. From that pressure, I’m pretty nervous, and people who know me well should know that I don’t get nervous often. Normally, I’m fairly calm, laid-back, take-it-as-it-comes kind of guy, but right now, I’m about as anxious as I’ve ever been. Once I get there, I’ll be okay, but this is going to be a long week.