Sunday Updates

Super Productive Things Going On…

 

Start Writing

 

 

During NaNoWriMo, Kris and I decided that we were going to spend every Sunday not having a life. We’ll go to church in the morning, go to Starbucks immediately after, then go straight home to write until we decide to go to bed. Today is the first Sunday of NaNo; therefore, it was the first day of this plan.

We went to church, went to Starbucks, then came home and goofed off a bit. Great start, huh? Due to everything going on at my house (we’ve had to sleep in the living room for the past three nights because the insulation guys were in our room and are still not done), we needed to clean up the living and make our beds in our bedroom so we could sleep in our own beds tonight. We decided to hold off on that until we wrote for a little while. Then Kris says, “What time are you babysitting tonight?” Well, crap…I forgot I was supposed to babysit tonight. So we had to stop writing earlier than intended so we could get our room straightened out, I could post on here, and then get ready to go babysit. I have leave in about a half hour.

So here’s a quick post to update my progress on NaNo. I wrote 6,950 words in about four and half to five hours today. Yay! Kris and I were both super productive. I’ve also been following my outline, so it’s been easy to write. The words keep flowing out of my fingers (does that make sense?) and I haven’t gotten one bit of writer’s block…yet.

Kris and I are hoping to keep this streak up every Sunday during NaNo. I’m also hoping to keep up with writing 1,667 words a day every day (even though I’m ahead), just to get myself into a good routine. But tomorrow is Monday, which means I’m going to have new homework as well as work. So we’ll see how things go. But at least if I can write for an hour or so in the morning, I should be good.

I also decided that during NaNo, every single Sunday I’m going to post something about the novel I’m writing. Today, I posted the summary. I already posted it before this post, you can read it here. I hope it sounds interesting to all of you. I’ve never been good at writing summaries.

Right now my fingers keep making typos because they’re tired from typing so much. I’m going to give myself carpel tunnel. Yep. I’m a writer.

 

Today’s Word Count: 6,950
Total Word Count: 10,630

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

It’s Thursday

Thriving Thursday AKA Halloween…

 

Pumpkin

 

 

Instead of some awesome quote about Thursday, I decided to be festive and post this pumpkin. Yesterday, my mom and two cousins carved this pumpkin. The hat, added this morning, is from one of my cousins’ costumes. One is being candy corn (thus the hat) and the other is being a ladybug. I’m assuming Jackie is the ladybug (her mother always associated her with ladybugs) and Kat is the candy corn, but I never actually asked them. So I guess I’ll find out tonight.

Today at work the kids are going to “trick-or-treat” in each classroom. We got them Halloween pencils, erasers, spider rings, spider necklaces, pumpkin bubbles, the works. And we’re giving them pizza for lunch. In order words, work is going to be hectic because not only are the kids going to be hyped up with the thought of it being Halloween, but we’re also giving them treats. Good thing we only have seven kids today and not the usual 12…

In other news, I have also deemed today Thriving Thursday. Why? Because when I do get home from work I am going to be NaNo prepping with Kris. I’m going to be at work late, despite it being Halloween, but when I come home (which will probably be between 5:30 and 6:00…) we are going to bust out our ideas! I’ll have to show you all a picture of my poster board tomorrow…I didn’t want to post a picture yet because it’s not finish. And truth be told, it may not get finished. But at least I’m going to try. My novel is a murder mystery so there’s a lot of planning involved.

I never told you guys what I’m going to be writing for NaNo, have I? It’s the first in a series (of course) and it’s called Detective Florence. I’ll post the summary of this novel up here soon, but long story short it’s about a laid off detective who decides to go freelance and open his own private investigator office. However, no cases doesn’t pay the bills. But just when he’s about to close his office doors for good, he gets the biggest case that will make or break his career as a detective. With the help of an annoying assistant, of course.

You may or may not have heard of the Ace Attorney games? The fifth one just came out called Dual Destinies. Before this one, there were games based on Phoenix Wright, Miles Edgeworth, and Apollo Justice. If you’ve heard of them and played them–fantastic! Kris and I are addicted. These games are actually what inspired this novel in the first place. Let’s hope it goes well like in the games.

