A Huge Thank You – Happy Thanksgiving

I don’t normally publish personal posts anymore, but today is Thanksgiving so I felt that this was appropriate.

A lot has happened in the past five and half years since I started blogging. A lot has happened in this past year, in just the past few months alone.

This time last year I had decided that I was going to quit my job. I had no idea what was going to be in store for me, but I just knew I had to try to follow my dreams. There was no other time to do it. It was either now or never.

Thank You

I Am Thankful For…

My Family

I can’t express how grateful I am for my family. I am so lucky to have two wonderful parents who support me no matter what. I’m lucky they allow me to live under their roof rent-free while I quit my job to pursue my passion. Which, as we all know, can be a crapshoot because writing isn’t a sure thing.

There are my two older sisters and brother-in-law who are always encouraging me, asking me how my writing is going, and interested in what I’m doing. Then there are of course my two cousins, my Uncle, and grandparents among the rest of my family.

My Friends

I don’t have many “writer” friends in real life. I do have friends in my writing group and I love each and every one of them and value their thoughts and opinions on my writing and just writing in general. Plus, they’re just a fun bunch to hang out with!

But my non-writer friends, the best ones I have, are super supportive even though they fully understand what I’m trying to do. They just know that I love it and they’re happy for me that I’m trying.

My WordPress/Social Media Friends

I’m not going to name any people because there are way too many and I’m sure you know who you are (you better know who you are). I honestly can’t say enough how thankful I am for my fellow bloggers and writers on this site and across my social media. I’ve learned a lot from each and every one of you and have made a lot of new friends. I feel like I’m part of a super important club and I think we have an amazing community going on.

So many opportunities have risen for me through my blog. I’ve been connected with all sorts of bloggers (writers, readers, gamers) as well as authors (self and traditional) and even publicists. I’ve interviewed people and been interviewed by people. I’ve had guest posts on my blog and wrote a few guest posts myself. I’ve participated in blog tours and done cover reveals. I’ve read and reviewed published books and ARC books. My blog and I have come so far and it baffles me, to be honest.

New Opportunities

Speaking of the above, it’s through this blog that I met Emily Green, a publicist. After reviewing a few books for her, I inquired about her work. It intrigued me and she was so nice to take me under her wing. I was her intern for a few months and now I help her with her projects when she needs it. I’ve learned a lot. She’s a wonderful mentor and an encouraging friend. I’m so grateful she took a chance on me.

I’ve also found other places to write. Kris and I started our own gaming blog and have met so many new friends through that. We contribute to another gaming blog writing occasional reviews for them. It’s through that blog and those friends that we have big things planned.

Speaking of writing, writing is another opportunity. I know I’ve been doing that for a while, but if it weren’t for this blog I wouldn’t be taking nearly as many of the chances I take now. My original writing wouldn’t be on the Internet and I wouldn’t be looking into self-publishing and taking action towards my overall writing career.

Old Opportunities

I was writing for a gaming website called Now Loading. I was almost done with the “academy” part of the site. After that, I would have been able to apply to be a verified creator which would allow me to get paid for my articles. Unfortunately, the website had to close its doors. Still, it was fun while it lasted and I learned a lot.

I’m still coming to terms with myself quitting my job. It was getting to the point where I wasn’t as happy going to work as I used to be. I loved the people I worked with and the kids, of course, but it wasn’t helping my creativity. I felt like I was in a rut. Overall, I think it was a good decision that I left, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it. Two of the three teachers I worked with moved onto a different school so our team (after three years) would have split up no matter if I left or stayed. It just seemed like the right time. But I still look at the clock and think to myself, “the kids are having their snack right now,” or “I would be outside chasing the kids around right now.”

My co-workers were super supportive of me whether I stayed in education or decided to move on with my writing. I miss them, but I’m sure I’ll see them again soon.

Overall

I really hope I’m not missing anything or anyone. 2017 has been a roller coaster – good things happened and bad things happened, but that’s just life.

I think I’m finally on my way to officially having a writing career. I have big plans for 2018 and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signature

When A Writer Has No Internet

I wish I had gotten this whole thing on video to show you, but you’ll just have to bare with me as I tell this long-winded story.

When A Writer Has No Internet Connection by Rachel Poli

Last Friday, I woke up like any other day. I went downstairs, made myself an iced coffee, and worked my way back upstairs. Kris called me into our bedroom asking me if I was going on my laptop.

“Probably. Why?” I asked peering over her shoulder as she stared at her laptop’s desktop.

“I’m going to shut the modem off.” she explained.

