ACW

ACW

Monday, 25 May 2015

One Word at a Time by Fiona Lloyd

It's that time of year again. (Those of you who are teachers might want to look away now.) I work as a peripatetic violin teacher, and I have 110 reports to write between now and the beginning of July. I'm worried I might die of boredom in the process: there are only so many ways you can say Chantelle has a good bow-hold (and believe me, I've used them all).


I'm trying to be pragmatic. I've learned a few short-cuts over the years, although I must be a slow learner as it took me a while to realise that if I signed my name at the bottom electronically before making multiple copies I wouldn't have to write my name out over 100 times each year. And while there are some parts of the report that have to be individually written, there are other sections (such as course content) which are repeated over dozens of forms. At this time of year, I'm the copy-and-paste queen.


Still, I always feel in late May / early June that I have an unassailable mountain to climb. It's only by breaking the task down into sections that I can see a way through it. At the first school on my list, I have 10 pupils, which is just under 10 percent of my total. Another two schools could take me up to around 40. Mount Everest has suddenly shrunk to the size of Ben Nevis. It's still challenging, but at least now I'm beginning to believe I can do it. And so it continues: word by word, phrase by phrase, form by form, until I reach that magical moment when the last report has been sent and I can sit down with a well-earned glass of wine.


There's a Chinese proverb which states that A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. That's certainly true of my reports, but it's useful advice for my writing, too. Crafting a novel or an article (or a blog-post!) can seem like an insurmountable task; but when I focus on writing one word at a time, I realise I'll get there in the end.



Fiona Lloyd works part-time as a music teacher, and serves on the worship-leading team at her local church. She enjoys writing short stories, and is working on her first novel. Fiona self-published a violin tutor book in 2013, and blogs at www.fjlloyd.wordpress.com. She is married with three children. Fiona is ACW's membership secretary.
















8 comments:

  1. Brilliant advice and so true. We can often be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of what we do and forget that the individual words count. Thank you for a timely reminder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Wendy - I find it so easy to be overwhelmed by the size of the task, but I know logically that if I break something down into bite-sized chunks, I have more of a chance of completing it.

      Delete
  2. I sometimes think of novel-writing as like eating an elephant, in that you can't manage it all at once. Just one mouthful at a time, and you get there in the end. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love that image, Philip - maybe I'll try and picture that next time I get stuck...

      Delete
  3. A great article to read this BH Monday much of which I am spending working on my WIP with the overwhelmed Aaargh-scream ever near. (To say nothing my school reports - the new format is 5 pages per child!) Great article Fiona. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Deborah. Five pages? I thought it was a struggle doing one per child. Hope you don't spend so much time writing reports that you miss out on your "proper" writing.

      Delete
  4. I'm in marking season too. Currently wading through film and radio scripts with accompanying essays. I catch myself drifting into auto-pilot in my feedback as so many of the mistakes are the same. I have to catch myself and remember that there is power in my pen and my words can build up or break down. Well, better get back to it ...

    ReplyDelete