Thursday Blues

Every Thursday I go to work for six and half hours and then I babysit for three and half hours immediately after. I don’t get home until 6:30 in the evening at the earliest. Work is good and so is babysitting, but it does make for a long day.

Needless to say, Thursday is not my favorite day of the week.

By the time I get home I’m too tired to do anything. Even to write.

I’ve been getting some editing done here and there lately, but I haven’t done any actual writing. Most of this is because of school, but even with Spring break this week I didn’t get a lot of writing and editing done.

I did great at the beginning of the year in January because school didn’t start yet. So when school ends the beginning of May, I’ll have a lot more free time on my hands.

Of course, just because school will be over doesn’t mean I won’t have work and babysitting on Thursday. In the end, Thursdays will still be long days.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I didn’t get anything useful done today when it comes to writing.

But I did write this blog post, so I guess that counts for something.

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Focus

Focus

 

Today is a good day to do nothing. It’s cold, it’s raining, it’s just all around “bleh.” I slept in until 9:30 this morning (I never do that) and I am still in my pajamas…it’s 12:45 right now. Christmas Eve is tomorrow and my shopping and wrapping is all done. The semester finished about a week or so ago so I don’t have to worry about homework and I’m out of a job currently, so I don’t even have to worry about that. Well, other than finding a new job. Anyway, just because it’s a good day to do nothing and I don’t have anything to do, that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t do anything. Right?

Yet, I was reading last night and I went to bed when I had about 35 pages left in my book…why? I have no idea. But I decided to finish reading it this morning and I read a page when Hunter jumped on my lap and purred and stared me down while batting my face with his paw. I knew I should have told him that the world doesn’t revolve around him, but instead of doing that, I put my book down, turned on Psych on Netflix, and the two of us cuddled on the couch for a really long time. When he finally decided that he had enough cuddling, he left me in front of the TV all alone. So I turned it off, turned on Lucy, and decided to get a little writing done.

Kris and I have been doing a great job with our writing lately. She started something new that she’s been doing very well with and I’m continuing Detective Florence. I had planned on finishing that novel by the end of November, NaNoWriMo, but I never did. So I was hoping to finish it by the end of December, but I just started writing it again. I don’t know if I’m going to finish it in the next week; especially since Christmas is in two days. I know I’m getting Pokemon X and Pokemon Y among other video games, so I know for a fact that video games are going to be my life at least until New Year’s, if not longer.

Last night I hit 65,000 words on Detective Florence and got up and over 200 pages. I was proud of myself. But then I look at my outline (which I am making as I write the novel), I have such a long way to go. I think this novel is going to go above and beyond 300 pages, I have no idea how many words that’s going to be. It’s getting to the point where I just want the novel to end.

So I’m trying to write as much as I can every day because the next semester for school doesn’t start until January 21, 2014 and I have no idea when work is going to start up for me again. So I need to take advantage of the free time I have right now.

My only issue is that I need to focus on it. Which I have been doing well on, but I know it’s only a matter of time before I get distracted.

Last Day

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” –Dr. Seuss

I know I haven’t post on here in a while (blame my internet), but we’re not going to talk about my writing at the moment. Right now, I feel the need to talk about something very important going on in my life. I tend to have a hard time putting my feelings into words and talking to people about it. I realized a long time ago that I tend to express myself much better through writing than any other way. So I’m going to get a few things off my chest:

As you all know, I am a preschool teacher at a wonderful private preschool ten minutes down the road from my house. I was promoted to teacher status at the beginning of this school year. I was very close to becoming lead teacher, but EEC wouldn’t certify me because I’m not 21 yet.

Anyway, I have had a great experience and I have learned a lot through my fellow teacher and the director of the preschool. Yes, it is just the three of us. This is due to lack of enrollment at the school; therefore we were struggling financially. In fact, that’s why I got bumped up to teacher because one other teacher got laid off due to the money issues.

Does anyone see where I’m going with this?

