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?

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.

Insert Interesting Title Here

I Have Nothing Witty To Say…

 

I haven’t been doing too well on keeping up with this thing lately, have I? I did a really good job updating practically daily when it was Camp NaNo. I tried to keep that up, but that hasn’t worked. Next month is July and it is Camp NaNo again, so I will most likely get back to updating daily, but then I’ll be going away for a week with no wi-fi. So…there’s that.

June is a busy month within it’s self. I have my aunt’s birthday, my cousin’s birthday, my nanny’s birthday just passed, and Father’s Day on top of that. I was happy that I didn’t have any graduations this year (even though I graduated myself). However, the spots where all the graduation parties would be quickly filled up because my sister is moving out with her boyfriend and my two cousins are moving in with my grandparents. So I have to help them all move from this place to that place and it’s going to be a lot. Not to mention that my house is going to go from seven people to four. Wow.

I have two weeks of work left, which isn’t bad. But I have to find time to prepare for the second session of Camp as well as continue editing my novels. I sent one children’s book to a publisher and I won’t hear back for three months. It’s an exclusive submission, so I can’t do anything with that story for the next three months. I’m in the process of finding more agents and publishers for my other children’s book in hopes to send that one out to multiple places while I wait for the other one.

My sister Lisa, the one who is moving out, she and I are the directors of our Sunday school at church so we need to get planning for next year’s curriculum. Not to mention that we have a dinner going on at my church in the middle of July and we have one to plan for August. It’s a lot of work.

My other sister, Kris, have to start websites for our church to get more people to come in. We’re the only ones who can do it because we’re the only ones who are computer savvy. We also need to start a website for my work. The preschool I work at is connected to my church and the church owns the preschool. Me being a teacher’s assistant at the preschool and the director of the Sunday school, I have many connections. Therefore, people ask me a lot of questions.

Kris and I go to Barnes and Noble once a week to write together. We can’t this week because her day off of work is Saturday and that’s because we need to help Lisa move. Obviously, that’s no issue, but I have no idea when I’m going to get some quality writing time in. This is one reason as to why I can’t wait for work to be done for the summer. I’ll be babysitting a lot, but I’ll still have a lot more free time on my hands than I do now.

Oh, did I mention that I’m trying to get into college for my Bachelor’s next semester? Yeah, I have to do that, too…I applied, at least. I just have to make the trip to my previous college to have them send them my transcripts.

I think my head is going to explode. I’m going to go write now…

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

Getting Back Into Habit

I Actually Wrote Today…

 

Well, I did it. I meant to do it all day today, but I got a good hour in. Since I had nothing to do today I thought I thought was going to focus on writing all day, but I just didn’t really feel like it…at all. So it’s six o’clock in the evening right now and I wrote for the past hour. It’ s better than nothing, right?

I didn’t feel like writing anything, but I forced myself to do it anymore. I need to get back into the habit of writing for at least an hour every day. Even though I wasn’t very into it, I think I whipped out a pretty good chapter, if I do say so myself. I am now on chapter six, but I’m not going to start it now.

This last chapter we learned a little more about Adair. Apparently she went to college for engineering and quit when she had two classes left. Dominic couldn’t believe she wasted all that time and money and Justin couldn’t believe that she got good grades in such a tough field. They’re such supporting friends, aren’t they?

Anyway, they didn’t get anything done writing-wise in that chapter. My characters are starting to take after me and that’s not really something to be proud of…

Well, I have school until two tomorrow and then work at 2:30 until somewhere between five and six. Tomorrow night I’m going to have to try to find some time to write for an hour because I know that I’m going to be pretty tired. Although, it is supposed to snow pretty heavy tonight…I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a snow day for the first day of school. 😉

 

2013: 15,139Words Written
2013: 825 Pages Read