Tag Archives: novel

Teaching, Union Wars, and New Adventures

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My big goal for 2013 is to make sure that writing is at the heart of every day.

So, here’s my story. When I was a child, I wrote all the time…except of course when I was reading or having real-life adventures. My brother and sister begged me to tell them stories because they found my spontaneous tales fascinating.

Then reality set in, and I decided to become an English teacher. I thought that as a teacher I would read stories all day and assign and grade writing…and that teaching was a worthy calling and helpful for humanity…and it came with benefits and a retirement plan, right?

Well, after teaching for four years and finding out that public school teaching is about unions and years of service, I keep asking myself why I spent my twenties pursuing this career.

I loved the kids, teaching journalism, and helping my students write award-winning articles. But the school board and the union didn’t care about me, my hard work, my talent, or my kids. I worked 70 plus hours a week, and they laid me off along with 50 other young, hopeful teachers. We were just pawns in a big chess game between the union and the school board.

So I did get another teaching job…(my old school district called me back, but I said no!)… but then I started to think…is this all there is to my life…I have a wonderful family and God, but professionally? My hard work of establishing myself and doing cool things as a teacher got wiped out in one meeting when the board voted to let 50 teachers go…and I had poured my soul into that school, journalism program, and classroom.

So I came to the conclusion…maybe it’s time to invest more into my own creative life. Don’t misunderstand…I’m still teaching and helping kids, but I’ve pulled all my writing projects out, and I’m ready now to give them my focus.

Maybe writing doesn’t pay the bills, but I’m going to explore all the options available in this field. And, even if I have to work other jobs, I’m going to do what I love first..which is writing…and worry about retirement later…

Reflections on NaNoWrMo

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I’m glad that my novel writing went better than my blogging. No, I wasn’t a winner of the challenge, but I did write 22,000 words for my novel. For me, this was a good start.

I learned a few things about composition as a result of writing so many words in a short space of time:

•Ending phobia can be conquered…I wrote my ending
first.
•Writing out-of-sequence keeps writer’s block at bay.
•It is possible to write over 5,000 words in a day.
•Outlining really works! I feel that what I have so far is structurally sound, and a few interesting subplots arose spontaneously out of my drafting, so I don’t think that I lost anything from outlining.
•Reading about writing helps me work out trouble spots in my composing process.

One-third done, two-thirds of my first draft left!

NaNoWriMo: Day Two pm

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So, what a day. I am working two jobs today back to back. Good thing I wrote almost 3,000 words yesterday because so far today I have exactly 19–on my iPhone in “DocstoGo.” I have heard of Japanese novelists creating entire novels on their smartphones. I don’t think I could do that, especially since I have a migraine on top of everything else.

This is the conundrum. If I write on lined paper, I have to retype what I write, which I think will lead to editing–a NaNo no-no. I know from experience that if I let the inner editor loose, this novel-writing experience will grind to a slow pace. The whole point of the challenge is to reach 50,000 words in 30 days. On the other hand, I may be too tired to write when I get home. So, I have a choice: it’s tedious typing on my iPhone or a dwindling word count. I just saw some tweets from Writer’s Digest advocating a motivational plan for Wrimos–I see an iPad in my future.

Anyway, just wondering if real writing can be achieved on the go using a phone…Schubert wrote music on his shirt sleeves…I suppose I could get over the tediousness of typing on a phone.

National Novel Writing Month: Day One pm

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So, technically this is day two of the challenge, but I am just going to bed after day one. Here is the scoop. I have 2,796 words written, but this word count is cheating because I already had 1,300 words written before November. Actually, I’ve had my outline for some time, so I don’t know when I started writing the novel. Anyway, I’m pumped because I just wrote 1,400 words in 45 minutes. I really need to write 1,700 words a day to win the challenge, which requires 50,000 words. I was worried that as a teacher I might not be able to do that…too much to do, so little time…but I should be able to write an hour a day and accomplish the goal.

Here are three ways that I am using to break through writer’s block:

1. I gave up the pride of being a pantser and actually wrote an outline. Horrible I know! But after six unfinished novels, I figured that my problem was losing inspiration half-way through. Who wants to read a story without an ending?

2. I actually wrote the last chapter first. The fear of the ending looming over me is gone. Now I can just focus on the story itself. I can always change the ending later.

3. I am skipping around. Writing chronologically just doesn’t work for my ADHD brain. I’m picking scenes and fleshing them out to deeper and deeper levels–like sculpturing.

Tomorrow I am working two jobs and going to an evening event, so we shall see if I get any writing done!

National Novel Writing Month: Day One am

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I have waited for the stroke of midnight. The time has come. After six unfinished novels, I’m finally going to finish one of my stories. I plan to commit to the NaNo challenge and write a 50 k novel in the month of November. Here is the website if you are interested in taking on this challenge with 300,000 other people: NaNo Blog