So that’s that. Teacher by day, writer by night! Kris and I are going to (hopefully) stay up until a decent hour to write. Lately we’ve both been in bed by 9:30…it’s sad.

Happy Halloween, everyone! 🙂

It’s Wednesday

Wonderful Wednesday, AKA: Hump Day…

 

Hump Day

 

 

I’m sure most of you have seen this commercial with the camel calling to Mike asking what day it is. If you haven’t, the go check it out on YouTube because it’s hilarious. It’s a commercial for Geico, but I don’t think anyone actually remembers the true meaning of the commercial. We all just like the camel.

I’m deeming Wednesday as Wonderful Wednesday because I wanted to continue on with my alliteration theme. However, today is most commonly known to people as Hump Day. So I will allow both.

The reason I’m calling Wednesday “Wonderful” is because of the fact that it’s Hump Day. Confused, yet? Once I get through today I only have two more days of work. Today’s an early day at work for me as I only have three kids in the afternoon. I should be home by 4:45-ish, as yesterday I did not get home until closer to 6. But today should be a good day and it should be easy (I probably just jinxed myself).

But when I get home today I have a lot of things that I need to get done. We started this new way of progress reports on the kids. It’s in collaboration with a website and we need to do observations on the kids. We observe the children doing anything that ties into their development — math related, science, social/emotional, physical, etc. — and we need to plug it into the website to see if their at the appropriate level for their age. Well, it’s my turn to plug in the observations this month (the other teacher and I alternate months so we can both get familiar with the set-up as this is brand new to both of us) and more than half of them did not save. Angry, much? Yes, I was. I had plugged in over 70 observations and none of them really went through even though I hit the “save” button. So I have to do that.

I also should work some more on my homework. I don’t have too much more that I have to do, but one of my teachers assigned two essays. One is due in November and the other is due December 2. Should I do them? Should I at least start them? Because I already don’t have any motivation for these classes, when November starts forget it. It’s NaNo. But I only have today to do it.

Tomorrow is Halloween. Kris and I aren’t doing anything special, but she has the day off from work. So when I get out of work (most likely around 5:30), we’re going to finish prepping for NaNo. Maybe do a couple of writing prompts or something. Then come Friday…Friday is the big day!

I’m anxious, nervous, and excited all at the same time! I feel like I’ve never done NaNo before, but I’ve never officially won before. I’ve won Camp NaNo a few times, but never the original November NaNo. I really feel like I can make it work this year, despite the amount of homework, working eight hours a day, and all that fun stuff. I have a plan and I am determined to stick to it.

Look me up on NaNoWriMo: Fiery_Sapphire

It’s Tuesday

Tedious Tuesday…

 

Coffee

 

 

Tuesday ends with the letter “Y.” Enough said.

I’m calling today Tedious Tuesday for a number of reasons: School, work, writing, video games.

Okay, I guess the video games isn’t a very big priority. But Kris and I got the new Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies game and we’ve been dying to play it. Due to our conflicting work schedules (and I have homework), we haven’t been able to play it as often as we want. We need to beat it before NaNoWriMo otherwise…our NaNo novels will most likely suffer.

I need to get all of my homework done because I’m not going to be able to do it starting on Friday. Friday is the beginning of NaNoWriMo and I need this weekend to get ahead in my word count. I’m going to have more homework next week which means less time to write. I have today, tomorrow, and Thursday to finish this week’s homework and maybe attempt to jump ahead into next week’s homework, too. I don’t care if I’m ahead, behind, or right on par: I am determined to write at least 1,667 words a day. I think it would be nice to attempt to get in a good writing groove that will maybe carry on past November.

I work 10-6 Monday-Friday. Not really…I leave work when the last kid leaves (provided everything is set up for the next day, which it always is). This year, the kids have been getting picked up early (yay!) so I’ve been getting out of work between 4:30/5:00. The nice part is that I still get paid until 6. Anyway, Tuesdays and Thursday are late because one kid doesn’t get picked up between 5:00\5:30. Not bad, but still prefer to get out that extra hour earlier.