Due to low enrollment and lack of money, we had to close the school down. We weren’t even able to make it until the end of the school year in June. So today, our last day before winter break, is our last day of school. Forever. After today, I am officially unemployed. Of course, I have a few ideas of what I want to do next, but it won’t be with my kids anymore.

I wrote all the families a note and even wrote a note to my two co-workers. I basically thanked them for everything they’ve done because they all had a huge impact on my life whether any of us realized it or not. I also included the Dr. Seuss quote–call it corny, but I felt as though it was appropriate in light of everything going on. None of us have ever gone through this before. The parents have never had to search for a preschool for only six months before their child goes off to kindergarten. Myself and my co-workers had never been out of a job like this before. And the kids have obviously never had to leave their friends and teachers like this. Although, a lot of the kids are going to same school together, which will be good.

So, yeah…everyone is sad. But we’ve all been sticking together and have been trying to make it positive for the kids. Today we played games and did fun activities with the kids. We had a proper goodbye with them, so it was good. Not to mention the parents filmed the kids saying goodbye and made a video about it. I cried. A lot. In a good way, but it definitely hit a nerve.

Last year we got our pictures taken (one of the parents is a wonderful photographer) and she made collages of all our pictures to make a class photo. I ordered one and my mom told me to write the kids’ names on the back. She said, “You think you’ll remember, but come ten years down the road you’re going to be struggling to think of their name.” So I did. And we took a group photo of the kids this year and I wrote down their names. But honestly, after everything that’s happened, I don’t think this a group of kids I will ever forget.

Now I wrote this poem a little while ago. I found out I was losing my job back in November. I had the thought of posting something on here for all to see to show how much I love these kids and families, how much I’m going to miss them, and just how much they mean to me. So I hope you like it because it came from the heart:

My Inspiration

Every day
When you smile,
When you laugh,
When you give me hugs,
You inspire me.

Every day
When you’re so proud of your creation,
When you sing the songs we’ve learned,
When you make connections,
You inspire me.

Every day
When you play with your friends,
When you use your kind words,
When you share your toys,
You inspire me.

Every day
When you help your friends,
When you’re having fun,
When you’re trying your best,
You inspire me.

Every day
When I hear “please” and “thank you”,
When I hear “excuse me” and “I’m sorry”,
When I hear “I love you”,
You inspire me.

Every day
When I see your innocence
With everything you do,
I am inspired
To be the best I can be.

I Win

And Complete…

 

Well, not complete complete. But I did it! I won! I won NaNoWriMo! I have 50,230 words.

I can’t say that this month hasn’t been easy, but I do wonder why I’ve never won past NaNos before. I mean, this month I have been taking five online undergraduate courses as well as working 40 hours a week, being a Sunday school teacher on Sundays, babysitting on the side, having to continue on with my social life…not trying to sound cocky, but I am really impressed with myself. For once, I had an idea in my head and I actually stuck with it. I forced myself to finish what I started.

Now, the novel isn’t completed. I probably still have another 50k more words to write at the least. But at least I can nab that certificate at the end of the month.

Anyway, yesterday was Saturday and I didn’t write at all. I did homework in the morning, went food shopping, then hung out with my boyfriend for the entire day. I think I needed a break from writing so much (my left wrist is killing me) and there have been a lot of things going on work-wise that has been stressing me out (I’ll explain that one at a later date). Other than the homework that I had to get done because it was due today, I needed a “do nothing” day. But I think it helped because I was able to write so much today. I noticed I was writing less and less every day.

So Kris and I went to church this morning, went to Starbucks, and then we came home and began to write like any other Sunday. However, we both have had a craving for video games lately…she has been playing Harvest Moon and I’ve been playing Pokemon Conquest. So we decided to write for an hour, then play our games for a half hour. Then repeat. It worked because I hit 50k and Kris is now on par with the daily word count (she had skipped writing on Friday and got a little behind).

