I Made it to This Year’s Writing Goal

It’s been a long year, but I’m glad that I’ve found this bit of success this year.

I had long set a goal for me to write 200,000 words this year. As of 2:30 PM Central Time today, I am at 200,063, with more than a month to spare.

Yes.

My current full record for a year that I have been keeping records of is 208,919 back in 2020. This is certainly reachable before the year is out.

I had hoped to meet my daily quota of 500 words a day or 30 minutes of revisions and/or planning at least 70 percent of the time this year. I’m not sure exactly when I will be statistically secure on that goal, but I expect that it will happen soon.

Some of the things that I have experienced this year have given me a lot to think about. I’ll have to consider what my writing goals will look like next year.

Upward and onward, then.

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What I’m Writing About Recently, or I’m Writing This Just To Write Something

[PHOTO NOTE: My current Facebook profile pic. Just because.]

Sometimes I get into a situation where I know I should be writing but I can’t manage to do the right type of writing.

By most metrics, I think I’ve had a pretty productive writing year so far, and I think it will get better by the end of the year. However, I’m also going through a bit of a transition. For the past couple of years, I was writing fan fiction and spending most of my mental and creative energy in that sphere. It has been a wonderful experience and I have a strong feeling that it helped me recapture my passion for writing once again, but I feel like I should be talking some of the other writing that I have planned seriously. I wanted to get back to writing books again and doing more with this site. I even talked about it for a few weeks recently.

However, it turns out that sometimes people can wind up trying to do a whole bunch at once and find themselves frozen, so to speak. Well, perhaps I might only be speaking for myself, but it is true for me, at least. I think this is partially because I get used to working in certain ways and when I get out of what I’m used to doing, that can mess with me. In years past, that would have just convince me not to write anything. However, since I’ve actually decided to get serious about my writing during the past several years, that’s not really an option that I feel comfortable exercising. Even though everyone has off days and I certainly have days where I don’t write a single word, the fact that I do that too many days in a row makes me uncomfortable in a way it never did before.

I want to be creative and I definitely feel better mentally when I accomplish any sort of writing, whether it’s serious writing, fun writing, or even just a good round of revisions. So, in lieu of writing anything else, I thought I’d discuss some of the observations I’ve had about some of my current work habits and why it might be sometimes challenging to write in some circumstances. For me, it beats not writing, so I hope any writers out there get some benefit from it.

  1. Conventional book-writing and fan fiction writing have two particular differences that I have noticed. The first of these is how you go about putting together the work. In fan fiction, most writers post their fiction as they write it, in individual chapters. As a consequence, you are writing your work in chronological order as you work on it, or else readers would have no idea what was going on.
    This can be a sticky situation when you get to a point in your writing where it’s a slow part of the story and you don’t have as much enthusiasm for that particular scene. However, it can be a valuable way for you to realize that you either need to cut the scene altogether or drastically shorten it, so in that sense it can be valuable.
    In the case of book fiction, however, you don’t publish as you go. You only put out the book when you finish the entire work. Because of this fact, you have the ability to write sections of the book in whatever sequence you like, just like how movie and television directors often shoot scenes out of sequence. I began this practice in recent years for three particular reasons. It encourages me to write the most interesting scenes first, and thus encourages writing productivity. I also find that it indirectly encourages me to eventually leave out those scenes, which I think speeds up the action and pace of the narrative. So, that is an advantage of novel writing.

