The Babysitting Adventures of Rachel

It’s Gonna Be A Best-Seller…

Starting back in the summer of 2010, I started babysitting two boys. I only watch them during the summer as both of their parents work while the kids are at school, which is nice. They’re one of the few families that actually have the parents home when the kids are home that I know of.

So this is the third summer I’m watching them. The oldest, Jack, is now 13 and the youngest, Sam, is 11. The oldest has ADD while the youngest has ADD and a touch of Autism. They get along really well, but…you know, they’re brothers. Despite their special needs, Jack is actually capable of being home alone for a few hours and watching his little brother. However, he torments poor Sam half of the time. So instead of actually “babysitting” I get paid to “referee.” And it’s funny because last summer was horrible, but Jack has actually matured with age…for a boy. I honestly don’t think I need to be there. But I love hanging out with the two of them, so why not?

Anyway, the whole point of this post is to talk about what Sam wants me to do. We drove my cousin and her friend to their swimming lesson a few weeks ago. The swim lesson was only a half hour long so we stayed there to watch. Sam had his Nintendo DS and his Pokemon to keep himself company. I planned on playing my game, but I found myself caught up in watching the kids swim. But somehow Sam got a hold of my iPod and was looking at my calendar.

“Camp NoNoWr…what?” Sam stammered to read my July entries.

“Camp NaNoWriMo. It stands for National Novel Writing Month.” I laughed at his pronunciation and corrected him.

Of course, Sam has no idea what that is. So I explained the whole thing to him simply. Judging by the look on his face, he wasn’t all that impressed.

“Geez, Rachel…I knew you were a geek, but I didn’t think you were that much of a geek.” he scoffed.

Honestly, I was kind of surprised at how offended I got. Of course I was laughing, but I never really thought writing would be categorized as being a geek. That was certainly the first time I heard that, but I just don’t think Sam knew what to think about it.

“Hey, it’s writing. Writing is my career.” I replied and he stared at me funny. “Well…I want it to be my career. I want to be an author someday…sooner rather than later, I mean. NaNo is something that helps me get closer to that goal.”

From the look on Sam’s face, I now had his attention. And he seemed to understand, too. Yet, he was still confused because he knew I’m going to school to be a teacher and he knows I’m a teacher at a preschool. I explained I went to school for teaching as a day job just in case selling books doesn’t bring in enough money. But I am going to get my Bachelor’s in English. Being with children and writing are two of my favorite things to do. I can easily do both and if writing becomes more of a priority…well, my books are all picture books, middle grade, or young adult. It’s still kid stuff. He nodded an approval at my plan.

Then the wheels in his head began to squeak. Then they moved slowly and before I knew it, the rust was dusted off and the wheels were turning five miles per second.

“The Babysitting Adventures of Rachel!” he exclaimed. “You should write a book all about you and me and all the fun we have together! I bet you it will be a big hit!”

I found this amusing. Sam texts me throughout the school year every once in a while and when the summer nears and his mom and I start planning a schedule for me to babysit, he’s always calling me on the phone super excited. His mom tells me he constantly talks about me and she’s so happy by how much he loves me. If the child is not happy about the babysitter, then there’s an issue somewhere. But I was excited that Sam took an interest in my writing and he was trying to help me out. Although, at first I thought it was just him being 11, but then I realized he was serious.

“You can talk about me and you and Chance!” he continued on and on. “I guess Jack can be in there…maybe you can put Jackie and Katherine in there, too.” Then he whispers: “You know, just to be nice.”

–Let me stop to explain for a moment: Chance is his dog, Jack is his brother (as previously mentioned), Jackie is my cousin (the one who was swimming), and Kat is my other cousin (Jackie’s little sister). Continuing on…–

Then I asked a question I shouldn’t have (but I still thought he was joking): “How long should this book be?”

“Um…100 pages!”

Uh…what? Wow, he really thought this through in the past five minutes, didn’t he? Then he stuck out his hand and I shook it.

“What’s this for?” I asked.

“So I know you’ll definitely do it.”

Well, crap. Now I’m stuck. I have an 11-year-old wanting me to write 100 pages all about our fun together. How was I going to pull this one off? He had to be kidding, right? He was probably going to forget about this whole thing by tomorrow, anyway…right?

