One of the disadvantages of buying books that Herminia mentioned was the cost of books. Sure, $10 doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you add up your entire bookshelf?
I was going to look at the prices on all the books I own. Some may have been discounted, some may have been gifts, some might not even have the prices on them. Yet, I was curious to see how much money it was.
I didn’t do it because I have too many books and didn’t feel like spending the time to go through them all like that. Surprise, surprise.
So, for 2016, Herminia and I decided to keep track of how much money we spend on books.
When we buy a book we’ll jot down the price we paid written on the receipt. Not the actual price, because we might get a discount and/or pay tax. We want to write the exact amount we paid for.
I might post updates on my blog, I haven’t decided yet. I do know that December of next year I will write a post of the total amount of money I spent on books for the year.
Herminia and Kris said they’ll do this with me, though I don’t know if they’ll post updates on their blog about it at all.
If you’re a book lover and find yourself at the bookstore way too often, feel free to join us. I’m sure it’ll be an interesting experiment to see how much money one person can spend on books.
Why do you want to be a writer? Is it because you love creating stories to tell and sharing them with the world? Is it because you want to be rich and famous after you’re on the best-sellers list?
Whatever the reason, being a writer is not an easy job. You don’t write a bunch of words, send it to a publisher, they publish it on the spot, it sells, and you get a ton of money.
I’ve always been torn between being a teacher or being a writer or possibly trying to do both. I can’t express how many times people have said, “Be a writer. They make more money.” Unfortunately, that is not the case. If writing were that easy and made a ton of money, every person in the world would be an author and we’d all drown in books… now wouldn’t that be nice?
Writing does not equal money. It doesn’t matter how many books you sell; unless you’re on the best-selling list or you write the next Harry Potter series, you may have to look for a day job and write on the side.
Writing is not about the money. It’s about sharing stories whether they’re fiction or nonfiction. Writing is a way for people to escape reality, get creative, and exercise their imagination.
You need to love writing. You need have to a passion for it.
I am thankful for my school. As much as I complain, I would not be where l am today without it. I am well-educated and have learned a lot over the years. School has opened my mind to many new things and because of that l want to learn more.
I am thankful my job, the people l work with, and my students. I work with wonderful people who are inspiring to me with all the care and knowledge they bring to the special education world. I love each and every one of my students. Despite their disabilities, they still smile every single day and strive to be independant and do the best they can. I always look forward to going to work and am truly lucky to be one of the few people in this world who actually love their job.
I am thankful for all the past jobs l’ve had. I have met so many people over the years, some good and some bad. However, that taught me the right things to say and do and also that some people are here to stay and some aren’t, but everyone comes into your life for a reason.
I am thankful for the “little things” that l have a warm bed to sleep in at night, food to fill my belly, and a house to keep me protected.
I am thankful for the money l have. I struggle sometimes, but l have the knowledge and control to spend money only on what l need and not what l want. Because of that, l am debt-free and able to pay for school out of my own pocket.
I am thankful for time. There are simply not enough hours in the day, but l am grateful for what l can get done each day. It teaches me how to be productive and organized.
I am thankful for the Internet. Without it l would not write as much as l do. I would not be able to blog, do research, or even my school work.
I am thankful for WordPress, this blog, and all my WordPress friends (you know who you are). I have met so many wonderful people through my blog. Everyone has taught me lot (especially about writing). I love you all for your care and support through my blog and aspiring writing career.
I am thankful for my writing. It means l am creative and have an active imagination. Plus, it’s a lot of fun and what l live for.
I am thankful for my anxiety. Without that l would not have found courage and strength in myself. I would not have learned to face my fears.
I am thankful for my church. They’re like my mini family. I am happy to teach sunday school at a great church with a lot of eager students.
I am thankful for my pets Chip the dog, Hunter the cat, Raph the turtle, and Nano the fish. I am lucky to have a great home with a lot of space to give these animals a loving family and long, healthy, happy lives. If l could get more, l would. I plan to someday.
