How Reading Aloud Made Me The Teacher And Person I Am Today [Guest Post]

Today’s post is brought to you by Jennie Fitzkee. Thanks, Jennie!

Guest post by Jennie Fitzkee: How Reading Aloud Made Me The Teacher and Person I Am Today

My very first day of teaching preschool in Massachusetts, thirty-two years ago, was both career and life altering. Lindy, my co-teacher, asked me to read the picture books to children each day after our Morning Meeting. Sure (gulp)! I was new, scared and unfamiliar with many children’s books. I had not been read to as a child, except for The Five Chinese Brothers from my grandmother. I still remember the page that opens sideways, with the brother who could stretch his legs. One book, and to this day I remember it vividly.

The book I read to the children on that first day of school was Swimmy, by Leo Lionni. It was magical for me, and for the children. The storyline, the art, the engineering, the words… it was a taste of something I knew I had to have. And, I couldn’t get enough.

The next few decades I consumed children’s books. I realized that the more I read aloud, the more the children wanted to hear stories and be read to. I displayed books in my classroom front-facing, so children were drawn to picking up and ‘reading’ the books. In this way, the children wanted to handle, hold, and turn the pages of books. This was a big deal! It was true hands-on learning, with exploding questions and interest. I was the yeast in the dough, or perhaps the books were the yeast. Oh, our Morning Meetings grew. We had to include a children’s dictionary on the bookshelf so we could look up words that were new. That was fun!

By this time I had become picky about good books. Whenever I read a good book, it sparked so many questions and conversations, that sometimes it took ‘forever’ to get through the book. The first time I read Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky, it took forty minutes to finish reading the book. I started with the inside cover, a picture of the courtyard, and simply asked questions; “Where is this?” “Does this look like Massachusetts?” “What is different?”

Reading picture books triggered big discussions. I often stopped to ask questions. Sometimes I would simply say, “Oh, dear…” in mid-sentence and let the children grab onto that rope. Yes, I was throwing out a lifeline, a learning line, and it worked. It was exciting, always engaging.

Before long, I started reading chapter books before rest time. This was unconventional for preschoolers, yet it felt right because children were on their nap mats and needed to hear stories without seeing pictures. I started with Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, and have never looked back. The first thing children learned was ‘you make the pictures in your head’. This is thrilling because we now have non-stop reading and multiple discussions, without pictures. Thirty minutes of pretty intense reading-aloud. My chapter books include the best of the best.

My teaching had become language based and child centered. Often there were ‘moments’, things that happened because we were reading all the time. Reading had spilled over into my curriculum. The day we had set up a restaurant in housekeeping, children were ‘reading’ menus and ‘writing’ orders on clipboards. I was spelling out the words to one child and listening to questions about the menu from another child. I doubt these moments would have happened had I not read so often in the classroom.

I wanted to tell families what happened, about moments of learning, and of course about reading aloud. So, I started to write more information in my newsletters, and include details. I wrote, and I wrote, sharing small moments and relating those moments to the big picture in education.

I attended a teacher seminar, and Jim Trelease, the author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, was the keynote speaker. As he spoke I wanted to jump up and rush over to the hundreds of teachers in the room, screaming, “Are you listening to this man?” “Do you realize how important his message is?” Instead, I wrote him a letter and included one of my newsletters to families that spoke about the importance of reading aloud. That sparked his interest in my chapter reading, and he visited my classroom to watch. I’m included in the latest version of his million-copy bestselling book.

My public library asked me to direct a library reading group for second and third graders. This was another new adventure in reading. I read The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes, among many wonderful books. Again, these were new books to me, and I loved it. This past summer I embraced YA books, thanks to reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I read every Kate DiCamillo book I could lay my hands on. Everyone.

My reading and reading aloud continue to grow. Thank you Read-Aloud West Virginia for getting the message of how important reading is to the public. We are making a difference.