Our bedroom was never very good at catching the wi-fi. It’s always been spotty in there, we have no idea why. But Kris is always able to troubleshoot it and then it comes back to her no problem. Except, this time, it was saying the modem was having issues. Kris thought to reset it assuming that would fix the problem.

I shrugged. “Go for it.” I was going to be home all day. I didn’t have to start writing or blogging right at seven-thirty in the morning.

I’ll skip some of the boring details, but when I went downstairs, Kris was sitting in the porch pouting. She had brought her laptop down there with her, hoping it would give her a better connection.

It didn’t.

I looked over at the modem and frowned upon seeing it glare back at me with a bright red light.

“What’d you do to it?” I asked.

Kris glared at me. “I didn’t do anything to it! It wasn’t working, so I reset it and it still won’t come on.” she stood up from the couch and unplugged the modem. She waited ten seconds before plugging it back in.

The wi-fi symbol turned on, but the earth symbol blinked white.

“It’s trying.” she said.

We watched it in silence willing the blinking to stop. When it finally did, we didn’t sigh in relief.

“Why is it red?!” Kris growled. She leaned back on the couch running her finger along the screen of her smart phone. I laughed. This was ridiculous. She was trying to look up ways to fix it on the Internet, but that was difficult since we had no Internet.

Kris and I panicked a bit. What would we do without Internet?

You don’t realize how much you use the Internet until it’s gone. My first instinct was to live tweet about the situation. Except, I couldn’t get onto Twitter. Nothing on my phone worked except my text messages.

I couldn’t check my blog, Facebook, Twitch, Pinterest, Tumblr, anything.

I worked a lot on writing and blogging last week and was stressing myself out since I have to go back to work soon. So, in a way, this was a good thing. The Internet was trying to tell me something.

“Well, I have to get ready for work. We’ll just have to try again later.” Kris got up from the couch and made her way upstairs.

I remained where I stood dumbfounded. What was I supposed to do all day?

I couldn’t get onto my laptop at all. I supposed I could try to write since Word doesn’t need Internet. I figured I could read since I needed a book review for the following day. I could play video games. I couldn’t watch TV though. I mean, I could have, but the TV I watch is Netflix and YouTube. Both need Internet.

I decided to play video games. I needed to for Double Jump, but as soon as I turned on my game, I needed to look something up. So, I grabbed my phone and tried the Internet completely forgetting that you need Internet to get on the Internet… Yeah.

With our phones and technology right at the end of our fingertips, it’s amazing how many times a day you say, “Let me Google that.”

But I couldn’t because I had no Internet.

I played video games for a bit, I read a book, and that’s about it. Everyone was at work and I was home alone. There’s not much you can do when there’s no Internet and you work online.

I was born in the 90s. I remember sitting on the bulky desktop computer playing Paint, Solitaire, or Pinball, waiting for my mom to get off the phone because you couldn’t talk on the phone and be on the Internet at the same time.

I didn’t grow up attached to my cell phone because I didn’t get one until I was 16. I didn’t need one and there wasn’t much you could do with it to begin with.

I never watched YouTube, I didn’t have Netflix, I didn’t have an iPad that needed Internet for apps.

No, I went outside and I played with my friends. I took walks. I used my imagination.

I mean, I still use my imagination every day, but I don’t run outside acting it out with my sister. I just write it down instead.

What happened on Friday sparked three more post ideas for this blog and one post idea for my other blog. So, I guess everything happens for a reason, huh?

What would you do if the Internet crashed on you? Would it be easy for you to get through the day or would you just sit and twiddle your thumbs?

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

March Wrap-Up

march 2016 wrap up rachel poli

Reading

I ended up in a reading slump this month. The beginning of March was crazy and I barely had any time to sit down with a book. I started reading the first book I planned this month, but it was slow-going for me. So I switched to a different book and read that in one sitting. Now I’m reading another book, bringing me to two books at once. I never do that.

So I was supposed to read five books and only read one. Oops.

With all this being said, I’m going to try to read March’s books and some, if not all, of April’s books.

For an updated list of the books I read and reviewed for March, check out my Reading List.

Writing

I didn’t get much of my writing goals done this month, either. I was supposed to give George Florence a thorough edit. I didn’t. I edited one part of it so that I could send it to my writers group for the end of the month, but that was it.

I also needed to research and outline The Lost Girl for Camp NaNoWriMo, which I did. So that’s good at least.

I didn’t submit to any writing contests only because I didn’t have anything planned and I didn’t really have time to write anything. So that kind of got pushed to the back burner for now.

Blogging

I got most of my April posts done like I was supposed to. I ended up being more blog-focused this month than I was with my writing. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I do have  a schedule to balance the two and I didn’t follow it at all this month.

