October Wrap-Up

October Wrap Up

Reading:

I did not read nearly as much as I thought I would. I did read three out of the five books I meant to read. I read a different book since the author contacted me and one book I didn’t get to read because I was sick the entire first week of the month.

So I’m hoping next month I’ll get to those books because I am looking forward to reading them. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

To see what I’ve read this month, feel free to check out my Reading List. It’s updated except for this Saturday’s review because… well, it’s not Saturday yet and has not been posted.

Writing:

I edited George Florence for my writer’s group and that went well. Now I need to take another look at it and edit the next part.

I did not write one Short Story Sunday a day. I missed a whole week because I was sick so I decided to do it in December instead.

I started an outline for next month’s NaNoWriMo project, but then came up with a different idea. I outlined the first chapter of that one and haven’t touched it since. I’m itching to write it and I know if I “outline” I’ll just tell the story instead of outlining it.

Blogging:

Due to work, babysitting, and other life events, I haven’t been keeping up well with writing certain blog posts in advance. This takes writing time away and with NaNo next month, I don’t want to be spending a huge chunk of my morning trying to write the blog post of that day.

I changed my routine around and I’ll now be focused on working on my blog two days a week instead of one. I’m not sure how I’ll fit that in with NaNo, but I’m sure it’ll work just fine the other months.

I’ve also been brainstorming new ideas and features for my blog starting in 2016. I hope you guys look forward to that.

Overall:

I didn’t hit every goal, but October was a good month.

While I didn’t get much done in the writing department, I’m just going to use the excuse that I need to relax my fingers until NaNo starts.

How was your October?

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October Goals

October 2015 Goals

Reading:

I plan on reading at least five books.

1. My Faire Lady by Laura Wettersten
2. George by Alex Gino
3. Remember Mia by Alexandra Burt
4. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
5. Never Never by Brianna R. Shrum

Of course these books are subject to change depending on what I feel like reading at the current moment.

Writing:

1. Continue editing George Florence for my writers group.
2. Write one short story a day — I’m running out of Short Story Sundays.
3. Outline/start to hand-write To The Fullest for NaNoWriMo — I can’t believe NaNo starts one month from today!
4. Submit to any contests or magazines that I come across.

Blogging:

Keep doing what I’m doing.

If you have any suggestions for topics or writing prompts for me to do for Short Story Sunday or Inspiration Station or any random day, feel free to let me know in the comments or Contact Me. I’m always looking for new ideas and I would love to hear about what you guys want to read about. Thanks!

Happy October, everyone!

September/October Writing Contests

September October Contests

Here is a reminder for contests in September. Below are contests due in October.

Good luck!

September 2015:

Type: Popular Fiction
Hosted by: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: Early bird–September 15, 2015; Final deadline–October 15, 2015
Entry Fee: Early bird–$20; Final deadline–$25

Type: “Family Matters”
Hosted by: Glimmer Train
Deadline: September 30, 2015
Entry Fee: $15

Type: Standard fiction
Hosted by: Glimmer Train
Deadline: September 30, 2015
Entry Fee: $0

Type: Essay
Hosted by: Literal Latte
Deadline: September 30, 2015
Entry Fee: $10

October 2015:

Type: Poetry
Hosted by: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: October 1, 2015
Entry Fee: $15

Type: The Joy of Less
Hosted by: Chicken Soup
Deadline: October 30, 2015
Entry Fee: None

Type: Alzheimer’s and Dementias Family Caregiving
Hosted by: Chicken Soup
Deadline: October 30, 2015
Entry Fee: None

Type: Very Short Fiction
Hosted by: Glimmer Train
Deadline: October 31, 2015
Entry Fee: $15

*Please note that any contests are subject to change their deadlines or fees at any time. Please check their websites often to make sure I’m not giving you the wrong information. Remember, a lot can change in one month. Thank you!*

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.

Writing Schedule

I am happy to announce that I have finally come up with a plan for myself for my writing! Well… at least until the end of 2014.

For the past couple of days I’ve been trying to figure out Detective Florence. There are a lot of things I need to work on for both the first novel and the second, plus I need to write the third. Of course, I think the third novel is going to end up being the ending of the second novel, but for the sake of being more confused than I all ready am, I’m going to write it as though the story is it’s own novel.

As much as I don’t like editing, I figured I need to spend between now and November to edit. November will be used to write the third novel. In other words, I gave myself a deadline of November first.

I all ready edited Detective Florence during the month of June so I could write the sequel for Camp NaNo in July. With that being said, for the rest of August I’m going to type up the edited first draft of Detective Florence. I’m giving myself a whole month to do this because it’s all ready the ninth and in a week I’m going on vacation for a week (I’ll explain more about that on a later date).

