Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Adding Hours To The Day

This summer both of our older kids are working at an aluminum siding factory about forty five minutes away from our house. They carpool with some other nearby college kids and for these last couple weeks they are working mandatory over time, eleven hour days, which means a four am wake up.  Every weekday. And Saturdays.

Because they are not exactly quiet people, and because older daughter shares a room with two year old daughter and can't use an alarm, and because I  am one of those worrying mothers who wants to make sure everyone is taking enough food and water to work, I am up most mornings to see them off. It hasn't done much for sleeping, but because I tend not to go back to bed once I'm up there has been a silver lining to these early, early mornings.  Time to write.

There is the revision list for my novel that is two pages and growing. And slices, of course. And random writer's notebook ramblings that never turn into anything. Soon we'll be adding lesson plans to the mix. Soon, the early wake ups will be five am again instead of four, and it will only be our son who is getting up because daughter will be away at college.  Before I taught full time I used to get up regularly at five am to write. This summer has reminded me how much I miss it. So, as much as I grumble to myself when the alarm goes off now, I am thankful for the gift of time, even if it means falling asleep on the couch at 8:30.
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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

What do you run on?

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I threw on my running clothes, grumbling the whole time and hating that I signed up for a team marathon next weekend.  I'm responsible for about five miles and have worked up to about four.
For me running is a lot like writing. There are times when I really enjoy the "doing" of both, but more often than I'd care to admit I enjoy "having done" these things more than anything else. Sitting down to write and getting ready to run often have me scowling to myself. With writing, the reward is a hope that this time will be a time when all synapses fire in unison and send a cocktail of "creative rush" to my brain. With running, the reward is the hope that this time will be a time when my legs feel light and my mind feels bathed in feeling good. A good write makes me feel like a good run does, but it doesn't always happen. I have to have a lot of bad runs, a lot of bad writes, to have any good ones. I think this is why I scowl a lot when it's time to get started on either of them. 

A dear friend of mine says, "Motivation doesn't really exist." In a way she's right. If you really don't want to do something, lying around waiting for motivation isn't going to conjure it. When we think of motivation in our students we come up with rewards like stickers and special privileges.  I'm thinking a lot about what motivates me lately and that I simply feel better when I'm writing, when I'm exercising, when I'm eating well. etc.  How do you teach intrinsic motivation?  This is what puzzles me lately, because in the end it is the intrinsic motivators that make us put running clothes on in the dark of the morning.