If you would like to be part of my blog, go check out the Be a Guest Blogger page. I’d love to have you! Also, if you need a book review done or just have a book recommendation for me, check out my Book Review Policy page.

Overall

March wasn’t that busy of a month, though I made it feel that way at times. I had some family things going on, worked a lot, and there were two weeks during the month where I was just so tired that I had no desire to sit down and write.

The other thing about March was that I was more blog-focused, like I said earlier. Camp NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow (yay!) so I’ve been playing catch-up and trying to get ahead.

I wanted to have my April posts done by the end of the month so I could focus mainly on writing Camp in April. Now that I’m running two blogs, my blogging work is cut out for me.

April is going to be all about Camp NaNoWriMo and my novel, The Lost Girl. When that’s over, I’ll get back into a better routine with balancing editing, writing, blogging, reading, video games, work, life, etc. Wow.

April will be busy, there’s no doubt about that. Come May, I will post an update about my writing. I realize I haven’t talked about George Florence in a while so I think I’m due to let you guys know where I stand on my goals, instead of just a quick outline like this.

Even this post turned out way longer than I expected!

So March was busy, got some stuff done though not what I thought I would get done. April will be even busier with Camp, but I can do it!

Posts to Remember

1. March/April Writing Contests
2. New Chapter
3. Writing Contest Tips
4. Guest: Travel Like a Writer
5. Guest: Mapping Out Your World (World Building Part Three)
6. Guest: Dissing the Queen: The Politics of Editing

Spring Cleaning

Friday: I had work (per usual) which went well. My family and I went out to dinner and then went to Barnes & Noble after. Kris bought me a new book, Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I plan on reading it soon, but I’m in the middle of a book at the moment and have to start another book for school. So… eventually.

Saturday: Kris and I skipped Barnes & Noble because we woke up kind of late. I was going to write from home, but I ended up doing some spring cleaning instead… I did the laundry, cleaned the bathroom, my bedroom, my office, cleaned the storage behind my bed, and also cleaned the fish tank and the turtle tank. For some reason I got the urge to clean all day, but that’s okay because it needed to be done anyway.

Sunday: I went to church in the morning and I discussed what it means to be nice and helpful to others. It was the same lesson I did two weeks ago, but I had different kids this week so… recycling! Also, that’s your lesson for the week: be nice to people.

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

This Week: Spring break is over, so back to homework. Sad day.

In regards to writing, I need to finish outlining for Camp NaNo in about a week. I also need to finish critiquing the pieces from my writing group. That’s it for writing because I’m sure homework is going to get in the way and take up a lot of my time.

How was your weekend?

Babysitting, Birthdays, And Blogging

Friday: I babysat in the early afternoon for a couple of hours. The dad got surgery on his ear so I was needed to keep the peace while the mom was at the hospital with him. I kicked butt in Monopoly, watched the boys play some video games, and watched the oldest dye his hair pink… yeah. In my defense, the parents said it was okay and he’s not my child, so… anyway…

Mom and I went food shopping and then we all went out to dinner. Then to Barnes and Noble. It was a good day with the kids and a good night with the family.

Saturday: Kris and I went to Barnes and Noble in the morning to write (I swear, we should just live there). We got kicked out of our seats because some people reserved the table, but that was okay. We went upstairs and found a table by the writing books and didn’t get much done there. It was way too quiet… we always sit by the cafe and I always claim I can’t work with people talking (I usually listen to instrumental music or nothing at all), but apparently the background noise of the cafe is a nice atmosphere.

Then we went to our sister’s apartment for our brother-in-law’s 30th birthday. We stayed there for a few hours before it started snowing (again!) and we went home. I planned on being productive after getting home, but that didn’t happen.

Sunday: We went to church for the first time in two weeks (because of all the snow storms). The corner of the Sunday school room is leaking and the entire Sunday school closet (with all our books and supplies and such in it) was soaked. Nothing was damaged and there was no “flood,” but the carpet was soaked and part of the ceiling fell through. Plus, there was a huge puddle in the light fixture. I am officially done with snow.

Also, I’m sure many of you have noticed that I’ve stopped commenting on your blogs (or have been extremely slow at it) and that I’ve barely been keeping up with the comments on my own blog. I don’t know why I’ve been slacking in this department. However, I spent the rest of Sunday afternoon on my blog typing out posts and going through the blogs I follow.

You won’t believe how many blogs I follow that don’t even exist anymore. I unfollowed those as well as some blogs that haven’t been updated in months (in some cases, years). I hate unfollowing people. I feel like a jerk. However, it got to the point that I was following more people than I could count and some blogs I didn’t even know what they were until I clicked on their link. It was just something that desperately needed to be cleaned out.