Next is writing. I have gotten a great chunk of planning done on my NaNo novel, but I would still like to see it finished. I can’t really do that if I’m busy doing homework and all that fun stuff. Again, I have today, tomorrow, and Thursday to finish planning. Granted, I don’t need the entire novel planned out. I at least have the beginning and a good chunk of the middle, but I want to make sure that I don’t get stuck anywhere. We all know how terrible I am at editing later on.

Thus, I deem thee Tedious Tuesday! I have homework for five classes, it’s my late day at work, I would like to get an hour or so of NaNo prep done, and because both Kris and I are going to be home today it would be nice if we could also play our game for a little bit.

It will be around 5:30, but I am seriously debating on whether or not I should go to Starbucks after work.

Quick Update

Updating About Nothing…

It’s been six days since I last updated, which kind of stinks because I was doing so well at updating regularly. However, my life has been a bit hectic lately, so I haven’t had any time. If I told you why I was so busy you wouldn’t believe me, although if you follow me on Twitter then you probably know that someone pushed my “Mom” button and I haven’t yet been able to figure out how to turn it off.

Yes, I have been babysitting all week. I am not going to go into details about it because then this post would take up the entire internet. Let’s just say that I regret getting my driver’s license six months ago.

I have been babysitting left and right this week and working on the new Sunday school curriculum for my church (my sister and I direct the Sunday school together). We have a meeting with the other teachers and our Reverend this afternoon so I have been trying to get everything done for that, as well as before it starts. I’ll have less time to focus on it when everything starts due to work and school. But I thought it was all good because I figured I could get everything I needed to get done this week and last week and such so that next week, my last week of freedom before school, work, and Sunday school start, I could just write until my fingers fell off. So, needless to say, I haven’t written since my last post on this blog. And it’s ironic because that last post was about me being super productive with my writing…

Here’s the catch: Due to financial problems, one of the teachers at my work got laid off. I work in a small private preschool and there’s only five of us: the director, the two teachers, and the two teacher assistants. I was one of the assistants. The other assistant quit last year (she was in the nursing field and graduated, so she went off to go live her life being a nurse) so we were looking to hire someone to replace her. Obviously instead of hiring someone, they let someone go. So now I have more hours and responsibility at work as I am being bumped up to lead teacher status with the other teacher. Which is great for me, but it sucks on how I ended up getting the position…we’re all very depressed that one of the teachers had to be let go.

My point is instead of starting back to work September 3, I start back on Monday. Yeah. 9-2 next week, so at least I’ll have the rest of the afternoon to write and get things done, but I was looking forward to having the whole day, the week in its entirety. But what are you going to do?

So basically I updated this to tell you that I have nothing to update. I was doing so well with my writing, but this week has been…blah. Today I’m babysitting Sam, Jackie, Kat, Cailey, and Juliana (the last two are my neighbors) until about three o’clock. Then I have the Sunday school meeting at four, then I have to babysit Hayden and Lyla (these kids are friends of a child I have at my preschool) at seven tonight probably until midnight. Maybe somewhere in there I can get a little writing in…hopefully. I’ll definitely bring a notebook tonight when babysitting. Hayden and Lyla are young, so they’ll both be in bed by eight.

We’ll just have to wait and see how everything plays out…but I am utterly exhausted.

A Lot To Do Or Just No Time?

Sunday School, Work, School, Write, Etc…

I have been very overwhelmed lately. I don’t know if it’s because I have a lot to do, or if it’s not that much, but I just can’t find the time to get it all done. Lately writing has kind of been on the back burner unless Kris and I go to Barnes and Noble and actually have a set day and time to get some writing done. I feel bad about not finding at least some time during the day to get some writing done.