    The second difference, on the other hand, concerns overall word count. In the world of online fan fiction, there is no real limit to the amount of words you can write. I ended up writing more than a half million words for one series that I’m doing and nobody would blink and eye at it.
    When it comes to conventional publishing, however, keeping a narrative under a certain word count is more expected. Novels are typically between 60,000 to just under 100,000. Fantasy and science fiction authors can go a bit over that mark, but otherwise, publishers want you to keep those books at a certain length.
    I just took a look at the new manuscript I’m working on – essentially a sequel for the new book that’s coming out (watch this space for further announcements on that). I’m informally settling on a word count of about 80,000 to 95,000 for the book. I just started writing it in earnest two weeks ago. I took a look at my word count and I’m already up to 8,000 words. I feel like I just started telling the story. It’s a limitation for sure. However, maybe it’s a good limitation – not all of those unabridged novels and director’s cut films are genius-level works of art.
  2. Sticking to writing deadlines is a bit tough for me. I have usually been sticking to putting out my writing journals on WordPress every Wednesday recapping my word count and work for the previous week. Then again, those are pretty standard to put together because I’m usually just posting numbers and making the odd comments about them
    Making creative content, stuff like writing advice and those A Writer’s Biography posts, is a bit more work. I’ve been trying to write a content-rich post every weekend, but as you might notice from the timestamp on this one, that gets a bit difficult. (I was thinking that I was going to get something posted by Saturday, ha ha.)
    This is a skill that I think will be a work in progress for me. And, I realize that I’m not the only one with this type of problem. I’ve been gratified in recent years to learn that two of my creative idols growing up – the late great novelist Douglas Adams, and the cartoonist Berke Breathed, were notorious for missing deadlines. That helps me keep it in perspective.
  3. It’s tough to try and get a good word count going and be a poet.
    I’ve started to write poetry (and have shown some of them on this site), but they don’t really add to the word count, do they? I mean, I managed to get this post well over a thousand words without too much effort, but verse is a totally different animal than prose. Poets often go through just as much work to put together a group of words that a prose writer would put in to write ten times as many words. My writing group has been pondering this question for a while and wondering what a rightfully equivalent amount of writing would be for poets.
    Since I’ve been working at trying to write 200,000 words this year, obviously this has discouraged me from spending too much time on poetry. Something I might keep in mind when I am considering next year’s writing goals.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Take care of yourselves, everyone.

Writing Journal 19 October 2022: Feeling productive

I’ve had two great weeks in a row of writing, and it’s felt good.

I didn’t quite write as much as I did last week, but I’m feeling quite good about the numbers.

I feel like I’m writing something of value, something that I think has something to say. Whether or not it will lead to anything when it comes to financial considerations – well, as I mentioned before, that’s not something that’s a… major concern to me, but there might be some possibilities out there that I can’t quite get into just yet.

Here’s the numbers for last week:

Writing statistics for the week ending 15 October 2022:
+4,869 words written.
Days writing: 7 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 0 of 7 for 0 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 7 of 7 days.

As of the end of last week, I have written 176,007 words toward my 2022 goal of 200,000. Even if I have my worst three months of writing in a row (12,563 words during the month of May), I would still be more than 10,000 words ahead of my goal. And my first two weeks of October have not been bad at all. As far as making my goal of meeting my daily work quota (500 words per day or 30 minutes of revisions/planning work) 70 percent of the time, I’m currently averaging meeting my quota 74 percent of the time.

Again, I’m not assuming anything. You can always have writer’s block, you can always run into a dry period. I’ve gone through those many a time. But, it’s looking less and less likely that any major slump is going to keep me away from my goals. It should also be said that this might be a record year of productivity. My biggest year since I’ve been keeping track of my writing numbers from these journals was 208,919 in 2020. That record is certainly in danger of being topped. The highest percentage of times I’ve met my writing quota is 78 percent of the time in 2019, and there is an outside chance of me at least matching that level. We’ll have to see about that one.

Anyway, that’s all I have for now. I’ll be back in a while – definitely this weekend. Is there a day that I should select to put out new work? I’m thinking it might be Saturday, but sometimes I can’t get it in gear until Sunday lol.

“Work” Writing Vs. “Fun” Writing: A Reflection (Part 3/3)

Well, I’ve been trying to shovel out a lot of what our current president might call malarkey, so I figure that I might want to try and bring it to a close.

I started my writing life harboring a small little hope that someday, my talent and great stories might end up making me rich and famous.

As I approach a half century of life, I now realize that my writing goes beyond notions of fame and fortune. I realize that I would be writing and creating even if nobody was reading it. I realize that I would be flinging my work into the electronic beyond even if I didn’t know that someone would be reading it and be interested in it.

It is nice, however, to have someone praise your work and tell you that you are a great writer. That’s the truth even if you don’t know exactly who those people are and couldn’t be relied on to pick out those people in front of you even if they were wearing name tags that bore the usernames that they went by in the electronic Wild West. None of that matters.

As a responsible writing instructor at the secondary educational level (and previously at the post-secondary educational level), this is where I would start insisting, quite annoyingly, that the author of whatever nonfiction writing piece that they are trying to create (and this is, by clear definition, a nonfiction writing piece) needs to lay out, in a single sentence, if possible, what the thesis of their writing is. If they are not able to recite this sentence for me, I often insist, then they will be lost regarding what the intent and purpose of their writing is, and more importantly, their readers will have no idea what in the bloody frozen hells of the lower levels of Hades what the purpose is of what they are writing.

