Dance of Deadlines (Fragments)

(I wrote this over a long stretch. It probably shows.)

Movement 1: Pause

I hate the word deadline: it’s so demoralizing. It loses belief in you before you’ve even begun. But this week was the first week in ages that I haven’t had a gajillion things due. I sat on my laurels and breathed for a bit, sent hope into the universe (or whatever) for some things I’m waiting to hear back on, and began a round of applications for additional things. I guess it never ends.

I’m the kind of person who chooses to apply to lots of things, too. I’m not sure how much of it is compulsion and how much is other things, but I’m always really excited about new opportunities. So this article has been interesting to ponder. Melissa Febos, whose writing I love, asks in Catapult, “Do You Want to Be Known For Your Writing, or For Your Swift Email Responses?” I realize that I tend to function as though I want to be known for both, especially when the email is from a student. There’s a lot of value in being reminded to slow my roll a bit, and to protect my creative work time.

Movement 2: Speed

Another deadline-full week is staring me in the face, which gives me a chance to revisit the breathing I did when I got a break. At the risk of putting things a little too melodramatically, what’s it like to have hope when the difficulty is (again) staring you right in the face?

I’ve been finding old things I’ve written to repurpose for new writing samples and applications, and that’s been more fun than I expected.

Movement 3: Picking Back Up

Over spring break, I gave myself a pause from my dissertation and got back to some other work, interspersed with grading. It was mostly revisiting essays I’ve been meaning to submit and really – I hope! – figuring out the kinds of changes they need to be stronger. I’m really re-focusing the argument in a couple of them, and it feels pretty great. We’ll see if they land where I’m sending them – and if not, I’ll pick them back up and send them out again! One of my mentors told me long ago that it’s better to put your work on someone else’s desk than to keep it on yours.