For September, I’m going to edit the first draft of Detective Florence 2. Both school and work will start up again so this will be interesting to see.

In October, I’m going to type up the edited first draft of Detective Florence 2 and outline Detective Florence 3. I’m hoping to have the entire outline done as well as have all the questions answered. I also hope the novel (and the whole trilogy) will make enough sense so editing won’t be that bad.

November, of course will be spent writing Detective Florence 3 for NaNoWriMo. I think it’s funny that it’s been almost a year since I started the series.

I came up with the idea for Detective Florence a long time ago and started writing it in a notebook. All the characters were different except for Detective Florence himself, but he had a completely different personality. I can’t remember when I wrote it because I didn’t date it (I’m kicking myself for that one), but there’s about 31 pages written before I stopped. Maybe someday I’ll post a bit of it on here so we can all get a good laugh.

Of course, I may use that case and characters in another Detective Florence novel. Who knows? I have way too many ideas for these characters all ready.

I finally got it in my head again and I wrote it for November 2013’s NaNoWriMo. I’m pretty sure I hit 50k words on day 17, but I didn’t finish the whole novel until the end of December (or early January). Now a year later I’m going to be writing the third book.

Anyway, for this upcoming December, I’m not sure yet, but I might be editing the first Detective Florence again to give myself a break from writing the third one. Then I’ll either rotate editing through the series or I’ll edit one book at a time. It depends on if the outlines for all three novels makes sense and are in order with each other. So, December is up in the air for now, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

For now, I have plenty to do before November first.

It’s Monday

Monster Monday…

Monday

No, today is not “Monster” Monday because Halloween is coming up. No, today is “Monster” Monday because…well, it’s Monday. Anyone in their right mind does not like Monday. Now if a new school week didn’t start on Monday and I didn’t have to go back to work after a nice two-day weekend, then I wouldn’t mind Monday. Poor Monday. Hated by everyone and is only a part of the week because there has to be some day in the week that needs to get us started on productive activities.

So it’s Monday. The last Monday in October. Thursday is Halloween. Who’s dressing up this year? I’m not. I wanted to, but all the costumes or raunchy and way too expensive for my liking. If my car didn’t break down on me then maybe I wouldn’t mind the money part, but I am still paying for my school bill for this semester, so maybe it’s for the best. However, it still makes me a bit sad because Kris and I usually coordinate together. One year she was a cop and I was a SWAT team member. The year before that she was Batman and I was Robin. But between my bank account starving and our conflicting work schedules, we just couldn’t do it this year. Sad day. Good news is, Kris actually got the day off from work on Halloween. This is the first year in…well, a few years.

On a brighter note, NaNoWriMo starts Friday. On a dimmer note, I am no where near ready for it to start.

Not yesterday, but the Sunday before yesterday, Kris and I had a very productive day. We planned our NaNo novels together. Kris is not a planner. I am a planner. Sometimes. I like the idea of planning and sometimes I plan and sometimes I don’t. When I do plan, sometimes it works out in my favor and other times it doesn’t. However, it was a breakthrough for Kris because she never does anything like that. She just writes whatever comes to her mind. Which is fantastic, don’t get me wrong. However, we wanted to write together and neither one of us wanted to start anything new because NaNo was just right around the corner.

So that Saturday night, October 19, we grabbed a novel and picked random sentences out of it. We then each took the same sentence and used it as the first sentence for our prompts. We wrote six prompts altogether before we got too tired and went to bed. The first four prompts we had the goal to write 200-500 words. The last two prompts we bumped up the count to 500-800 words because I kept going over the 500 limit on the other ones and had to keep editing out words. It was a pain. I’ll probably post these prompts on here soon enough. They’re not A+ material, but they’re decent enough. I wrote each prompt in like, 10 or 15 minutes at the seat of my pants, so you have to expect less than an A+.

Saturday night was a great night. Then Sunday we went to church, went to Starbucks (my favorite place on earth), and we turned on Pokemon Ranch on our Wii (for background noise…if anyone knows/has this game you know how pointless is it, yet still amusing to watch and listen to), and we planned our NaNo novels.

Let me give a little background on this: When Kris was at work one day I found a poster board in my house, got out my index cards and sticky notes, and went to town. On the index cards I made a list of characters, plot points, questions that need to be answered by the end of the novel, etc. On the sticky notes, I wrote events that need to happen in the novel. Then I move them around and attempt to put them in order. When Kris got home from work she saw what I was doing and something must have clicked in her head. So, naturally, we turned on the Ace Attorney game on the Wii and played that.

