Tuesday, November 10, 2015
In preparing to write this post, I noticed I have not blogged since October 20. Yikes! I've thought about blogging often. I've planned many posts. I've written in my head. I have not transferred those thoughts, plans, or mental etchings onto the virtual page that is this blog.
Simply, I have too little time on Tuesdays.
In truth, I have too little time most days this fall.
Even when I plan the post in advance and set a goal of writing prior to Tuesday, something invariably interferes with these best laid plans.
Take the past two days for example.
I had planned to write today's slice Sunday evening and again Monday evening. However, I underestimated the amount of time I'd need to edit the state DKG newsletter, a responsibility I agreed to accept last July. To date I've completed two installments. I've had quite the learning curve.
First, I haven't published a newsletter before. I worked on my high school newspaper and occasionally wrote for my college one. I was the newspaper advisor one year in the mid 1980s, but that was at a small school that printed the paper on copy paper.
I still remember much of what I learned about news and feature writing from my high school journalism teacher and have found that information useful as I've embarked on my new service. Still, the task has been ridden with obstacles.
Since I use a MacBook Pro, I needed to find a publishing platform for my computer. I purchased Publisher Plus from the Apple store for a nominal fee.
Next, I had to figure out how to use the program. It works on a grid, and I'm still learning it. For example, when I work on a page, here's what I see:
The page layout is in the middle. This shot is of the November edition I just finished and is the first page. The font appears pretty small, so I either sacrifice visual acuity for seeing the layout for a complete page or vice versa. I still don't know how to insert frames around text boxes.
Sometimes the margins get mucked up or a sentence gets chopped off. This happens if I alter a page. It happened several times w/ this issue, so even though I'd already devoted around 20 hours to the work, I still had to fix errors after exporting to a Pdf file.
The first issue earned criticism for numerous problems, including distribution. I now have help w/ that, but I'm still having problems w/ proofing well. I attribute this to my own busy schedule and vision problems. I also received an unpleasant email after the first issue because I inadvertently omitted two stories from one chapter. This time I was told that the newsletter is too long. I was not given a length and have taken my guide those other newsletters sent to me.
Since I want to see my own chapter represented in the newsletter, I've found myself writing stories, too. All this eats away at the limited time I have available.
I'd like to say I'm enjoying this work, but I'm not. Maybe in time I will when I get better. I try to represent myself well and strive to perform tasks such as the editing of the newsletter in a way that represents both myself and the organization I represent well. I fear neither is happening right now.
The newsletter is only one time-sucking obligation in the way of blogging. I'm also teaching a night class at Idaho State University from 7:00-9:30 p.m. I have office hour obligations, so I arrive at 6:00 p.m. so I can try to get home by 10:00 p.m. Tuesday night. I'll be teaching the class on Tuesday nights during the spring semester, too.
Additionally, I have a new prep at my school this year. I'm teaching AP Literature and Composition. While I enjoy all my teaching duties, having a new prep makes me feel like a newbie all over again.
Thus, while I plan to slice each week, finding the time in a schedule with the slices of the pie already cut thin has been a challenge. I'm hoping that after NCTE in Minneapolis I'll be able to carve more time out of my schedule and discover ways to renew my commitment to blogging. I have lots of lesson ideas and student brilliance to share.
Next week I'll share my NCTE15 convention schedule. It includes three sessions and exhibit hall work. Hope I'll see many friends there and that they'll carve a little time for catching up out of their convention pie.