So, I’m going to see if I can manage some sort of thesis statement not just for this piece of writing, but also for the previous two ones in this series. In addition, I think that by definition, it is going to end up being a working thesis statement regarding who I am as a writer.

When I was a kid, I self-identified as a writer. This was what I wanted to be when I grew up, this was how I was going to Make My Living. I also had a small little ambition to become a Famous Novelist, but like all sorts of fame and success, I didn’t know how much talent, desire, and luck1 you needed to get to that point. I had at least just enough of the first one and plenty of the second one, but the third I had no more than most typical people and I hadn’t learned yet how critical that can be when it comes to fame and success. You can almost certainly succeed if you have sufficient levels of all three qualities, but if you only have even just two or one of them, you’d have as much as a chance as most people have on the lottery.

When I was a younger man, there were many times where I did describe myself as a writer but I almost felt like a fraud doing it. Yes, I was making money off my writing skills, first as a journalist, and then as a teacher. In the former case, I certainly could say I was a published author, but it wasn’t like I was a novelist or anything. I had set aside my writing for a while, and there were years that went by where I hadn’t written a single word of fiction. Those novelist dreams of mine kept getting further and further away.

Now, I have actually gotten to be a published writer, even though I am far from A Success yet. I have been concentrating on improving my writing skills, both from a productivity and a quality standpoint. I am starting to see results. The fact that I am not supporting myself as a writer, or that I am producing some work that has no economic or marketing potential whatsoever, is totally irrelevant.

I am a writer because I want to write, I am writing, and I want to grow and improve my craft. No other definition is needed.

How’s that for a thesis statement?

So now, I don’t have any existential debates anymore about whether I’m a writer or not. Whether I’m as good or as productive of a writer as I should be, however… that is a different story.

I’ve managed to set some goals for myself this year. Maybe you heard about them. I know I will have to continue to set new goals and challenges for myself in the years to come. I’m in the process of considering what those goals should be, and I think self-publishing is going to be at the top of that list.

Keep going upward and forward, for as long as my health and faculties hold up. There’s still a ways to go, and any lifetime is never enough time to learn everything that there is to know about writing.

Footnotes:

  1. Luck I define as any other outside forces or circumstances that fall in your favor when you are trying to accomplish something.

A Self-Publisher’s Progress, or Lack Of It: Why I’m Going to Go the Self-Publishing Route

These are interesting times.

You might remember that I managed to get a book published with an outside publisher a couple of years back. That was a feather in my cap, certainly, and I crossed a big item off my bucket list in the process.

Since then… I have not yet had a chance to publish another book. The publishing company I worked with previously is not accepting new fiction, so that avenue is closed to me. I have at least one or two possibilities for projects I could move forward with. I have at least one that is almost publishing ready, except for a few items.

So, I am faced with two different possibilities. First, there’s option of trying once again to find a publisher or agent willing to work with me to put together a new project. They would have a better idea of the current publishing climate than I would, obviously, and more connections in that area as well. Usually you won’t get a look from any of the Big FIve publishers – Penguin/Random House, Hachette Book Group, Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, and Macmillan – without an agent1. It’s a long-term process, as well – getting a book through the publishing process even if you succeed can take months and even years at a time, not even counting the initial writing process.

Or, I can go the self-publishing route. Selling physical books on demand is easier than ever thanks to Amazon, and e-book distribution can cut out even more middlemen out if you want to go the all e-book route. (As for me, I am too much of a traditionalist to totally abandon physical books. There I would be my own boss and have the majority of the profits. How much of those profits there would be is an open question. Some people can make a tidy career out of this. For others, the revenue is few and far between.

I’ve been thinking long and hard about this. As a result, I have elected to go the self-publishing route.

There are two main reasons that I’ve made that decision.

The first has to do with fame and fortune. When I was a kid, I may have had a small little dream to be a Stephen King-level writer. He was one of my idols, so of course I was going to think that. Then it turned out that for a long time I didn’t write a lot of stuff, as a young man. It would take me a long time to build up to being a consistently productive writer, and even then I wouldn’t imagine that I could be as productive as King, even in the early cocaine days2.

There are so many writers out there trying to make a name for themselves. A good number of them are truly great and talented, and most have at least some talent. Very few of them “make it,” just like so many talented actors, dancers, musicians, and other artists don’t make it. The ones who make it are successful enough to have publishing contracts, book advances, and teams of agents, attorneys, publicists, and other handlers to make their lives easier.

I don’t think that is going to happen to me.