I am thankful for my friends, past and present. People who l am no longer friends with have come and gone for their own reasons. They reminded me that if l don’t have anything nice to say l shouldn’t say anything at all. However, as much as you dislike someone, you should always be polite and pleseant to them. You never know what else they may be going through. My present friends teach me something new every day. They love me for who l am. They support me in everything l do, no matter how silly it sounds. I am lucky to have friends that l can call “family.”
I am thankful for my extended family. All my aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins on both my mom’s side and my dad’s side of the family. I may not see them often, but they’re always there for us and are just a phone call away. I am lucky they are all in-state.
I am thankful for my immidiate family. My mom and dad, who l would be lost without. They have taught me how to be me and become a responsible adult. They taught me everything about life. My sister Kris who has always been there for me and supported me in everything l do. She listens to my writing ideas and plays video games upon video games with me. My sister Lisa who introduced me to the wonderful job l have now, always listens to my problems, and also introduced me to the “classics” such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Alfred Hitchcock, and my favorite Jerry Lewis. She’s always there to sit and watch a good movie with me. My new brother-in-law Nick, who has made his way into my family comfortably and fits right in. He’s interested in just about everything l’m interested in and really cares for Lisa and the rest of the family as his own.
I am thankful for me. All my strengths and weaknesses, my looks and personality, and all the ups and downs of my life. All that makes me who l am.
Today take a moment and think about what you’re thankful for and share it with the world. We all really are lucky for what we have. It’s time we recognize it.
The other day I was complaining about school to my co-workers. Not really “complaining,” but just saying how I would really like to be done soon. I feel as though this current semester has been dragging on since the beginning of time. Then I still have one semester left for my bachelor’s degree. Then I’m still not done and I get to start my Master’s. If everything goes according to plan, I should be officially done with school when I’m 23- or 24-years-old. Not bad, right?
So when I said this, one of the teachers in my classroom laughed and said, “Why, so you can work all the time?”
She was kidding, but she did have a point. Then again, I would rather work full time and save my money rather than work full time and have all my money go down the drain to school… with homework to do to top it off.
When I finish school that means I will have more time to write. I love my job, but just like any other normal person I don’t wish to stay there forever. I love teaching and being with the kids just as much as I love writing, but if I had to choose between the two… I would hands-down pick writing.
I want to write all the time. I want to wake up in the morning, make a cup of coffee, sit at my desk and write. I want to be able to write a couple thousand words or a few good pages, outline and make notes of a new idea, or edit an old one. Then I can go out with friends feeling accomplished and do it all over again the next day. I would certainly be living my definition of a dream.
I don’t want to have to worry about being at work at a certain time. I don’t want to have to worry about getting my homework in on time. The only deadlines I want to worry about are what my agent/publisher tells me. I want my only concern to be “should I kill off this character?”
Of course, when I finish school I’ll still have to work. Writing to pay the bills will not happen overnight, but I hope that it will eventually happen someday. I want to have the ability and the option to write all day, every day.
Whenever this happens, I won’t get the luxury of retiring like everyone else. However, by being able to sit home all day and do what I love it’ll be like I retired at a young age.
Even when I’m old and gray, I’m sure I’ll still be writing.
This semester I’m taking a psychology course called “Learning and Behavior.” It’s all about how we learn, how we behave, why we behave the way we do, etc. It discusses ways to reinforce positive behavior and ways to get rid of negative behavior. My professor wants us to focus on our own behavior, but the textbook focuses on children in a classroom setting; which is fine with me because I’m able to use what I learn from the textbook and use it at work.
But I’m supposed to be focusing on myself. We have a behavior reinforcement project to do. In other words, I have to put myself on a behavior plan.
The first assignment was to come up with a behavior I wanted to increase or decrease. I had to admit, this was a tough decision. I have myself on a pretty tight schedule when it comes to balancing work and school. Then I realized… it’s pretty difficult for me to fit writing into that schedule because I work full time and always seem to have so much homework. So I thought, why not? I decided to put myself on a behavior plan that will get me to write more.
