Designing a Magic Curriculum (Crashcourse, Days 14-17)

Welcome to Days 14-17 of Crashcourse!

And it's back to the Serious Face again!
This is what it looks like when you realize you just lost a battle to your inner critic.

So, I wrote at a good rate over the last four days, but I didn’t rack up a ton of hours. Why, you ask? Well, I spent a lot of time trying to design a magic school curriculum. Which was a waste, as it turns out. Curious? Then read on …!

Designing a Magic Curriculum

I wrote for four hours on Friday and 41 minutes on Saturday, racking up 4,628 words in that time. That’s 988 words per hour which isn’t terrible by any means. Now, you’re probably wondering why I didn’t write for a longer period of time. Well, I got sidetracked on Saturday by curriculum. Specifically, I began to wonder what kind of curriculum the Roderick J. Madkey School of Magical Administration might employ. Some magic school stories involve a kid attending classes, learning spells, then using those spells to achieve a goal. School is undeniably relevant and helpful, even if it doesn’t appear so at first glance. Does that sound like a typical school to you? Have you ever used physics outside of a classroom? Calculus? How often does literature analysis come up in your day-to-day life? I’m sure some of you need knowledge on these subjects. But I suspect the vast majority of people rarely, if ever, make good use of what they were taught in school. According to this article, just 19% of people use basic algebra on the job. That number drops to 9% for complex algebra. Frankly, I’m surprised the number is that high. And yet, all students are required to study the subject at great length. I don’t want to pick on math here. I suspect you’d find similar results for many other subjects.

The point is this … the stuff you’re taught in school doesn’t necessarily match up with what you’ll need in life. And that was always my impression of Madkey. That is, the students are learning stuff, but that stuff won’t prove helpful when trouble arises. On Saturday, I started writing about how Randy Wolf (the hero of Crashcourse and a dropout of Madkey) was secretly listening to a lecture at his former school. When it came time to depict the actual class, I figured it should have some meat to it, but not be particularly practical. But I couldn’t really think of anything. Now, here’s the important (and sad) part.

I stopped writing.

That’s right. I felt uncomfortable with the fact that I really didn’t know anything specific about Madkey’s curriculum. So, I stopped telling my story and began brainstorming. I thought about different subjects and the individual classes within them. I thought about how they’d be taught and how much time would be spent doing hands-on magic versus theoretical magic. And despite all of this, I still couldn’t come to any sort of conclusion. The story came to a halt and my inner critic had “won” again.

It’s crazy how it happened. I’ve spent the last few days trying to silence my inner critic via free writing. And yet, it still found a way to stop me. My inner critic demands to know how everything’s going to turn out even before I start writing. So, it’s constantly pressuring me to slow down, to stop, to back up a bit. It’s convinced I can’t write about a single magic class until I have full knowledge of the entire curriculum. But here’s the thing … the curriculum will emerge over time if I give my inner artist enough time and space. Or maybe it won’t if the actual curriculum doesn’t prove important to the book. Regardless, I should’ve just trusted my inner artist. Unfortunately, my inner critic has a powerful voice.

Well, that’s it for now. Back to writing!

Crashcourse Totals

4-Day Total: 4,628 words in 4:41. 988 words/hour

Total: 14,010 words in 19:01. 737 words/hour

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