This quarter is 8 weeks old. I’ve had 5 days off in 56 days. I was getting seriously bummed about it until I put it in perspective. I’m working those weekends because our program changed and I added two new classes that had never been taught before.
One is relatively easy, the other is a complete re-write of my front end web design class. I teach two levels of web design. One is for people right off the street. The second one, which I am re-writing this quarter builds on what they learned in the first one and gives them a responsive portfolio based website written completely from scratch.
I had taught the second class for about 6 years, but it was overdue for a rewrite. Before I could re-write it, I had to learn the stuff myself. What is responsive design, and what is it capable of? What is HTML 5 and CSS 3, and how much support is there for it?
How can Jquery be merged with the other alphabet soup languages to make modern webpages, and where do Photoshop and Flash fit into the mix?
The re-write was so big I decided to make it into a polished textbook covering both classes. I will be at 200 pages by the end of this weekend. There are numbered pages, illustrations, screen shots and call out arrows, all built in InDesign. Every word written by me, nothing is copied or stolen from other authors. Some of the techniques I invented, after searching out the answer and coming up blank.
But all of this work was burning me out badly. As I said, I’ve climbed 5 days in the last 8 weeks, every other day has been work. I knew I was going to go down in flames…so I started examining the resentment I had toward the work.
If this had been a 10 foot wide painting I had worked on 8 weekends in a row, I would be happy as a clam at high tide. Writing this book required a change in attitude. It’s not a painting, but it is a very creative endeavor. Its actually quite amazing that someone like me, who is not an author, could write a 200 page textbook. I mean, how did that happen? When did I develop this skill?
I must have grown into it as a matter of course. I never intended to be an author, or a teacher for that matter. Life rolled along and suddenly I’m writing a textbook, and it’s quite a good textbook at that.
Do I still have resentment about spending my weekends writing a book? Hell yes, but there is also a lot of satisfaction. It doesn’t make up for the “lost weekends” but knowing that I’m doing something worthwhile makes everything better.