My other sister, Lisa, and I run the Sunday school at our church together. I’m going to say this bluntly: people don’t like church. I don’t know what it is, but this generation is just not full of “church people.” My parish is very, very small. I like it that way, honestly. People say the more the merrier, but I hate large crowds. There are probably about 20 kids total in the Sunday school. I have the prek-k kids and Lisa has grades 1 & 2. Towards the end of the year, no one was coming so we ended up combining our classes. Each week, between the two of us, we’d have a total of four or five kids. The Sunday school consists of mostly younger kids (my class and Lisa’s class). The other two teachers do grades 3 & 4 and 5 and up. They never had a class because they’re kids would never show up.

To make a long story short, Lisa and I have been planning all summer to re-vamp the Sunday school. We found a new curriculum we think the kids will enjoy more as it’s more interactive with them. We’re thinking of ways to improve the snack and we’re going to add a show-and-tell each. For example, on the day we learn about Noah’s Ark, the kids will bring in a stuffed animal of their favorite animal. We’re hoping they’ll feel as though they have a job to do and will want to come to Sunday school. But this is a lot of work and a lot of planning.

Then there’s work. Work starts up again in about two weeks. I got back September 3 while the kids come back September 5. I’m going to be working 31 hours a week. That may not sound like a lot, but last year I worked 18 hours a week. I wanted more hours as I need to get myself through school. I’ll be babysitting whenever I can, too. I’m not complaining, but it’s going to take a lot of time away from writing.

School. School is going to take a lot of time away from writing. If I’m not working, I’m probably going to be doing homework. All I can say is thank God that I’m doing school online. I think I’d be screwed otherwise.

Then there’s cleaning and organizing. This is not a priority, but it’s still something that needs to get done. Kris and I are turning Lisa’s room into an office. We need to clean that entire room and organize it and all that fun stuff. Right now, my “office” is in the basement. I need to organize and clean everything down here because we’re most likely going to get rid of my desk (I bought a new one) and everything down here is going to go up there. This room is going to look so empty…then there’s my bedroom. Let’s not even discuss that.

I am going to write for an hour every morning. But because I’ll be home in the morning (since my school is online) I get the lovely job of getting my cousins ready for–and possibly driving them to–school. They get ready between 7 and 8. That’s the hour I have been writing for. Now that Jackie is going into middle school, she’s going to have to get ready earlier. They’re going to be at my house at 6:30. What am I going to do? Write from 5:30-6:30? I don’t think I can get up that early…I guess I could shoot for writing for just a half hour. If I have more time, I can always continue. But I like having the one, full, good hour.

But I guess I’m going to have to make due with what I have.

One Too Many Stories

Too Many Free Characters…

Meet Leo!
Meet Leo!

Do you all remember when my flash drive died? I was upset and disappointed. Then I quickly realized it was for the best. I had so many novels started on there that were no where near being finished. Half of them didn’t even make sense and weren’t good at all.

So losing my flash drive made me feel as though I was starting completely over, but that wasn’t a bad thing. I told myself that I was going to work on only one novel at a time. Only when I completed the first draft I’d be able to move on. I need to finish what I start.

I was doing so well, then I realized the other day that I have been falling out of my routine. I have three novels started, four in desperate need to be edited, and more ideas attempting to push themselves out of my head. It’s annoying, actually.

I have been doing pretty good. I haven’t been starting anything new other than what I already have started. I’m in the mood for both Hunter & Comet and Union Academy. So I’m going to try to finish those first while trying to edit Hunter and Diary of a Lover at the same time. I just need to print out Diary of a Lover (and give it to Kris) while Hunter has a long way to go before I can give it to anyone else. As stated in my previous post, I figured out what is wrong with Hunter and I desperately need to fix it. So I’m going to do that and it’s most likely going to take a while.

Speaking of my flash drive dying…I know that conversation was a little while ago, but LOOK! This is my new flash drive. He’s rubber and small and adorable and 8GB! And he was 15 bucks. 😉

Meet Leo's other half!
Meet Leo’s other half!