With that being said, I’m going to try to set aside some time each day (or maybe every couple days depending on my schedule) where I can catch up on blog posts. I can give myself some time to read through each post and comment on them like every fellow blogger should.

I have to organize my flash drive, my blog, my writing stuff, everything… it’s kind of crazy. I think that’s why I’ve been so slow lately; I have a lot going on and I don’t know where to start on working through it all. I’m working on it slowly, but surely.

This is yet another reason as to why I can’t wait to be done with school… eight more weeks!

How was your weekend?

Snowy Weekend

Well, it’s Monday again. I feel as though the weekend never happened. It always goes by way too fast.

Friday: I went to work per usual. I didn’t have my car because it needed some new tires. So, dad drove me to work and my sister Lisa drove me home (we work together). While I was at work my mechanic called saying my car was ready. So Lisa drove me down there, but she hit a pothole on the way and broke her own car. A spring popped out of her brakes or something like that. We got my car and together I drove us back to my house while she left her car to be fixed. A half hour later, we picked it back up good as new.

We also switched back to Verizon from Comcast. Lucy not has a steady Internet connection after struggling for two years. Yay!

Mom and I went food shopping, then my parents, Kris, and me all went out to dinner and then wandered around Barnes and Noble for a bit. There were things I was going to get done Friday night, but I didn’t do any of them because we didn’t get home until eight that evening. Kris and I then watched YouTube videos for a few hours before going to bed. Needless to say, it was not productive.

Saturday: I slept in a bit late, but I had plans to get some things done. You know, like stuff on my blog, writing/editing, etc. I didn’t do any of that. We had a snow storm so it was the perfect day to stay in my pajamas (which I did), relax and do nothing… which I did.

Kris and I sat on the couch, played a few different video games and watched Netflix. It was pretty bad considering we both had plans to be productive. She did hand write a little in a notebook and I did some posts on my blog, but that was it. Then we went back onto the couch. Then again, you need a relaxing break every now and then.

Sunday: Again, not very productive. Went to church, played video games, and did some posts for my blog. There were a couple times Kris and I sat at our desks to get some writing done, but we didn’t have much motivation. Kris got some writing done, I got nothing done. It was pretty bad.

At least I can say I had a relaxful weekend. How was your weekend?

Goodbye 2014!

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

I feel like I wrote Goodbye, 2013! just yesterday. I blinked and now the end of 2014 is here and 2015 is right around the corner. Time sure does fly.

Last year, I decided to go through all my blog posts for 2013 and highlight them in one post in an attempt to recap and say goodbye to 2013. I am going to do that again to say goodbye to 2014.

Let’s see what happened in 2014…

January:
-I went over my New Year’s resolutions
-I continued to write Detective Florence and completed it
-I came up with the Short Story Sunday feature on my blog
-I started writing Inspiration Station
-I had a schedule of writing 5,000 words a day and changed it to writing 5,000 words Monday-Thursday, editing Friday-Saturday, and relaxing on Sunday
-I discovered the Reading Bingo and challenged myself to it
-It was Kris’s birthday

February:
-I decided to write only 1,000 words a day when school started
-I completed two Reading Bingo squares by reading Coming Clean and The Hobbit
-I continued to post my Short Story Sunday throughout the month

March:
-I planned on editing more than writing to help prepare for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo
-I completed another Reading Bingo square by reading I, Robot
-I was nominated for the Liebster Award

April:
-Camp NaNoWriMo started and I wrote Diary of A Killer
-I discovered the website Noisli
-I was nominated for the Beautiful Blogger Award and the Howler Award
-Easter happened plus I was busy with work and school… I got behind on Camp NaNoWriMo
-I got 1,000 followers on Spilled Ink

May:
-I lost Camp NaNoWriMo
-I discussed what “Success” is
-I joined Critique Circle
-It was Spilled Ink’s two-year anniversary

June:

–Edited Detective Florence in preparation of Camp NaNo

July:

–Camp NaNo: wrote Detective Florence 2
Trying to balance life, writing, work, school, etc.
–I accidentally saved over my Camp NaNo novel (150 pages and 44k words) with my Short Story Sunday with five days left of Camp NaNo
–I wrote 50k in five days to beat Camp NaNo

August:

–I beat Camp NaNo in, more or less, five days
–I updated my Reading Bingo with many novels
–I discussed how my English degree is basically in nothing
–I got a new job
–Lucky Seven Challenge with Detective Florence 2
–I currently had 15 WIPs… yikes.
–I came up with a writing schedule for the rest of the year
–I went to Disney and discovered the “Writer’s Stop” store and met Peter Pan
–Reality checked back in after vacation with school starting, work, Sunday school, etc.
–I wanted to enter some contests, but missed the deadlines

September:

–I turned 21
–School started with a few creative writing classes
–Cookie the Beagle joined the family
–I tried to come up with a routine to balance homework, writing, etc.
–I discuss why I became a teacher, go to school, became a teacher/director or the Sunday school, write, etc.
–I updated everything in my life with my sister’s wedding coming up as well as November NaNo.