I created an outline for my novel before NaNo had started, but I didn’t finish outlining the whole novel because November had come. I find it ironic that the last sticky note (each sticky note was a scene) I posted is where I am now. So my non-finished outline brought me up to 50k. I think I got lucky on that one. No writer’s block for me! Well…at least for the NaNo portion.

I’m hoping to finish my novel before NaNo ends, but we’ll see. It seems as though it’s going to be a pretty long one…

I’m hoping everyone else hits their goal! 🙂

Today’s Word Count: 6,467
Total Word Count: 50,230
Today’s Page Count: 20
Total Page Count: 160

October 1st

It’s October Already?

 

Oh, dear Lord…I can’t believe it’s October already. Yesterday when I left work, right before my co-worker got into her car I shouted, “We survived a whole month with these kids! Only eight more to go!”

It’s said because we have very low enrollment. We’re a small, private preschool and have two classrooms. One room is for two- and three-year-olds and the other room is for four- and five-year-olds. We have three kids in the younger room and 12 in the older room leaving our enrollment a total of 15. I was promoted–I have way more responsibilities and I’m also working 40 hours a week now. However, I am still making the same amount I was because we can’t afford to give us raises…we even had to lay one of the teachers off (which is basically the main reason I got bumped up to lead teacher). My paychecks are much bigger than last year, which I am hugely grateful for, but if I was paid what a lead teacher is supposed to be paid…well, I would have an easier time paying for school, wouldn’t I?

Ah, school…one month down, three more to go. My teachers are stupid. Have I mentioned that? All five of my classes end on December 14, but at the beginning of the semester, one professor thought it was a ten-week accelerated course. Do you want to know why he thought this? He thought it was the summer semester, not the fall. Um…I can see mixing up the days of the week, like thinking it’s Friday when it’s really Thursday, but mixing up the months? I mean, there’s a big difference between June and September. Does he not own a calendar? And he (and a couple of my other teachers) re-use lesson plans. I’m all for that, I’m a teacher, I understand what a pain it is and make a new lesson plan. It’s perfectly okay to re-use the same material, but…can you at least proof-read? I mean, this is an English degree, these people are English professors, don’t we know how to proof-read? In one class, the class that was an “accelerated course,” everything is supposedly due June 2013. For another class, this week’s assignments are apparently due in February 2013. I am paying 6,000 dollars this semester. I feel like I’m being ripped off somehow.

But it’s October. And I’m sick. Tomorrow will mark me being sick for a full week. I thought my sickness would start and end in September, but apparently not. I had a really bad cold and from that I got laryngitis. I still can’t talk all that well, but I am doing much better than I was. I know when you get laryngitis the best thing to do is not talk. Yeah, well I’m with a bunch of preschoolers for eight hours of the day. I can’t really rest my body let alone my voice. But as I said, it’s getting better. It’s all a matter of time now.

But I have to admit that I’m sick now rather than later because, well…it’s October. And we all know what October means, right? 30 days (31 days? I was never good at math and never will be) from now it will be the start of…

NaNoWriMoOh, yes! I have been waiting a long time for this. I would rather be sick now during NaNo Prep month rather than NaNo itself. I’ve been sick during November before and it sucked. I wasn’t able to get anything done.

But then I think to myself, “Crap…it’s October 1st.” How am I going to plan? How am I going to make the time with school and work? More importantly, what am I going to write?

Now I have tried to write two novels at the same time before. I’ve tried this a couple of times. It does not work. Not for me, anyway. Especially since I’m at work eight hours a day five days a week and then trying to get homework done in between. Oh, and I have to attempt to have a social life. That’s important…but maybe not for November? I don’t know.

Anyway, I have tried thinking of what I should write. I started this thinking process a couple weeks ago. I thought of something to write, but of course I’m beginning to change my mind. So I don’t really know what’s going to happen because I’m at a loss right now. All I know is that my time is limited because I need to do some serious planning if I want to win. If I don’t plan, I’m most likely going to fail due to being smothered by school and work. At least if I plan, I don’t really have to think. The point of NaNo is to not think and not edit, right? Then again…if you think you’re going to fail, aren’t you setting yourself up to fail?