About Jennie:

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It’s the little things that happen in the classroom that is most important and exciting. That’s what I write about. I am highlighted in the new edition of Jim Trelease’s bestselling book, “The Read-Aloud Handbook” because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.

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When A Schedule Falls Apart

I’ve always been the type of person to have a schedule, to get myself into a routine. I write a to-do list for the following day every night before I go to bed. I even include “shower” on those lists. Yeah, I’m that kind of person.

The summer was great. I was home alone for the majority of the day while everyone else was at work. I read, I wrote, I blogged, I swam, I played with the animals, took walks, among other things. But mostly I was able to get a lot of writing, reading, and blogging done.

I had a good rhythm going for a while. Then work started back up again.

Today is my seventh day of work, but I feel like I’ve been back for months. I still babysit every day after work as well and, on top of that, I’m still running the Sunday school program at my church.

I enjoy all three jobs, but it’s exhausting. Nine to ten hours of my day is gone as I chase preschoolers around the majority of the day only to go help a couple of elementary kids do their homework. There’s not much room for writing during those times.

Sunday mornings are blocked off because I’m at church and I do the majority of the Sunday school planning in my free time at my house during the week. Still, not much room for writing.

Before I started back to work, I attempted to create a new “schedule” for myself. I knew it was going to be a flexible one, but I thought that if I could get in just one hour a day of reading and then one hour of writing or blogging, that’d be great.

I still keep up with my routine where I write on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays and I work on my blogs on Thursdays and Fridays. Sundays are either/or, or I just take a break.

But the hour a day? It hasn’t been working so well.

By the time I get home from work, I’m utterly exhausted. It’s tough to stare at the computer screen, my hand can’t remember how to hold a pen, and my eyes suddenly drop if I try to read.

Needless to say, I’ve barely gotten any writing or blogging done since work started. If I didn’t have deadlines for my book reviews, I probably wouldn’t be reading either (and even then I missed a review this month). The only reason I’ve been keeping up with my daily blog posts is because I spent a whole day on my blogs before I started back to work and got the majority of September done.

It sucks because while I absolutely love my jobs, I don’t want to be teaching and babysitting for the rest of my life. I want my career to be writing related. I know that takes time and I’ve been working on it bit by bit, but the waiting game is hard.

I’m trying not to get discouraged, but I know what I want to do with my life. I just can’t get there yet. I’m not trying to be impatient because I know this takes time as well as a lot of hard work, determination, and dedication, but… I don’t know. This was just something I had to get off my chest, I guess.

Sorry if this post seems like such a downer. Let this be a lesson to just stay positive. Even though this post is the complete opposite of yesterday’s post.

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Work is Hard

When you work four jobs, plus write and blog on the side trying to make that your solid career, work can get a bit hectic and busy at times.

I love teaching and I love babysitting, but it’s not exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life. Can I see myself ten years from now still teaching? Yes. But ten years from now I hope to have a few publications under my belt.

I can’t picture myself waking up every morning, going to work, then coming home to just sit around and wait for the next day to come. I can’t live in order to make money and pay bills. I want to actually do something with my life, make a difference, be important.

So I write. So I blog.

I want my writing to be my full-time job. Whether that will ever happen enough to pay my bills, I’m not sure. But I’m going to do it anyway.

What’s annoying about this is that you have to work really hard and work a lot in order to make this happen, which I have been doing and I love it.

But, as stated earlier, when you work four other jobs on top of it…

At the moment, writing doesn’t pay the bills. It’s not my career yet. It’s a passion, but it’s more of a hobby at the moment.

That being said, my other jobs have to come first. I can’t call out sick and write all day long. While that would be awesome, that would be one day I wouldn’t get paid and right now that’s not really an option.

Unfortunately, the world revolves around money.

My whole point to this post was that I haven’t made much progress on my writing lately. Drama has been happening at two of my four jobs and working such long hours, I’m too exhausted to do anything when I get home.

