The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Doing for others, doing for self

One of my writing students is having a hard time staying on track, and I encouraged her to break her goals down into smaller chunks. Her reply:


Okay. I'm not sure how much easier it can get than a two to three page story every other week, though. I know I need to more diligently set my boundaries re: work and my personal life, that's really the crux as I see it. I'll work like the dickens for other people's children but neglect my own things, lose sleep and squash my momentum. It's an old story. The issue is always, how do I do what I need to do for myself (i.e. write and read) when there is so much to be done for the children (and not enough time at work to do it). Because these are people, children, I feel the weight of my responsibility towards them. It is a quandary that has continually frustrated me. I could quit, but desperately need the cash right now - my back's all up against the wall yada yada. My goal is to make this situation very very temporary, but in the meantime…. I guess I'll have to keep my eyes on the prize and do what I can.



Dear "L"

it isn't a matter of forcing yourself. It is a matter of clarifying your values. YES! You are teaching them. But WHAT are you teaching? To sacrifice their own lives? To kill their dreams? Or to soar? There is only one way to teach--by example. I encourage you to do for yourself what you are asking them to do: keep commitments, hold onto their dreams, fight frustration, take small steps until they cover large distances.

You can't fake it, hon.


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