Oh, well. I never listened to wise quotes like that.

Thoughts On Life

Warning, This Is A Really Long Post…

Kris and I tend to have a lot of conversations about our future. For some strange reason, I was beginning to think about again this morning. Kris was home with me, but she was in the shower so I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about it. Except for Hunter.

Yes, he is sitting in a drawer. This pic was taken a while ago, though.
Yes, he is sitting in a drawer. This pic was taken a while ago, though.

He seemed to agree with me on half of the things I said, too. Well…he meowed a lot, anyway. But together, in the half hour Kris was in the shower, he and I took a long, hard look at life.

I was always the type of person to have a plan.  I always stuck to that plan no matter what and it was very hard for someone or something to change my mind.

When I was in first grade, I was six-years-old,  I loved my teacher a lot. Her name was Mrs. McCarthy. I have two memories from that class: one was that she had a beanie baby named Tiny. Every Friday one kid in the class was chosen to take it home for the weekend. Memory number two is that I remember telling her, “I’m going to be a first grade teacher just like you.” I kept half of that promise. I do want to be a teacher and have wanted to be a teacher ever since.

When I was in fifth grade, I was ten, my sister found the FanFiction website. I wasn’t really all that interested in it, but I wanted to copy her because I was an annoying little sister. I created a story for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles because that was my obsession at the time. The writing sucked, to be blunt. My spelling was terrible, I had no idea what grammar was, and for the most part there was no plot. I just threw a little girl into the turtles’ laps and based her off of me. As I got older, I took the story down and re-vamped it. It was popular and I continued on. I found the sister site, FictionPress, which is all original stuff. I posted a few things on there, came up with millions of novel ideas, and thought to myself, “Why post these on the internet when I could get them published?” That was when I got my start at writing.

But I still wanted to be a teacher. How was I to write and be a teacher at the same time? Mind you, at this point in time I thought authors made millions of dollars by just selling one book. I didn’t realize how difficult it truly is. But I thought writing was going to be so much work (which it is), so how was I to write full time all day every day and still be able to teach first grade?

“I’ll be an English teacher!” I finally came to a conclusion. I never really thought about what grade I wanted to teach, but I was gonna go with it for the time being. I love Spanish, too. There was some point in my life where I kept flip-flopping back and forth between being an English teacher and a Spanish teacher.

Then I got to seventh grade, I was 12. My aunt suddenly passed away from a brain aneurysm. She and the rest of my family were over for my birthday, seeming completely fine, and two days later she was gone. She left behind Jackie and Kat (who were 3 and 1 at the time) and my Uncle behind. Two weeks later we had to put my dog Casey down due to seizures. This was around the time Hunter came into the picture (he was a stray), but that’s another story for another time.

Most of my writing during that time was sad and gloomy. Most of the things I wrote on FanFiction was in the humor section and I got a lot of reviews with people telling me that my work was so funny that they printed it out to share with their friends and such like that. But when she left behind her daughters, there was no one else to watch them while my Uncle was at work, so we took them in. I was the youngest of three and then suddenly a middle child of five. It was the biggest change of my life and it’s not something I would wish upon anybody.

I love my cousins to death and I am glad we did what we did to help them and my Uncle out, but when you’re 12 it’s tough to see just how good of a deed you’re really doing. But ever since then, I was done with change. I didn’t care if it was good or bad, I didn’t need anymore surprises in my life.

But people tell you that when you get to high school, things change. Your friends, even yourself, changes. “That will never!” I declared. I had the best group of friends in the world. Alyssa, Mary, Christina, and Kerri. I had known Christina and Kerri since elementary school and Alyssa and Mary came into the picture in middle school, sixth grade.