Lots Of Updates

Good News, Good News, And More Good News…

1. Back in June my oldest sister moved out of the house and in with her boyfriend. Now we have a vacant room upstairs, across the hall from my bedroom. Kris and I share a bedroom. We have shared this room since we were…very, very little. Not our whole lives, but just about. So naturally one of us would say, “I’ll move into Lisa’s room!” Then we would each have our bedroom and our own space. Yeah, no. Neither one of us even thought about having our own bedroom.

Instead we’re going to turn the bedroom into an office/video game sanctuary. Yes, it sounds counter productive, I know. An office is for working and video games are for goofing off, relaxing, and doing nothing. However, we feel as though we’ll figure something out.

My dad has a TV stand for us and Kris and I bought a brand new 39″ TV. It looks awesome! Of course…it’s still in the box. We have to re-do the floor and the walls in the room first. Then we can probably start decorating it. We each bought a desk, we bought a brand new printer (color, wireless, automatic two-sided printing!), Raph is going to move up there with us and we’re getting a new mascot! Yes, I am going to get fish soon. So we’ll have a turtle and three fish in the room with us. Then we’re going to have a couch–our uncle gave us his as he didn’t need it anymore. We wanted to get a mini refrigerator, but dad said no. Sad day.

The room is empty now. I can’t wait to see what it’s going to look like when we’re all done with it! We’re going to start working on the room soon.

2. Lately I have been working on three things. I have been editing Hunter and I have been going back and forth between writing Union Academy and Hunter & Comet. I have no idea which one is going to get finished first. Well, hopefully Hunter will be the one to get finished first…as that is the novel that is the farthest along. But I’ll guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Kris and I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday and I got a lot done. I tried to write Union Academy, but I have the character list on Donny, my iPod. I brought Donny. Donny was dead. Oops. So I couldn’t really write it because that novel had a lot of characters and I can’t keep them straight just yet.

So I ended up editing Hunter. I printed out the first draft, then my flash drive died. So I edited the hard copy and now I’m re-typing it. I can’t complain because as I’m re-typing it I’m finding a lot of mistakes I didn’t catch when I looked at it the first time around. Plus, I’m also adding and taking out things I didn’t before. It’s kind of like editing the second draft already.

I’m on page 50 typing it up on the computer. In the hard copy, I’m on page 41 or 42 or something like that. There’s at least a five-page difference between the two. But since the one on the computer is longer, that means I added a good amount of stuff. The question is, is all that stuff good and relevant to the story? Or did I throw it in there because I wanted to mark up the page a little more? We’ll have to wait and see when I finish typing it and print it out again.

3. I had an epiphany when it came to Hunter. I’m in the middle of typing up chapter three and I have mixed feelings on the plot. I can’t tell if the events in the chapters are just happening out of order, or if the novel is just moving too fast. No, I did not print out the novel and accidentally mix up some chapters. The pages are numbered and so are the chapters. I went to preschool. I teach preschool. So…I would hope I know how to count. Well, at least up to ten, anyway…that’s pretty much as high as we go.

Anyway, as I type up each chapter, I’m going to take index cards and summarize each chapter. One card for chapter one, another card for chapter two, etc. When I have all the chapters summarized and the whole novel re-typed, I’m going to play around with the cards and re-order them. Like a puzzle…this will be great because I suck at puzzles.

I just wonder which would be easier: play around with the cards, print out the second draft and re-order the chapters that way, or play around with the cards re-order the chapters on the computer, then print out the second draft. Although, I guess I can cross that bridge when I get to it. Right now I need to work on writing a gazillion summaries (not really, I think it’s only 18 chapters long…but each chapters is really looong…I don’t know why I did that to myself) and finish typing up the second draft.

4. Did I mention I’m getting fish? 😀

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.

A Dumb Story

Here We Go…

So I realized that I haven’t really talked too much about my writing on here lately. I can’t really say that things haven’t been going well, but I guess they haven’t really been going all that great, either.

Ever since I got stuck with my novel Cybertra back in July for Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ve been kind of stuck on all of my writing. I’ve been trying, but I don’t really know what to do with myself.