October:

–I decided to edit Take Over and plan to write Far Away for NaNo
–I started editing Take Over which I noticed I’ve grown as a writer in the past year or so
–I watched “Authors Anonymous” and the screenwriter contacted me. It also inspired a new potential story idea
–I watched a NaNo video on Blurb
–I decided to give myself a reward of one dollar for every 1,000 words I write for NaNo
–I changed my mind again and decided to write short stories for NaNo

November:

–I bought a new fish named Nano
–NaNoWriMo started and I wrote Short Story Collection and came up with new ideas for novels
–I did my best in balancing homework with NaNo
–I planned on finishing NaNo by Thanksgiving and did it
–I came up with a new novel idea called Fire and Ice
–I won NaNo
–Thanksgiving happened and I made a list of all I’m thankful for
–I compared NaNo 2013 to this year’s NaNo
–I edited while on vacation and discussed how that’s the best time to write

December:

–I came up with a plan for my Detective Florence series
–I finished typing the second draft of Detective Florence
–I wrapped up yet another semester of my Bachelor’s degree and made it out alive and with good grades
–I hand edited the first draft of Detective Florence 2
–I changed the title of my blog, bought the domain name from WordPress, and made some slight layout changes

So much has happened in one year. Some good, some bad, but I think it was mostly good. I’m happy to be where I am right now. I have a wonderful job, I’m going to school, and I’m on my way with my writing. There’s nothing for me to complain about.

Here’s to another great year in 2015!

How To Write Good

B0J5cVZCAAAoA6m

 

I found this picture while scrolling through Twitter. I found it to be amusing, so I figured I would share it with all of you.

In other news, I am currently preparing for my sister’s wedding tomorrow. I have the rehearsal dinner tonight, the actual wedding tomorrow, and then Sunday… I will most likely be sleeping all day.

I will not be posting again until Monday.

What about Short Story Sunday? I didn’t write one. I didn’t have the time to this week… or last week for that matter. Sorry about that, guys. I’ll get back into that habit next week.

Until then… have a good weekend everyone!

Updates

I think it’s about time I’ve gotten myself into a routine, don’t you think? I haven’t been about to blog in a while. I haven’t even had a chance to really write anything in a while. Between school and work, life has been pretty hectic. So here are a few updates about my life. I think if I write them down it’ll help me sort everything out so I can get myself back on track.

Work:
While it’s nice that I’m just a teacher’s aide, it still saps up a lot of time and energy. I only have to be at work when the kids are there (which means I only work from 8 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon). I don’t have to do any prepping outside of work and I’m not obligated to go to any staff meetings (I still go, but it’s nice to have the choice). Once 2:30 hits, I’m done. But… I’m in the second lowest class. My kids are still learning how to talk (yes, they’re three- and four-years-old). It takes up a lot of energy and by the time I get home, I’m exhausted. I don’t want to write, I don’t want to do homework, I just want to watch mindless TV or sleep.

School:
I think I could discuss this forever. I think the topic of my school should be its own blog post, but I’ll spare you the boring details. I’m taking five online classes all of which give me a lot of homework. Well… it’s actually not bad and the assignments are “easy”, but a good amount of the them are very time consuming. I have to sit down and split my assignments into five days so I can finish my homework by Friday (even though they’re all due Sunday) so I can have the weekend to myself and also not feel like the homework is never-ending. My psych class virtually gives me no work, which is kind of nice. My Authors class (Tolkien and Rowling) gives me a ton. Most of it is reading, but if you’ve ever read The Lord of the Rings, you know how heavy that book is. Add Harry Potter and other online reading to that plus written assignments and you’ve got a pretty good idea of all the work I have to do for that class. My Place class is a normal amount of work, but I have no motivation to do it. My Spanish class is a decent amount of work. However it’s an accelerated class. So that ends the beginning of November instead of the middle of December like my other classes. This week is Week Five out of 14 and I was bummed. Then I realized for Spanish, I’m already halfway done because that class is only ten weeks long. So school should calm down in a little bit at least. I got a new professor for my Fiction class because my other professor had surgery. The professor is the guy who I had last semester for my Creative Writing class. He’s great, so I’m happy with the change. My homework level might dwindle down with him being in charge, which is a plus.