I’d say that realistically, I am at the halfway point of my life. If it hasn’t happened at this point, I see an even smaller chance of it happening to me, even as you hear the tales of older authors becoming an “overnight” success. So if such a fate is not likely to happen to me, I shouldn’t want to concentrate on doing things with that in mind. I’d rather have full control over my fate, no matter what sort of financial rewards there are in it.

And that brings me to the second reason for this. I just want to write.

I’m tired of putting so much effort into finding publishers and agents, putting in so much time into it and not getting anything out of it. If I’m going to spend my time on this passion of mine, I want to start putting out the stories that I want to put out, and getting them out to anyone who wants to read them. Yeah, I’ll have to do promotional work, and other things like formatting and cover designs, but it will be a lot less foolishness than if I went the traditional route.

I know I only have a limited time in this existence, although I hope I still have many years still left. I want to do it telling the stories I have in me.

It’s going to take some time, even with the self-publishing route. But I’m looking forward to getting it started.

Footnotes:

  1. I should qualify this by saying that I would not include pay-to-play publishing or agents in this category. I have had past experiences and meetings with such people, and I’ve concluded that it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
  2. I do not endorse using hard drugs for any reason, but especially creative ones. Anyone who thinks it is sustainable needs to read The Tommyknockers and watch Maximum Overdrive. When he had a prescription drug relapse after getting run over by that van, he wrote Dreamcatcher. I rest my case.

Assessing Summer 2022, or Did I Waste My Vacation This Year?

The question – or usually a statement – I’ve heard people make regarding teaching is “it must be wonderful to have that free time during the summers.”

I have to admit that it is good to have that vacation time. Even during the best of times, a school year for teachers is the mental equivalent of running a marathon. After it’s over, you need recovery time mentally and to some extent physically.

However, I also feel (at least, I have felt this way for the past several years teaching) that I have all this time to myself, and there is this internal pressure that I “make good use of it,” so to speak. There were times these past few months where I felt that I was not doing that effectively. For example, May-June of 2021 was a blank time for me, to be honest. But that made sense in retrospect because I was contemplating not even returning to teaching, so I was a bit unsure of my IRL status for a while.

However, when I look back on what happened this summer, there were a bit more positives than negatives when it came down to it. Let’s review.

Negatives

I think that there were a lot of times when I found myself just sitting and either watching television or staring at my phone. As I have chronicled in this space before, entropy and sitting still is my natural level. It takes me a lot longer to get bored with hanging out at home than many other people. Could I have spent more time writing instead of watching soccer, Formula 1, and Australian Rules Football, watching YouTube to catch people’s movie reviews (especially bad movies), and what Jim Cornette thinks about the current world of wrestling, or using Minecraft to build a digital castle? Well, probably I could have.

I also am a little disappointed in myself that I am not farther along on my route to self-publishing than I wanted to be at this point. (That will be its own post a bit later.) I am further than I was, and I am starting to get a handle on what things I need to take care of before I jump into this. It might take time, but I also want to make sure than I am getting things right.

Positives

My overall writing productivity has not been bad during the summer months. So far, I am definitely ahead of where I was at the same time last year, which was definitely a down time for me.

I believe that I have make at least a little more effort to take care of myself than I have in years past. Even though my weight is not where I would like it to be, I have made the effort to walk nearly every day for the past couple months. That’s something that I didn’t really do on a consistent basis before, but now I am. I was never comfortable with the gym or other stuff, but I have been comfortable going on a walk along some relatively level sidewalks and I feel good after getting them done, especially in the hot summer sun. I definitely will keep up with it during the school year.

I’ve been able to get out and do things that I have not had the chance to do for a long time. I managed to get away with my wife to Duluth, Minnesota, for a few days and it was a fantastic experience. I got to go down to Kansas City for the day and watch the US men’s soccer team for the first time in my life after more than 20 years of fandom.

Also, I’ve gotten more active on this site and trying to write more blogs and content here than in the past. I didn’t actually write a new post every weekend, but I did do it on plenty of them – including this one. And after some brainstorming, I have quite a few other ideas for blog posts to come.

It’s not been a bad summer. Shame it has to come to a close.

Writing Journal 27 July 2022: Great writing week and progress on other fronts

[PHOTO NOTE: This was the first thing that popped up when I did an image search for “progress.” You’re welcome.]

Last week just goes to show that you never know.

I was expecting to have a bad writing week since I was going off on vacation last weekend. You might remember that it prompted me to do a blog about writing on vacation. I figured, “well, it will be a wash.” But then, I think that idea of a fall-off gave me the motivation to not fall off… and as a result, I had the best writing week since early April of this year.