I went on vacation for a week in July and that was one whole week that I didn’t write. I played Pokemon instead. So that also slowed me down a bit, too. But I can’t complain because I think I needed a break from writing for a little bit.

But when I came back from vacation I realized that I really needed to get back into the swing of things. I have three young adult novels completed, why aren’t I editing them? I have three other novels started, why aren’t I finishing them?

Kris and I went to Barnes and Noble together last week. I took out my laptop and was beside myself. What was I supposed to write? I had no idea. Kris found a cool writing prompt app on her phone in which we both downloaded. She wasn’t too sure what to write, either, so we each picked a prompt. Mine was, “Everything is ruined because…” Again, what was I supposed to write about?

In the end, I wrote a small short story that was about four pages long. I’ll post it on here tomorrow. It was probably the dumbest thing I had ever written in my life. I wasn’t too crazy about the way I had written it, the story line was kind of weird, and the characters were just…odd. It certainly was not my best work.

But it was soon after that that I began to write again. That same day at Barnes and Noble, I whipped out my Hunter & Comet story and wrote a little bit of that. Then, for some strange reason, I got into the mood of writing one of those cliche high school drama novels. I have a couple of ideas for those and ended up starting one. It’s called Union Academy. I have no idea what the plot really is…it’s just one of those drama stories where things never seem to go right for a group of high school girls.

The time we went to Barnes and Noble after that, the latest time we’ve gone, I ended up writing that. And I got a good chunk done, too. So I think I’m over my little writer’s block. Not only that, but I actually started editing Hunter again.

It just goes to show that whatever writing you’re stuck on, just write something, anything. Even if it’s terrible. And it will help.

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?

The Babysitting Adventures of Rachel

It’s Gonna Be A Best-Seller…

Starting back in the summer of 2010, I started babysitting two boys. I only watch them during the summer as both of their parents work while the kids are at school, which is nice. They’re one of the few families that actually have the parents home when the kids are home that I know of.

So this is the third summer I’m watching them. The oldest, Jack, is now 13 and the youngest, Sam, is 11. The oldest has ADD while the youngest has ADD and a touch of Autism. They get along really well, but…you know, they’re brothers. Despite their special needs, Jack is actually capable of being home alone for a few hours and watching his little brother. However, he torments poor Sam half of the time. So instead of actually “babysitting” I get paid to “referee.” And it’s funny because last summer was horrible, but Jack has actually matured with age…for a boy. I honestly don’t think I need to be there. But I love hanging out with the two of them, so why not?

Anyway, the whole point of this post is to talk about what Sam wants me to do. We drove my cousin and her friend to their swimming lesson a few weeks ago. The swim lesson was only a half hour long so we stayed there to watch. Sam had his Nintendo DS and his Pokemon to keep himself company. I planned on playing my game, but I found myself caught up in watching the kids swim. But somehow Sam got a hold of my iPod and was looking at my calendar.

“Camp NoNoWr…what?” Sam stammered to read my July entries.

“Camp NaNoWriMo. It stands for National Novel Writing Month.” I laughed at his pronunciation and corrected him.

Of course, Sam has no idea what that is. So I explained the whole thing to him simply. Judging by the look on his face, he wasn’t all that impressed.

“Geez, Rachel…I knew you were a geek, but I didn’t think you were that much of a geek.” he scoffed.

Honestly, I was kind of surprised at how offended I got. Of course I was laughing, but I never really thought writing would be categorized as being a geek. That was certainly the first time I heard that, but I just don’t think Sam knew what to think about it.

“Hey, it’s writing. Writing is my career.” I replied and he stared at me funny. “Well…I want it to be my career. I want to be an author someday…sooner rather than later, I mean. NaNo is something that helps me get closer to that goal.”

From the look on Sam’s face, I now had his attention. And he seemed to understand, too. Yet, he was still confused because he knew I’m going to school to be a teacher and he knows I’m a teacher at a preschool. I explained I went to school for teaching as a day job just in case selling books doesn’t bring in enough money. But I am going to get my Bachelor’s in English. Being with children and writing are two of my favorite things to do. I can easily do both and if writing becomes more of a priority…well, my books are all picture books, middle grade, or young adult. It’s still kid stuff. He nodded an approval at my plan.

