Day 7: Decisions and Self-Discipline

As we wrap up our Writer’s Retreat, I’m also trying to wrap my head around the thesis I’ll be starting in the fall. As I discussed in this afternoon’s author’s chair, I’m still struggling to determine whether I want to continue writing this memoir about my first year of teaching, or if I want to conduct a phenomenological study by interviewing other teachers about their experiences with hybrid and remote learning. I’m a little wary of using the memoir as my thesis because I’m not sure I’m capable of completing such a significant piece of creative writing. I’ve written some poetry and even had some short stories published, but the longest pieces of writing I’ve ever composed have been academic. I’m not sure I’ll be able to produce enough creative content to fill out my eventual thesis. 

I’m also worried about my ability to continue with this project in a structured way. For these past two weeks, I’ve been focusing on specific moments that speak to me and that I actually wanted to explore through writing, but if I decide to pursue this memoir as my thesis, I’ll obviously need to expand on what I’ve written so far. I’m not sure how ready I am to dig into some of my less pleasant feelings and experiences that relate to my first year as a teacher or whether I’ll be able to keep the inspiration I have now. I don’t usually have a huge problem with composing academic essays for a deadline, but I like to take my time with creative pieces, and I often ignore them until the right mood strikes. 

I’m therefore sincerely hoping that the right mood strikes this summer. I really want to continue with the routines I’ve built during this retreat—the writer’s walks, the freewriting, and the daily composing and editing time—because they’ve allowed me to produce a lot more content than I normally would have in just two weeks. The structure of this retreat has pushed me to write, but once those training wheels fall away, I kind of expect to topple over because I’m not all that self-disciplined. Hopefully, though, by the time fall rolls around, I’ll at least have a few more vignettes written, and I’ll maybe have a better idea of where I want to go with my thesis.