Sunday School:
Sunday school started up again with me as the director of the program and also one of the teachers. We’ve had two classes so far and I still need to write my lesson plans. So, that’s how that’s going. I’ve been more focused on my homework, so I haven’t really had time to work on Sunday school, but it’s definitely on my to-do list.

Babysitting:
I’m babysitting twice a week immediately after work. Two hours on Monday and three and a half hours on Thursday. Thursday I’m basically in the car the entire time, so that’s wonderful. I try to bring some homework with me to do while the kids do their own homework, but I don’t really get that much done. Then I go home around dinner time and crash.

Blogging:
I’ve started putting together a schedule for myself to make sure I keep up with this blog. I was doing pretty well until school and work started… I have a few ideas and changes for Spilled Ink, but that won’t be coming until 2015. Until then, here’s to trying to post a few times a week!

Writing:
Remember I had that schedule for myself? It was for editing Detective Florence, the first novel and the second one? Then outline the third one and write that for November’s NaNoWriMo? Well, let’s just say I haven’t gotten very far with that at all due to homework. I tried waking up early to write/edit for an hour each day, but I became too exhausted to keep that up. So I need to figure something else out. I’ve slowly been trying to figure out a schedule for myself, so there will be more on that later. (In other words… stay tuned for tomorrow’s post.)

So there you have it. This has been my life lately and I didn’t even include the fact that my house looks like it exploded because we’re painting four rooms and also the last minute things I have to do for my sister’s wedding, which is about three weeks away. Fun stuff going on over here! So, I’m in the middle of trying to figure out a new routine for myself; especially since October is creeping fast and I need to figure out what I’m doing for NaNoWriMo. This will be interesting.

Tipping Over

Balance

Life is hard. Can I just throw that out there? Of course, no one told me life was going to be easy and I never expected it to be… I mean, why would I?

It’s not that life in general is hard, it’s all the little bits and pieces that go with it. You just need to work your way through each one, but the trick is that you need to deal with it all at the same time. I can’t say, “I’ll go to work this week and then stay home and write the following week. After that I think I’ll go on vacation!” Sadly, life does not work like that.

So how does life work? I certainly don’t know and I’m pretty sure no one else really understands it, either. What I do know is that I need to have some sort of balance between everything that goes on in my life. That’s one piece of the puzzle solved, but how do I find that balance and implement it? Let me know when you figure it out because every time I find my balance–even if it’s just for a short while–life throws another lemon at me giving me a black eye.

For the past few days I’ve been writing “to do” lists for myself. So far it’s been working, but probably only for a little while. I’ve done this before and soon enough I get out of the routine whether I get sick, something unexpected happens, or I just get lazy.

We all know Kris and I have conversations about life and the future every so often, but with both of us getting older those conversations have been happening more frequently. We’re in no rush to leave our parents, but we want to move out for the experience. We don’t have the money to do it. Plus, I’m still in school so I have a lot less money than my sister does.

I’m going to be 21 in about a month. My friend who is three months younger than me got married and moved across the country. My other friend who is a year older than me (and also the sister of the other one) is pregnant. I feel as though I’m “behind schedule” even though I’m really not. I should be focusing on work and school and that’s what I prefer to work towards. Yet, it’s hard to work towards something when everything else is about money.

I want to be a writer and I’ve written many things, yet none of them pay as they’ve never been published. This is okay, but I’m wondering about when September hits. I will be taking five courses, one is accelerated (which will be kind of nice in a way because then the last month of the semester I’ll only have to worry about four courses), but one of the courses is going to make it feel as though I’m taking seven courses–not five. This course, by the way, is Selected Authors: Tolkien & Rowling; the class I’m super excited for. I don’t think I’m going to be so excited for the homework, though. Not to mention homework from four other classes, one being accelerated.

should also be working full-time. I say “should” because I don’t know if I officially have the job, yet. If not, I’ll still be a substitute which won’t be so bad with all the school work. Money-wise, it won’t be so good, but I have to take what I can get.

Then there’s babysitting on the side and…oh, yeah writing.

Camp NaNoWriMo is drawing to a close and I am at 41k words or something around there. I’m also done and I will win. I was actually hoping to be done by today, but I started reading Harry Potter to get a head start on my class in the Fall and I got so into the series that I’ve just been reading nearly non-stop.

(To throw a lame excuse as to why I haven’t been blogging a lot is because of Harry Potter, trying to win Camp NaNo, and also homework…but the school semester ends tomorrow, yay!)