Then the wheels in his head began to squeak. Then they moved slowly and before I knew it, the rust was dusted off and the wheels were turning five miles per second.

“The Babysitting Adventures of Rachel!” he exclaimed. “You should write a book all about you and me and all the fun we have together! I bet you it will be a big hit!”

I found this amusing. Sam texts me throughout the school year every once in a while and when the summer nears and his mom and I start planning a schedule for me to babysit, he’s always calling me on the phone super excited. His mom tells me he constantly talks about me and she’s so happy by how much he loves me. If the child is not happy about the babysitter, then there’s an issue somewhere. But I was excited that Sam took an interest in my writing and he was trying to help me out. Although, at first I thought it was just him being 11, but then I realized he was serious.

“You can talk about me and you and Chance!” he continued on and on. “I guess Jack can be in there…maybe you can put Jackie and Katherine in there, too.” Then he whispers: “You know, just to be nice.”

–Let me stop to explain for a moment: Chance is his dog, Jack is his brother (as previously mentioned), Jackie is my cousin (the one who was swimming), and Kat is my other cousin (Jackie’s little sister). Continuing on…–

Then I asked a question I shouldn’t have (but I still thought he was joking): “How long should this book be?”

“Um…100 pages!”

Uh…what? Wow, he really thought this through in the past five minutes, didn’t he? Then he stuck out his hand and I shook it.

“What’s this for?” I asked.

“So I know you’ll definitely do it.”

Well, crap. Now I’m stuck. I have an 11-year-old wanting me to write 100 pages all about our fun together. How was I going to pull this one off? He had to be kidding, right? He was probably going to forget about this whole thing by tomorrow, anyway…right?

After I finished babysitting that day I thought long and hard about our conversation. I began laughing to myself and thought: challenge accepted.

A few days later (yes, he remembered), he told me that he wants it to be 256 pages now. Random number, right? I don’t get it, either. However, I did say challenge accepted, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to write that much about us. All we really do is go in the pool, play with the dog, and play Pokemon. Seriously. I’ll make the story 100-256 pages. No less than 100, no more than 256. But I doubt I’ll get to 256 pages.

I realized that I am probably going to make Sam’s life when I write this book. Of course I’m not going to write it ready for publication, but it helped spark a middle grade series idea (with the help of Kris when I told her this story) that I think I am going to write. And who knows? Maybe it will be the “next big thing.”

Back To Reality

I Can’t Type…

 

I disappeared for a week, yes. I can’t remember if I mentioned it or not, but I went away on vacation. It was very nice to get away. We had a cottage by the lake, but we didn’t swim very often. The weather was not on our side last week. But it was all good because Kris and I stayed in our room most of the week playing Pokemon and watching movies. We watched Wreck-It Ralph twice, Tangled about four or five times, and the Winnie the Pooh movie about four or five times. It was a good week. That, and we finally got our two cousins into Pokemon. They’re 11 and 9 and we’ve tried to get them into it before, but it never worked because they didn’t understand anything that was going on. They still don’t, but they’re getting through it.

It’s funny because Jackie, the one who is 11, pesters us with questions. She wants to learn everything about Pokemon and wants to do it right. If we tell her to do something differently, she hears us and tries not to do it anymore. For example, leveling up only one Pokemon instead of her whole team. Whereas, Katherine…she’s just going to have to learn the hard way. No matter how many times Kris and I try to tell her that she needs to level up all her Pokemon…let’s put it this way: she was in a battle with an NPC trainer for about two hours. Her highest level Pokemon fainted and the rest of her team weren’t at a high enough level. Not only that, but she does’t understand that she needs to go to the Pokemon Center before they faint. She thinks she’s not allowed to go there unless she entire team has fainted.