Of course I always want to write, but there are things that take bigger priority. My homework has a deadline, I have to be at work at a certain time each day, my writing… well, it has no deadline as I have nothing being published and I don’t have a certain time to write every day. I tried doing that and I didn’t get very far with it. The main problem is that I don’t write when I don’t have time and I still don’t write when I do have time because I’m usually exhausted from work and school.
After I decided on this topic and submitted it to my professor I thought, how am I going to do this? This isn’t an ordinary project where I sit down at my computer and type an essay or do research on Google. No, this is something I will be working on every day without even realizing it.
Yesterday, Kris and I were discussing NaNo and rewards. During July’s Camp NaNo session, Kris and I bought Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U. We didn’t open it and left it leaning it against the TV. We were only allowed to open and play the game if both of us hit our word goals–50,000 for me and 25,000 for Kris. Due to the game staring us down, we both won and spent many hours playing the game when the month was over.
We decided to do something similar like that this year and reward ourselves for winning.
I told Kris that I was going to give myself a dollar for every 1,000 words I write. In other words, when I hit 50,000 I’ll have 50 dollars. If I only get to 34,659 I’ll have 35 dollars (remember: always round up!). Then I can use that money for whatever I want at the end of the month… it will most likely be for a new video game.
This idea has been in my head for a bit and I just realized about an hour ago that this is my project. My reinforcement for writing will be money. So I guess that solves that problem. I bet my professor is going to just love my project! The thing is I wouldn’t need a reinforcement system for my writing if it weren’t for homework tying me down all the time. Ironic, huh?
Is anyone else giving themselves any kind of reward; whether it’s a daily word count reward or an overall reward for winning?
School has officially ended for the semester and one thing we learned has been sticking with me, so I thought I would talk about it. So this won’t be like my usual posts, but I hope you’ll stick around to read it, anyway.
In one of my classes this past semester we read a short story called Sur by Ursula K. Le Guin. I won’t describe it too much in case any of you would like to look it up, but it’s about a group of women travelling to Antarctica and keeping it a secret. One of my classmates posted on the discussion board asking about the “achievement” in the story. A few of my classmates were debating on whether or not the expedition to Antarctica could exactly be called an achievement. This is simply because the women in the story kept it a secret. They didn’t share their achievement; therefore no one knows about the achievement. How can you do something as great as travel to Antarctica and never share the news?
I commented on the thread stating that achievement is measured by your own personal goal and your perspective on it. For example, I believe travelling to Antarctica is a huge achievement; especially since it was their first time doing so. Just because the group of females did not share their journey with their friends, family, and the press, it doesn’t mean they weren’t successful. To put it simply, they wanted to travel to Antarctica and they did. Wouldn’t you call that an achievement?
I associate the word “achievement” with “success” because they’re both about reaching a goal. According to Dictionary.com, this is one definition of success: “the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.” I can only half agree with this. The reason I agree with it is because of the “position” part. I used to want to be the director of the preschool I worked for. If I had worked my way up to that position then I would have felt successful because it was something I wanted to do and I would have worked hard to get there.
The reason I disagree with that definition is because of the “wealth” part. Money does not buy happiness even though our paychecks always make us smile. However, once the bills start rolling in, our smile fades and we’re back to square one. If your goal was to make it to the top of your career with a nice pay raise, then I could call that successful if that was something you really wanted. If it was a job you truly enjoyed and you weren’t doing it just to get rich off of it; even though the money would be a plus.
Another reason I disagree with it is putting the story into perspective. Sur is a work of fiction, yes, but no where in the story did the group of women attain wealth, position, or any honors. They kept their goal a secret from the world. They deemed themselves successful because they had achieved something they wanted to do.
Another definition of success by Dictionary.com is: “the accomplishment of one’s goals.” I have to say that I like this definition a whole lot better. However, what exactly is a “goal?” Again, it depends on your own perspective and what you want. My big goal is to become a full-time writer. Yet, there are many little goals along the way.
