What’s My Assignment?

Our English word “assignment” originated in the 13th century, from Old French. It means “to allot by sign, to mark out, to award.”

It’s the first day of fall quarter classes at my college, and I’ve just returned from my Creative Nonfiction class. My students are an inspiring mix, so inspiring that, for the  first time in weeks, I’m feeling as though I can teach full-time this year and still be a writer.

For one thing, a number of my students also work. One is a tree-climber! Two of my students needed my signature because they are working for the college and taking my class. A couple students are working for the student newspaper. At least three students are veterans. A number of students have children, and one is a great-grandmother. A significant portion are Running Start students, also finishing high school (and if I’ve learned nothing else from my daughters, I have learned that being a teenager is a full-time job in itself).

Somewhere in the blogosphere I came across the advice to ask, whenever presented with a problem (or a “problem”), “What’s my assignment?” My assignment is to get my own writing done this quarter, alongside all the rest.

How will I do it? Small, manageable goals. Fifteen minute blocks. Give up whining about not having more time.


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