After I finished babysitting that day I thought long and hard about our conversation. I began laughing to myself and thought: challenge accepted.

A few days later (yes, he remembered), he told me that he wants it to be 256 pages now. Random number, right? I don’t get it, either. However, I did say challenge accepted, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to write that much about us. All we really do is go in the pool, play with the dog, and play Pokemon. Seriously. I’ll make the story 100-256 pages. No less than 100, no more than 256. But I doubt I’ll get to 256 pages.

I realized that I am probably going to make Sam’s life when I write this book. Of course I’m not going to write it ready for publication, but it helped spark a middle grade series idea (with the help of Kris when I told her this story) that I think I am going to write. And who knows? Maybe it will be the “next big thing.”

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What To Do

I Have Been Getting Absolutely Nothing Done….

Also, this is my last week of classes for school and finals are next week. Granted, I only have one test, but that test is stressing me out big time. On top of that, I’m trying to figure what I’m doing for school next semester since I graduate this month. I got into a school and had a plan, but I have changed my mind. Now I have to start the process all over again. That’s a pain in the butt, too.

At the moment, I am writing four novels at once. All of them go together and three of them are not to be published. Although, who knows? If The Blank Page series kicks off pretty well whenever I get that published, I may publish the characters’ books just as a side series. So I have been working bit by bit on that.

However, I have been in the mood to edit my novels instead of writing new ones. Believe me when I say that this never happens. I hate editing with a burning passion and usually when I finish a novel, I set it aside only to be dug up again in a few years and say, “Hey, I remember this!” And then it gets buried again…

But a couple of months ago…well, I think it was back in March, I decided that I was going to set up a writing schedule for myself. This is how it goes:

January — Write
February — Write
March — Edit
April — Camp NaNo
May — Write
June — Edit
July — Camp NaNo
August — Write
September — Write
October — Edit
November — NaNo
December — Write

All the months before the NaNo months are editing months to make sure that I don’t start something new and “cheat” at NaNo. Also, notice that this is only three months. Again, I hate editing.

I started this back in March, except I wrote instead of edited because my flash drive was broken. I have two novels to edit because I had printed them out before my flash drive broke, but I either didn’t think to edit those two novels or I just ignored the fact that I was able to edit them…who knows? My point is that for 2013 I may switch the months of March and May. I wrote in March so I think I’m going to edit in May. I’m probably going to switch back and forth between editing and writing The Blank Page. Then in June I will try to strictly edit.

The thing is that summer is nearly here and I want it to be a good one. So far, 2013 has been promising. I have been keeping up with my New Year’s Resolutions (which never happens) and I have been doing great on my writing. I want the summer to be just as good since I won’t have school and I won’t have work. I’ll be babysitting a lot, but I kind of need to make some money, right? But it will still give me a lot more time to write instead of writing around school and work. Plus, half of the time I’ll be watching my cousins and they’re older, so it’s not like they don’t know how to entertain themselves and I have to keep an eye on them at all times.

But this summer I really want to finish editing something. I have two children’s picture books that are completed…edited and all. I sent Asking Bobby to a publisher about a month ago. They said if I don’t hear back within 30 days, I should e-mail them…which I still have to do. There’s another publisher that I really like, but they only take exclusive manuscripts. So I’m going to send Ashley’s Day at the Aquarium there and send Asking Bobby to a bunch of other places. If I get all rejections, I’ll swap the two. Make sense?

In the meantime, I’m going to be editing Diary of a Lover. My goal is to have that novel completely edited and ready to be published by the end of the summer. Then during the school year I can send that novel to places, as well. While I wait for those three books to get accepted, I can continue writing other things.

The reason I’m planning on editing Dairy of a Lover before Hunter is because I have edited Diary of a Lover before. I’m in the middle of the seventh draft (believe it or not) whereas I have not even glanced at Hunter since I finished it. I finished it back in 2011, I think. Wow, right?

So that’s that. That’s all of my plans and I pray to God that they follow through…or that I keep up with them.

2013: 119,319/350,000 Words Written
2013: 1,749/18,250 Pages Read