When I write my standard 2,000 words in one day, I consider that an accomplishment for that one day. When I finish a novel, I consider that to be an achievement. I’ve never completely finished editing a novel enough to throw it at a publisher, but I’m sure when I do that will be successful in itself and I’m sure I will be very happy with it. When I get a novel published for the first time, I will be successful. Will I be a full-time writer after publishing that one novel? No, probably not. However, I will write more and the more I write the better I will become. I will come up with more ideas and become more creative. Eventually I’ll come up with a novel good enough to allow me to stay home all day and do what I love and do best: write.
It won’t matter what position I’m in if I still have a day job and it won’t matter how much money I’ll be bringing in. My goal is to share inspirational characters, interactive plots, and open up a brand new creative world for all my readers to love and enjoy.
It’s another one of those posts again…yes, we’re going to discuss “the future” today. Aren’t we excited?
My sister Lisa has a friend who is currently saving up money with her sister to move out of the house. Since she, Kris, and I are all planning Lisa’s bridal shower together and such we’ve had a lot of time to hang out more than usual which is nice. She was telling Kris and I her plans and it got Kris and I thinking…again.
We both love to write. And we do write. But we don’t “write.” I realize I’m not making any sense, but it’s Camp NaNoWriMo right now, people. I was doing so well and then I just stopped. Why? I don’t know…bridal shower and bachelorette planning, homework, work, babysitting, preparing my bedroom to be painted, etc. There is so much to do and not enough time. And unfortunately, with my bills from the upcoming wedding and I’m going to Disney again in August in addition to school bills and such, I need to save every scrap of money I can get. Hence why I’ve been working and babysitting so much.
Writing doesn’t fit in right now. It’s not a priority because it doesn’t pay the bills. It makes me angry because I love to write and want to do it all the time for the rest of my life, but I don’t want to become a full-time writer just so I can go to Disney…I want it as a career because I know I will be happy doing that for the rest of my life.
Thus, Kris and I are bummed; especially Kris because she basically works about nine hours a day in which case your entire day is gone by that point. But by coincidence, the Easter Bunny got Kris a subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine and gave her an issue to get her started.
This issue had a list of 101 best websites for writers. We’re talking about websites to get the creative juices flowing, writing advice, agents and publishing, general resources, jobs, online writing communities, genre-specified sites, and writing sites that are just fun. It’s the best thing we’ve ever come across. Kris and I were discussing freelance writing on the side until we were able to publish something and this list of website gives us links to find writing jobs.
Neither one of us have looked at all the websites thoroughly, so we haven’t decided which are too fantastic to not join and such. Plus, there’s a lot to choose from and honestly a bit overwhelming because you just don’t know where to start.
As I go through these websites, I will be sharing my favorites on here for all of you writerly people to enjoy.
Since Kris and I have been behind on NaNo and decided to finally step it up into our writing careers, we’re skipping church tomorrow to go to Barnes & Noble and write all day long. So I’m hoping to write at least 10k tomorrow.
I decided to write all day today as well since I was home and wrote 10,369 words. I have to say that I feel so good right now after doing that. My NaNo count is up to 30,721 now. Still behind, but hopefully if I get a good chunk done tomorrow I will be able to hit 50k by the end of the month.
Before I go, I have to shamelessly advertise: Kris started a new blog. She’s still maintaining her Sugar Wolf blog about writing, but she created a new blog called Wagging Tales. She works with dogs so this blog is dedicated to stories and her experiences with the furry, loveable creatures. So feel free to go check it out!
I hope everyone is having good luck with their writing and NaNo (if you’re participating). Talk to you soon! 🙂
It’s a new year with new beginnings, goals and wonder.
I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Year’s Eve and day. Last night I celebrated with my parents (Kris had to do the overnight at her work). We watched Rise of the Guardians, as neither of my parents have seen it. Then we watched Iron Man 3 because that movie is just awesome. It was a good night.