So with that in mind I have about six days left. I plan on going overboard (but let’s get real–I probably won’t) and come August I hope to edit the first book (I’m writing the sequel now). I edited the first draft in June, but obviously still needs a bit of work.

Good luck in the last few days of Camp, people! I can’t believe the end is near…but at the same time, I feel as though the month of July dragged on. Maybe that’s just me. 😉

All About Sacrifice

Ten Minutes Here, Half Hour There…

 

Novel In Progress

 

 

Let me start off by saying: I wish I had that doorknob hangy-thingy like in the picture above.

*Ahem* It’s day two of NaNoWriMo. We are no where near the end, yet the 30th will be here before we know it. And because of that, we need to find all the time we can to write. You can’t say, “Oh, it’s only day two. I can write double tomorrow,” or “It’s only day two, I still have 28 days to get it done.” No. it doesn’t work that way. If you procrastinate today, then it’s inevitable that you’ll procrastinate tomorrow.

Being a writer is so much more than just writing. It’s all about sacrifice. Sacrifice time, sacrifice social life, sacrifice your sanity.

Let’s talk about time because that’s been my biggest issue lately. I was happy that NaNo started on a Friday. I work eight hours a day so my only real time to write is in the mornings. Because when I get home from work I need to do homework and I’m exhausted. But it’s also hard to find time in the morning. If I don’t wake up really early, then I can’t get as much writing in as I want to because I get my two cousins ready for school in the morning. Now they’re both old enough, 9 and 11, so it’s not like I need to get them dressed or anything. But I do have to remind them every once in a while. If I don’t shut off the TV when I tell them to start getting ready for school, then a half hour later they will still be sitting in front of that TV.

But since it was a Friday, I only had to worry about that one day. I didn’t get as much written as I wanted to, but I was over the word count goal with 1,717 words. It was a good start. Then Saturday, today, I could write all day. And Sunday I can write all day after church. It’s a good start to NaNo.

I try to write for at least one hour every single day. I was really good at doing that in the summer, but when school and work started I stopped. And I really shouldn’t have. I’m hoping NaNo gets me back into the routine and I carry on with it through November and beyond. But it’s tough to find time when there is no time. The thing is, there is always time.

I like to write for at least an hour. I can bang out about 2,000 words in an hour (depending on my caffeine intake and how early/late it is in the day) and to me that’s a job well done. If I sit down and write for ten minutes, well…what good does that do?

It actually does a lot of good. I finally understand the meaning, “slow and steady wins the race.” Even though it’s not as much as you would like, you’re still writing. You are still getting something written down on the paper and that’s ten less minutes that you need to get done the next time you write for a decent length of time.

The reason I’m talking about this is because I thought this weekend was going to be a breeze. I probably could have made it to 50,000 words this weekend if I could. But plans got changed. And because of that, I’m finding it hard to find time to write.

These guys were supposed to come in the middle of the November to add insulation to the upstairs and basement to our house. Now the upstairs is my and Kris’s bedroom and our office/video game room. The only two places in the house we can hang out, write, have some privacy. Well, these guys had a cancellation so they came Thursday and Friday (Halloween and the first day of NaNo). Where are we going to write? When are we going to write if the guys are in the house and we need to babysit the dog and the cat so they don’t bother the men working?

The basement and the entire upstairs looks like an episode from “Hoarders.” Kris and I have been sleeping in the living room for the past two nights because we can’t get to our beds. By the way, this was supposed to be a two-day job and they’re still not finished. And they can’t come back until Wednesday. Yipee…

Kris and I planned to write every single Sunday in November together. Go to church, go to Starbucks, come home and write until we have to go to bed. We can’t do that tomorrow because we don’t have any place to go. Not to mention that we need to try to clean up the place a little bit.

This is what I mean about finding time. I thought I had all the time in the world and today I have to work on cleaning the rooms a bit and go to my friend’s birthday party later tonight. Tomorrow, I have church, continue cleaning the rooms, then I have to babysit from 6-midnight. It’s tough, but guess what? I did it. I made the goal yesterday and I made the goal today. I will make the goal tomorrow, too…I am determined to!

So ten minutes or a few hours, it makes no difference. As long as you’re writing, you’re getting something done.

Then you need to sacrifice your social life, too. My boyfriend and I haven’t had a chance to see each other a lot lately due to work, school, and other things going on in our lives. We used to see each other practically every single day, too. But even though we don’t see each other as often as we would like, I told him that I’m not seeing him every Sunday during November. I need to write. He understands as this is something I love, something I want to do. I have to do what I have to do in order to make my dreams come true. I’m very fortunate to have someone so understanding and supportive. So on Sundays my only form of human interaction will be with my sister…and the workers at Starbucks.

