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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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.

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