This just goes to show that slow and steady does in fact win the race. Whereas Kat is farther along in the game than Jackie, Jackie will probably be the first to beat the game because she’s actually going about it the right way. But at least they’ll both learn…eventually.

Anyway, the sub-title says “I can’t type.” Seriously, you have no idea how long it has taken me to write this post so far…being away from a computer for a whole week really takes a toll on my fingers. I checked my FanFiction e-mail and I have a lot of stories to catch up on for my beta-reading. I didn’t open a single one. I can’t type. How am I supposed to correct stories if I can’t type?

There was no wi-fi at the cottage, but my phone still gave me internet. It was great because I ended up playing my HeartGold version of Pokemon all week and I left the guide at home. I brought my Ruby and Sapphire guide because I had just started playing my Ruby over again. Apparently, I changed my mind. But I had my phone to look up the levels of the gym leaders and such. So I was saved.

But that’s not really the point. I was on the internet a great deal, but it was only my thumbs doing the typing. My other fingers got a vacation and now I’m paying the price. I have a lot of correcting to do for FanFiction, I have my own FanFiction to write and I have my own original novels to write. Of course, none of this is going to happen until tomorrow (at least) because my fingers need to get back into the groove of things.

Speaking of writing…Camp NaNoWriMo? What is that again…?

Ugh, yes, I know. I fail. But at least I got something written. Something is better than nothing, I guess. There’s always November…then April…then July again…and so on and so forth.

Well, I’m home now and it’s back to reality…starting tomorrow.

I Have Issues

Today Was  A Joke…

 

Today was the first day in a long time that I have nothing to do. So I told myself that I was going to wake up early, take a shower, and write. And write, and write, and write some more. Except things didn’t go exactly as planned.

I’m stuck.

I didn’t get a chance to write at all this past weekend. There were some times here and there I would have been able to squeeze some words in, but I didn’t. Normally I would have or if I didn’t, I would have been freaking out about why I didn’t get anything done. Not this time. I didn’t feel like writing and that was that.

I’m going to assume I burned myself out when it comes to writing. But this burn out couldn’t have come at another time? It’s in the middle of the July, I have Camp NaNo to finish. Not to mention I’m already losing next week because I’m going on vacation. I don’t need to lose two additional days.

So I told myself today was going to be an all day writing day. I can’t tell you how many words I have written because I literally have no idea. I am so burned out that every time I tried to write today, I said: “Screw it!”

I’m writing Cybertra for Camp NaNo and I’m ahead of the NaNo goal, but 11,000 words behind my own goal. Two days and I’m that far behind…what? I forced myself to write it and I got about 540 words done. Then I realized…I’m just not into the story anymore. I still love the characters, the plot is good, but…well, the plot isn’t going as well as expected. I feel like I want to keep the prologue then scrap the whole rest of the novel. But that’s over 20,000 words…is it worth it to do in the middle of Camp? Is it wort it to do it at all?

I heard (I forget where) that you should never delete your writing whether you’re going to use it or not. Good writing is writing and bad writing is still writing. Not to mention there might be something in there that you will like later on. I hate deleting things I write because then I just feel bad. I mean, it was a good idea at the time I wrote it, right?

So I didn’t delete it, but I’m definitely not going back to the story any time soon. Which is sad because I was in love with it when I first started. I think I just need a break. Maybe next month I can get back to it. But now how am I supposed to finish Camp NaNo?

I tried writing a couple of children’s picture books…I finished one, but it sucks. I attempted to write another, but I got about two lines in and that was that. I started Hunter & Comet, the first book of a middle grade series I want to write. I wrote about a page and couldn’t get into that, either.

I looked at my list of stories to write. Maybe I just need something brand new? None of those ideas appealed to me. At the moment, anyway. And I’m afraid to start any new young adult novels because I already have four that need to be edited.

I tried writing some FanFiction. I wrote about a page then quit.

It’s about four o’clock in the afternoon, I have to get something written. I want to get something written. But it’s not going so well. And I’m afraid today is going to be a bit of a waste since I’m probably not going to have another day to write all day like this one in a long time.