But at the beginning of ninth grade, high school…things changed. Just like people told me they would. Mary moved to another town so she went to a different high school. Alyssa went to a vocational school. Only Christina, Kerri, and I were at school together, but while I had a few classes with Kerri, I never saw Christina around. I kept in touch with Alyssa and kept in touch with Mary through Alyssa. But as each day passed, we talked less and less. Now we get in contact with each other once every few months and never hang out anymore.

Junior year was the bulk of when everything happened. I had just turned 16 and while everyone else was learning how to drive, I said no thank you. I wasn’t ready for it and I wasn’t going to be for a very long time. Kerri changed drastically that year to the point that I haven’t spoken to her since. And I changed, as well. I knew what I wanted to do with my life, but I was straying from the path that I had been on so for so.

Long story short, after Christmas break, I did not go back to high school. I refused to go. My teachers were baffled, my parents didn’t know what to do, and I had no idea what had come over me. I hated the kids in my class, none of my teachers seemed to believe in me, and I was realizing that Kerri didn’t believe in me, either. We got in a huge fight because when she asked me what was going on with me, I told her I didn’t know because I truly didn’t know. She got angry at me thinking I was keeping something from her. That was the end of our friendship.

For the second half of my junior year I stayed home all day and went in after school to be tutored for a while to make sure I finished my junior year. I went into therapy where I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and had to be put on medication. I only had two teachers supporting me and the rest thought it was because I just needed to be in lower classes. I was put in the low classes all my life when I got A’s and B’s. I had to fight to get into the higher classes and now they were putting me down again. I had it with teachers. I had it with school. I was ready to drop out and not bother going to college.

My therapist found this “dual enrollment” program at a local community college. I was able to finish my high school diploma there and the courses would also count towards my degree. I went with it. And I’m glad I did. I not have my Associate’s degree in early childhood education. I’m starting my Bachelor’s in the Fall for English.

I hate change. I always hated it thinking I would never get through, but my entire life has changed in a million different directions and each time I adapted. I went from wanting to be a teacher, to an English teacher, to possibly a Spanish teacher, to finally deciding on being a preschool teacher (working towards owning my own preschool and being director) ,all while being a writer. I went from a group of four friends to just the one (Christina and I chat ever day). I went from being an almost high school drop-out to being a college graduate. And I have plans to get my Bachelor’s in English, Master’s in Business, and go back for a certificate in Special Ed. I went from being the youngest child to being one of the oldest.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that…I’m ready for anything else that life throws at me. I have a lot more schooling to get done and I have a ton of books to get published. Who knows what’s going to happen?

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.”

I Have Issues

Today Was  A Joke…

 

Today was the first day in a long time that I have nothing to do. So I told myself that I was going to wake up early, take a shower, and write. And write, and write, and write some more. Except things didn’t go exactly as planned.

I’m stuck.

I didn’t get a chance to write at all this past weekend. There were some times here and there I would have been able to squeeze some words in, but I didn’t. Normally I would have or if I didn’t, I would have been freaking out about why I didn’t get anything done. Not this time. I didn’t feel like writing and that was that.

I’m going to assume I burned myself out when it comes to writing. But this burn out couldn’t have come at another time? It’s in the middle of the July, I have Camp NaNo to finish. Not to mention I’m already losing next week because I’m going on vacation. I don’t need to lose two additional days.

So I told myself today was going to be an all day writing day. I can’t tell you how many words I have written because I literally have no idea. I am so burned out that every time I tried to write today, I said: “Screw it!”

I’m writing Cybertra for Camp NaNo and I’m ahead of the NaNo goal, but 11,000 words behind my own goal. Two days and I’m that far behind…what? I forced myself to write it and I got about 540 words done. Then I realized…I’m just not into the story anymore. I still love the characters, the plot is good, but…well, the plot isn’t going as well as expected. I feel like I want to keep the prologue then scrap the whole rest of the novel. But that’s over 20,000 words…is it worth it to do in the middle of Camp? Is it wort it to do it at all?