I feel myself getting to be a stronger writer. I have so much to learn still, but I’m believing that I’m only going to get better at this.

One quick note as well – I finally got myself signed up for an account on Kindle Direct Publishing. I’m going to be reading a lot of material and advice before moving forward and publishing my first self-publishing project. However, that process is finally moving forward. I think with a bit of research and the assistance of my writing group, I have every confidence that I should be able to make this thing work.

Well, I’m getting back to it, then. Hope you have a great week, and all of you writers keep writing.

Writing statistics for the week ending 23 July 2022:
+6,305 words written.
Days writing: 6 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 1 of 7 for 30 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 6 of 7 days.

Writing Journal 6.1.2022: Disaster… weeklong slump… but I think I might pull it out and I’m not that far off pace so I need to get over myself

[PHOTO NOTE: This was the first thing that popped up when I typed “Disaster Area” in the image search.]

No whining, no crying, no complaining. I sensed there was going to be a slump the minute I looked at my numbers from last year and realized that the end of the school year usually means that mentally I need a break and I usually take a break by sitting in front of a laptop and doing nothing.

But, this year I was aware of it. I knew ahead of time that this was coming, and I decided that I needed to get ahead of it or try to manage it. I also had that goal I’ve been talking about – 200,000 words this year, and meeting my minimum daily goals (500 words a day or 30 minutes of planning/revisions in a day). Now, let’s see how far I am from those goals as May wraps up.

First, here are last week’s totals, which are easily the worst I’ve had this year. The fact that I have only had one week in three figures rather than several is at least good news, because the following numbers aren’t:

Writing statistics for the week ending 5.28.2022:
+580 words written.
Days writing: 2 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 3 of 7 for 105 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 3 of 7 days.

Now, here are May’s overall numbers:

Writing statistics for May 2022:
Words: 12,563
Revise/Plan: 255 minutes
Daily Writing Goals Met: 54%

Again, this was the worst month statistically for me this year, although the second half of the month was when I really collapsed.

Anyway, where does this leave me regarding my goals I mentioned above?

As of June 1, 2022, I am counting 91,179 words to my total so far. I have met my daily writing goals a total of 76 percent of the time. Assuming that I want to be on pace to get to 200,000 words this year, I am still more than 8,000 words ahead of my pace and also ahead of the 70 percent mark.

So… I’m not panicking. I have the feeling that the fact that I have been monitoring the numbers on a monthly basis more closely than I did last year makes me more comfortable than I was last year when I was just guessing.

I have the whole month of June off. It’s going to be a long month, too. I’m getting more confident that this will only be a lost week rather than a lost month.

I’ll leave you with that. Going to get back to some of those things I wanted to write.

Writing Journal 5.11.2022: Demanding more of myself

PHOTO NOTE: The featured photo was one of the things that popped up when I searched “Writing Motivation.” Go figure.

It’s… good news that I’m being more demanding of myself? I think so.

In many ways, I’m not doing too much. Work on trying to get my latest OC novel published is… paused at the moment. I honestly don’t have the mental bandwidth to deal with it as I get closer to the end of the school year. The more I am thinking about it, the more I have the feeling that I need to set up a checklist of items I need to do to get it published%. At the end of next week, I think I might want to have this ready and ask the advice of some of my Des Moines writing people to get their advice, even if I can’t make it up for the meeting next week. (I am very happy Zoom exists.)

I do think I need to know what I need to get done. For the first time this year, I set a goal of 200,000 words to write this year, whether fiction, nonfiction, blogs, or otherwise. I wanted to meet my daily quotas at least 70 percent of the time. For the first time this year, I said “this is what I want to get done,” and not just say “let’s see what happens.”

And, it has been paying off. As of the end of April I was about 12,000 words ahead of pace for the year. I estimate that it usually takes me writing 4,167 words per week on a four-week month to keep up with that 200,000-word goal. I’ve matched or exceeded that count 12 out of the previous 18 weeks.

Are my numbers for this week awe-inspiring? Maybe by this year’s pace, they’re not fantastic. But I know I’ve had a much better start on 2022 than I ever did in 2021. If what I write gets actually better in the meantime, I’ll consider that a bonus… or, a goal for next time.

Anyway, here’s the stats for last week. Enjoy, and take care of yourselves, everyone. We live in weird times.

Writing statistics for the week ending 5.7.2022:
+4,752 words written.
Days writing: 5 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 1 of 7 for 30 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 5 of 7 days.