I can’t come up with any examples of sacrificing your sanity…I don’t think I had any sanity to begin with.

But that’s what writing is all about. Sacrificing everything here and there to do something you love. Something you want to do. It is difficult to find time; especially when you already made plans to write straight through the entire day.

This is why I think NaNo exists. It’s not about whether you can write an entire novel in 30 days. It’s whether you can take on the pressure, the anxiety, the frustration, the sacrifices, and the ups and downs of being a writer. It’s a much deeper test than we all make it out to be. So the question is: Can you handle it?

 

Today’s Word Count: 1,963
Total Word Count: 3,680

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.

Story Of My Life

100% Me…

Just Write

 

This quote is the story of my life. Seriously. I have detected a pattern in my blog posts recently. Whenever I talk about writing, I’m usually complaining that I haven’t gotten anything done lately. Granted, there are a few posts where I’m excited that I actually got something done.

But when I found this card on Pinterest I had to pin it because I thought it was hysterical. It truly has my name written all over it.

It’s so much easier to talk about writing than actually doing it. I think it’s because it’s easier to dream than rather do. I always tell Kris that I wish I had a magic wand to wave so my novels would just write and edit themselves. Oh, and it would nice if they could find a publisher, as well.

I started a new novel called Union Academy. I’m also trying to edit Hunter at the same time. I have a couple of other novels I could be editing and I also have a couple other novels that I have started. Why I chose to do these two, I have no idea. They just happened to be what I was in the mood for.

But I decided that I need to stop talking about writing and actually do it. Then I can talk about it.

Future Thoughts

Playing It Over And Over In My Mind…

This goes along with the obnoxious post that I posted here yesterday.

I mentioned that Kris and I tend to talk about our future a lot. I have no idea what gets us thinking about it, but I guess it’s just the feeling of “wondering.” I haven’t really talked to her in a little while about it, but I have been thinking about it myself lately. I also said that yesterday I was talking to my cat, Hunter about it. He meowed back at me…if only I knew what he was saying.

I said that I had always had a plan. I wanted to be a teacher. Then I wanted to be a writer and a teacher. Well, I still have those plans. I’m working towards those goals. I went to school for teaching and I am a teacher’s assistant at a preschool. I just mailed my lead teacher application the other day. I will be going to school for English starting this Fall and I also have a few novels I have written and completed. I just need to seriously edit them.

But then I really got to thinking and even though I practically wanted to be a teacher my whole life, the other major thing I’ve always wanted to be was a mom.

I babysit my cousins a lot and I babysit for another family a lot. I need mom hours at work and I can’t get them now. But when I’m a director of a preschool and a writer at the same time, how am I going to find time to spend with my kids?

Yes, I know. I turn 20 in about a month, so why am I thinking about what I’m going to do with my kids now? But I feel as though I need a plan.

The other day I was home alone. I woke up early, made a cup of coffee, and sat down at my desk to write. I had my turtle, Raph out of her tank. She was getting into all sorts of messes which distracted me from writing (she likes to go into small nooks and crannies, but we’re in the basement…you have no idea how many spiders are in those small nooks and crannies!).

Raph

I also have my cat, Hunter down there to babysit her. He likes to watch her and lately when he starts going somewhere she isn’t supposed to (for example, the laundry room) he begins to meow and howl obnoxiously loud until he has my undivided attention. The best part is that I don’t have to pay him.

Hunter

Then there’s my pip-squeak of a dog, Chip. Sometimes she sits on my lap while I write and other times she sits on the stairs and barks. God only knows why.

Chip

So I was thinking to myself that I would absolutely love to have that every day. Wake up early, get the kids off to school, get the husband off to work, then it’s just me, the animals (fish is going to get thrown into the mix soon), and my writing. Of course, I guess I would occasionally clean the house, too.

But when I thought of this ideal lifestyle, I realized that no where in there involves teaching. I want to own a preschool. How can I stay home all day writing with my pets while my kids are at school then hang out with my kids, do homework with them, and cook dinner when I’m running my own preschool? This is problematic.

Then I thought maybe I could hold off the directing until my kids are a little older and I can just teach in the mean time. Then again, I only turn 20 next month…when am I having kids? Not for a while, I know that much. So why am I thinking about this so much? I have no idea.

All I know is that there are so many things I want to be doing and there is just not enough time. Writing is the number one priority and I want to have kids and I want to teach. How am I supposed to fit everything together to work perfectly like puzzles pieces meant for the same picture? And I know that there are going to be so many other things that I’m going to want to do, as well. It really sucks not knowing what’s going to happen in the future. I wish I could plan everything out, but I can’t.

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?