But that Sunday she grabbed her own poster board and we shared my index cards and sticky notes. Neither one of us “finished,” but since she has Halloween off from work, which is the day before NaNo, maybe she and I can dress up as writers and plan some more.

I hate that NaNo starts on a weekday. Kris and I can’t plan until midnight and then begin writing because I have to get up early Friday morning to get my cousins off to school then I have work 10-6. Meanwhile Kris is working 12:30-9:30 on Friday. But she always has Sundays off. So we decided that every Sunday in November, we’re going to go to church, go to Starbucks, then write until it’s time to go to bed. Except for the first Sunday…I agreed to babysit at 6 in the evening about a month ago. I’m stupid…

Anyway, that’s where we stand right now. Last week before NaNo…AAAAAHHHH!!!!

By the way, look me up on NaNo: Fiery_Sapphire

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.

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.

About One More Week

NaNo starts next Thursday. That gives me a little less than one week to finish my outline for Saving Each Other. I know that I started working on this outline around the beginning of October, but I have been busy with a lot of other things. For example, homework. Not to mention that I have a little more homework now because I skipped school this past Wednesday.

Yes, I am sick. Therefore, I have not been working on anything at all. No writing, no homework, no nothing. I haven’t even been able to go hang out with my friends. The only thing I have been doing is playing Pokemon Conquest and I have to say that I am getting very far in the game. Well, I also have been going to work, but that’s only because we’re short-staffed and I hate calling out of work in the first place.

I’m angry because I only have science class on Mondays and this upcoming Monday my science class was cancelled. No school for me! Which is a great thing because I’m sick so I can have an extra day of the weekend to sleep in. Well, I checked my e-mail last night and guess what? Math class is cancelled for today. Fantastic, yes? Not at all…we have to “make it up.” And guess when we have to make it up? Yes, on Monday. -_- So here I am in the library at school waiting around until 10:30 for my science class. I guess for today it’s good because having one class is better than two. But on Monday…one class is definitely not better than none.

Yes, I am at school waiting around for two hours for my class to start that I don’t even want to go to. I’m coughing up all my insides, wheezing, I’m exhausted from lack of sleep, and I’m a bit dizzy. Of course, I can’t miss this class because then this would be my third time skipping this class this semester and that would mean I would have to attend all of November…let’s face it, I am not going to attend all of November whether I’m sick or not. I’m going to go to class early and talk to my teacher about missing Wednesday and I’m really hoping that she’s like, “Oh, Rachel you look awful! You should go home and get some rest.” And then I’m home free. That could happen…right? No, probably not.

Here’s a funny story for you: yesterday I came to school for my Health class. On Thursdays Health is the only class that I have. My professor is very weird and awkward. She’s in her 50s (I think) and all she talks about is her boyfriend. His name is Steve. I shouldn’t know that. Anyway, she can be nice when she wants to be, but if she doesn’t like you, she makes it known. For example, she talks to me just fine and I could actually have a normal conversation with her if I wanted to, but all the other girls at my table…well, we can just say that my professor is very bitter towards them. If they’re talking while she’s talking, she’ll call them out on it. If anyone else in the class is talking while she’s talking, it’s as though she doesn’t notice.

But enough about that, I got to class at 8:45 yesterday when class starts at 9:00. It was just the two of us in the room and I was coughing:
Professor: “Rachel, is that you I hear coughing over there?”
Me: Well, there’s no one else in here, so I guess so… “Yeah, that’s me.”
Professor: “Do you have allergies or are you getting sick?”
Me: “I’m sick.”
Professor: “Oh, that’s too bad.”

And that was the end of that. Now here’s the real kicker; about…maybe five or six times during the course of the class she kept asking me if I was okay. Whether I was coughing or just sitting there paying attention to her talking about absolutely nothing, she would interrupt herself to ask if I was okay:
Professor: “Now what that means is–Rachel, are you okay?”
Me: *Completely confused* “Yeah?”
Professor: “Anyway, what that means…”
And again…
Professor: “If you work–Rachel, are you sure you’re okay?”
Me: Can you just leave me alone? “Yes.”

And then at the end of class she says to me: “You know, you really do look lousy.”

…Thanks. -_-

Anyway, I really hope no one says anything to me today because then I’m not going to be a happy camper. I already feel like crap from being sick. I have to get myself through this school day and then get myself through work…with ten children today. I have an extra one. Yipee…yesterday I was trying to talk to the kids and the more I talked the softer my voice got because I kept coughing so I was losing my voice. Eventually the kids turned around and walked away as if they were like, “We don’t know what you’re saying, so we’re just gonna go now…bye.”

Let’s hope that this is an easy day for me and that I don’t have to do much at all. Except I have to finish that outline and do some homework. Meh.