% – For a variety of reasons, I’ve decided to go the self-publishing route. One of the main reasons is that I would like to see a version of my book out for people sooner than the 3-4 years it would take to try and query agents and/or traditional publishers. I don’t want to wait that long.

Why It’s Tough For Me to Write Anything of Value on Sundays During the School Year: A somewhat thought-out analysis

If you took a look at my writing journals – not the ones I post here on the blog, but the actual Microsoft Word Docs where I keep my notes on what I wrote every day of the year – you would notice something of a pattern.

Actually, you might notice several of them, but we’re not going to worry about all of them now. What you would notice is that there are quite a few… empty spaces on Sundays.

Oh, I might do a short blog, or maybe a few revisions or planning, but not heavy writing. And that’s all about what Sunday is like.

Since I’m not interested at the moment with writing something “important” or “buzzworthy,” I guess I might talk about this for a bit.

Weekend thinking and weekday thinking are prevalent things in America, where some people can’t seem to find work/life balance. Some people my age might think Loverboy’s song “Working for the Weekend” is the perfect song to express this type of yearning for the end-of-week break. (They’re wrong; the best weekend song is “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight” by Richard and Linda Thompson.)

For teaching, it is a different situation. Those who don’t know what it is like, you might think, “Well, they only work some 180 days out of the year and get something around two whole months off? Sounds like an easy deal?” And I admit, the summer vacations are a good thing.$

Anyway, the point is that full-time teaching is a more intense experience that most jobs. You have to have a plan to educate a group of children for a given time and to make it meaningful during that time. You actually have to relate to those kids, even on days when, in some cases, they are dealing with massive amounts of mental and emotional trauma. (If they are lucky, the source of that trauma is not their own homes.)

All of this tends to take a lot of emotional and likely physical stamina over a nine-month period. It’s not a surprise that many of my colleagues wind up more susceptible to illness during the school year with the stress they are under. These past couple of years have added COVID, distance learning and hybrid learning to that level. I have to say that I have been fortunate that I am teaching in a relatively good environment and my health, while it could be better, is holding up.

Let me explain a typical Sunday for me, writing-wise and personal-wise.

First, some background. I would say that my weekend would extend, mentally, for approximately 36 hours over a typical two-day weekend. That 36 hours spans from when I leave school on Friday afternoon and runs until I wake up on Sunday. Because on Sunday, you’re going to be getting yourself ready for the week to come. Sometimes that involves grading, or perhaps planning for the week ahead. Maybe you’re trying to get some last minute paperwork done. Or, you could be distracting yourself from all of that coming up%.

Morning – wake up, try to have breakfast and relax. Some people will watch the NFL all day or maybe the NBA – my sport winds up being soccer. Since I’m watching the European leagues (and their season extends throughout the entire school year), I find myself getting up a bit early to catch the live games. Sometimes Formula 1 will have a race, and I’ll take a couple hours to watch that.

Later in the morning – I’ll try to get some housework done@ – cleaning floors, laundry, vacuuming, maybe a little yardwork. Or not. Maybe the late game in the Premier League?

Afternoon – if I am doing any schoolwork, it will be that time. For my sanity, I have restricted any work to this time. So, either I’m doing a little bit of work or I’m trying to distract myself from doing work or thinking about work. That’s because by 6 a.m. the next day, I’m already getting ready to shower, change and get ready for work#. That’s not too much time when you think of it.

Evening – Dinner is done, Laura and I relax for the night. We both have gotten obsessed with the cartoon TV series Bob’s Burgers, so we tend to try and catch the new episodes playing on Sundays. (Yes, we are preparing to watch the movie when it comes out later this month. It looks like a lot of fun.

About 9 p.m., maybe an hour before I go to bed – Wait a minute, I have to write something before I go to sleep?

So, now you know. But I did write something today, so that’s a success. I’ll take them any way that I can get them.

$ – In the spirit of full disclosure, however, many of my colleagues are actually taking on second or third jobs during that time to help with their bills. The more unlucky teachers have to do that during the active school year.

% – Where do I fall into this spectrum? I usually try to be as efficient with my time away from school as possible. Everything else on that subject I’ll keep off the record.

@ – Full disclosure – if it were not for my loving wife who is a much more dynamic go-getter and Type A personality, our house would not look as nice as it does.

# – Protip – always make sure you have the coffeepot set, your lunch packed, and your clothes picked out and ready to go before you go to bed the previous evening. Trust me, it saves a lot of hurrying and stress in the morning.