I heard (I forget where) that you should never delete your writing whether you’re going to use it or not. Good writing is writing and bad writing is still writing. Not to mention there might be something in there that you will like later on. I hate deleting things I write because then I just feel bad. I mean, it was a good idea at the time I wrote it, right?

So I didn’t delete it, but I’m definitely not going back to the story any time soon. Which is sad because I was in love with it when I first started. I think I just need a break. Maybe next month I can get back to it. But now how am I supposed to finish Camp NaNo?

I tried writing a couple of children’s picture books…I finished one, but it sucks. I attempted to write another, but I got about two lines in and that was that. I started Hunter & Comet, the first book of a middle grade series I want to write. I wrote about a page and couldn’t get into that, either.

I looked at my list of stories to write. Maybe I just need something brand new? None of those ideas appealed to me. At the moment, anyway. And I’m afraid to start any new young adult novels because I already have four that need to be edited.

I tried writing some FanFiction. I wrote about a page then quit.

It’s about four o’clock in the afternoon, I have to get something written. I want to get something written. But it’s not going so well. And I’m afraid today is going to be a bit of a waste since I’m probably not going to have another day to write all day like this one in a long time.

Cheerios and Chicken Soup

Yum…

Kris and I decided to do more writing contests and such.

I’m sure most of you have heard of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books? This is one of the things we want to do. We pick book topics that we can write a nonfiction story about and send it in. If your story is picked to be in the book, you’ll receive 200 dollars plus ten free copies of the book. I think that’s a good deal.

As of right now, there are two topics that I am able to write for. Stories About Cats and Overcoming Challenges. I could write for the Stories About Dogs one, but I don’t have any real stories that pop out in my mind. I can only think of one story with my cat, Hunter, and my turtle, Raph. I’m going to write about that. I doubt it’ll get picked, but hey–might as well toss in every story I can, right? The deadline for this one is August 31, 2013.

The Overcoming Challenges one I’m going to talk about my high school career–my best friend bullying me, my anxiety disorder, and some of the teachers not believing in me. I don’t know if I ever explained this one here, but I left high school half way through my junior year. I did get my high school diploma, but I went through college to get it. It also gave me a head start on my degree, which was nice. The deadline for this one is October 31, 2013.

There are a couple of other topics I could write for, but there are no stories that pop into my head for them. We’ll see, though; especially since I have time for the two topics I plan on doing. Of course August 31 is going to be here before I know it.

I also heard of another contest through My Journey As A Writer‘s blog. It’s called Cheerios Spoonful of Stories. You can send in an unlimited amount of children’s books. Grand prize is 5,000 dollars. The story is featured on the website as well as handed over to Simon and Schuster publishing to be considered for publication. Second and third prize gets 1,000 dollars. The deadline is July 31, 2013.

I have a few children’s book ideas, but I don’t know if I’m going to have the time to write, edit, and send them in. I’m leaving for vacation on Saturday and when I come back there will be about three days left until the deadline. The book I would love to send in is still being considered by a publisher who only takes exclusive manuscripts. I’m not allowed to send the manuscript anywhere else until I hear from them, or September 7 (it’s a three-month turnaround time and I sent it in on June 7). We’ll see if I have any time this week to write up some manuscripts and give them a good look-over.

There’s also Writer’s Digest competitions. I have done a couple of their competitions before, but never won anything. Of course, I can keep trying.

I also bought a book called 2013 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. Not only does the book have a list of publishers and agents, it has a list of contests, as well. Of course, a lot of them have already ended because I was smart and bought the book half way through the year of 2013. But it also has a list of magazines, too. Some pay, some don’t. Some have contests, some don’t. But you can still send stuff in, depending on what they’re looking for.

I told myself I wanted to have something published by my 25th birthday. Of course, when I say something published, I mean one of my young adult novels or middle grade novels or something.

I turn 20 on September 1, 2013. That gives me five more years to get something done. If I can get something published by winning a contest, even if it’s just published in a small magazine, I’ll take it. I would prefer one of my novels, but if it gets my foot in the door, I’ll be happy.