As stated in my last post, my resolution for 2014 is to read and write more. I also want to finish what l start. So today l came up with some sort of a schedule for myself. I’m going to give myself the goal to write 5,000 words a day Monday-Friday and the goal to write at least 1,000 words on Saturday and Sunday. But l’m going to spend the majority of the weekends trying to edit the few novels that are already completed, that’s why the word count is lower.
Obviously l can change these goals if it’s too much or l don’t have enough time, but whereas l’m currently jobless right now, l know l’ll have plenty of time to get a lot of writing done. I’m going to drop a class this semester for money reasons (because l don’t have a job) which will free up some more time.
Job-wise, l decided l’m going to substitute for a bit so l can work on my writing. Write, edit, do contests, submit to magazines, etc. Well, l’m going to try. Subbing pays less than what l got at my old job and it’s not nearly as a steady paycheck than my old job, but l’m going to try it out for a few weeks and then if l really need the money then l’m going to get another job.
So, today is Wednesday which means that l had to write 5,000 words. I wrote 5,013 words for Detective Florence. So that novel is currently at 76,102 words. Slow and steady. I also have a mini planner for 2014 so l’m going to keep a daily and monthly track of how many words l write and which novels l worked on and such. I hope l stick with it because then that’s going to be cool to see by the end of the year.
Again, my other resolution for 2014 is to read more. So l am off to go do that. You can check out my GoodReads page to be updated on what l’m currently reading and such. The link to my profile page is on the Come Find Me page of this blog.
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?”
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.”
Picture: This was the look on my face as I was writing today. Yep.
Needless to say I did not write too much today. I wrote a little at school and then I wrote a tiny bit when I got home, but my grand total for the day is 1,138 words. It’s not even enough for one whole day because we’re supposed to be writing 1,667 words a day. However, I’m not too concerned because my total for the whole story is 14,557 words.
Why was I making this face? Well, I realized that I was getting to drawn into the characters for Saving Each Other. Let me tell you a little bit about them:
Sierra: A petite 18-year-old who has no money, has no job, has no place to stay, and has no parents. Her grandfather, who lives very far away, sends her money so that she can put herself through college. She is currently an undecided major and she gets bullied a lot mainly because one of her eyes is blue and the other is a milky white. No, she is not blind although people tend to assume that. Don’t let her fool you; you mess with her in any way, she will kick you to the curb and never look back.
Blake: A bum 20-year-old who lives in a small apartment with his girlfriend, Jenna. Jenna goes to school in the early morning as well as online for an accounting degree. She works at a bank in the afternoon. What does Blake do all day? He watches TV and eats. However, Jenna has had enough of his laziness and forced him to get a job. She can no longer pay for the bills and rent on her one lousy paycheck. Blake is now working part-time at a preschool with no education and experience to back him up. However, his inner child allows him to get along great with the kids.
Luke: An independent 23-year-old who has no idea where he is going in life. He has a master’s degree in business, yet he is working at a preschool. He, unfortunately for him, accidentally got Blake that extra shift at the preschool. Luke’s father was a wealthy business man who owned a lot of big companies. Luke worked for him and hoped to be just like him one day. When his father passed away, his will stated that the company should go to Luke’s eldest brother. His brother ran it into the ground, thus Luke was laid-off. Luke dreams of opening his own business, but he had no money due to the mortgage on his house among other bills. Luke knows that the preschool isn’t going to be enough for him to start his own business, but it was the only thing that was available at the time.
Do you see how thought-out those background stories are? I’m 26 pages into the novel and the reader already knows absolutely everything there needs to know about the three main characters. Oh, but I left something out, didn’t I…? Oh, yeah! They all (except Sierra) have some sort of power.
That’s what that face is saying: “How did I forget about that part? It’s the whole point of the story!”
Anyway, I introduced the powers and had Luke and Blake discover that they’re messed up and then I stopped in the middle of it because…I don’t really know why.
And that was all she wrote.
2013: 96,336/365,000 Words Written
2013: 1,749/18,250 Pages Read