I have made no secret of my continued writing efforts–even aside from the ongoing entries in this webspace and others. Indeed, one of the ways in which I continue to work to bring in money for my family is to do freelance writing projects; those have most recently taken the forms of paid review work and drafting lesson plans. I enjoy both, really; the former has me reading again, which I have missed doing, and the latter pays pretty decently for a side-line, even if writing multiple-choice questions becomes something of an annoyance pretty quickly. (As I’ve remarked to several folks, not only does drafting a multiple-choice question require framing a solid question, it requires producing a correct answer and several wrong answers that have to be close enough to thwart the inattentive. It’s not always an easy balance to strike, though it is always tedious.)
With the lesson planning, I have generally tried to put back on the role of teacher, writing what I would hope to be able to do with a class if I had one again and were actually in the frame of mind to be able to do a good job of it. (I was not always or even necessarily often, especially towards the end of my time at the front of a classroom, as I’ve noted. It was good that I got out of that line of work, even before the changes and upheaval occasioned by COVID-19.) So far, it’s been to my benefit; the purchaser of the lesson plans–I am not yet set up for direct sales of such things, though that or something similar might well be coming–has repeatedly enjoyed seeing the actual day-to-day activities I suggest, as well as my essay prompts. Other stuff has needed more work, but that’s to be expected when encountering a new client with a specific set of standards and expectations; I make the corrections I’m told I need to make.
Thinking back on it and on sequences of assignments I had in place when I had the privilege of setting my own assignment sequences (here, for but one example), aimed to have “students mimic the kind of work done professionally,” I am reminded that I got at least that much of it right. Professional writing is not a fire-and-forget thing, necessarily or even often; clients want things changed, and they don’t pay until the changes are made. (Some try not to even then, and some get away with it. It’s why I require a deposit from private clients.) Classroom writing is often a one-and-done thing, hammered out in haste too close to its deadline and shot off for review that does not precede revision; no wonder it is often so tedious for both writer and reader.
I have tried to make what I continue to generate less so; I hope I have, in some small measure, succeeded, and that I will continue to do so.