So that’s pretty much where I stand at the moment. I have my work cut out for me for the rest of the month and through June.

I’m counting down the days until summer (less than four more weeks!) where I can put more of my time, thought, and effort into writing and blogging. I’ll be working the summer, but it’ll only be four hours a day for four days a week for only four weeks out of the summer. This is a vast improvement to my 8-10 hours a day five days a week, plus another couple hours on the weekend.

This turned into a ranting-woe-is-me type of post and that wasn’t supposed to happen. I had a completely different point, but I guess this is where my mind wandered off to.

Is it sometimes difficult for you to balance writing, work, and anything else life throws at you?

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Writerly Weekend

Friday: Work was a normal day with the kids, but once they left we celebrated with a surprise baby shower for two of my co-workers; one is a teacher in another classroom and the other is the school’s nurse. After work, it was just me and Dad home so we went out to eat together. We ran into a couple of old friends who we haven’t seen in ages. We didn’t talk long, but it was still nice to see them and know they’re doing well.

Saturday: Kris and I decided that we were going to have a huge writing day! We went to Barnes & Noble per usual and decided to try to stay as long as possible so we could get a lot of writing done. We ended up staying for an extra… it doesn’t seem like much, but we both ended up getting a lot more done than we usually do. I wrote about 7,000 words for my CampNaNoWriMo novel.

To top off the day, we went out with our other sister and friend to see the movie “Home.” I have to say that it was a wonderful movie. Absolutely adorable. And I want my own little pet alien.

Sunday: I went to church. I only had one kid in my Sunday school class. I wasn’t expecting anyone to show up because it was the week after Easter. Instead of doing a lesson, I decided to tidy the room up a bit. I told her she could play and she got really excited and asked to organize the blocks. The blocks take up a few shelves in a corner of the room and it always looks like that corner threw up. So, I told her to go for it. She did a really nice job with it, too. It took her the entire hour and she still didn’t finish.

I didn’t get any writing done on Sunday. After writing 7k on Saturday, I needed a bit of a break from my novel. I did however get some more Sunday school things done because I’m hoping to build a new curriculum for next year as well as start a new blog for it. So, at least I can say I did something productive.

This Week: This week is going to be like any other week. I’m going to try to get my homework done as soon as I can so I can write more of my Camp NaNo novel. I also have to edit the second part of Detective Florence by Wednesday so I can send that into my writing group.

Other than doing homework and keeping up with writing/editing and blogging, not too much is going on this week.

How was your weekend?

Inspiration Explanation

For those of you who read my March: Inspiration Board post two days ago, I wanted to explain further on some of my Pinterest boards and why those things inspire me to be who I am today.

It’s one thing for me to give you a link to my Pinterest and say, “These are all the things I enjoy. I hope you enjoy them, too!”

However, it’s another thing for me to say, “I pinned this because…”

I have a Writing board. I don’t know if you guys know this, but if I didn’t write I would go insane. I need my imaginary friends and I need to go to new places and be in different situations, real or fiction. I also have a Reading board. That inspires me to write. It inspires me to create my own worlds and create my own characters for others to love and enjoy. Reading and writing go hand-in-hand and one inspires me to do the other.

I have a Sunday School board. I am a teacher and the director of my church’s Sunday school. I love teaching to no end and while I don’t particular enjoy going to church (I can’t sit still long enough to get through an hour-long service), I love broadening the horizons of the church’s children. Because I’m just teaching them about God, Jesus, and the Bible, I’m teaching them about life.

Speaking of, I also have a Teaching board. I’ve been teaching preschool for four years and I can’t imagine myself not waking up in the morning to not see those kids every day. I have to ability to teach them a lot and I learn a lot from them, as well.

There are many different TV shows and movies that inspire me as well. Once Upon A Time, The Lord of the RingsHarry PotterPsych, and many more. I have boards for each of those. The characters are amazing and the writers are brilliant.

The same goes for video games; especially The Legend of Zelda and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. I hope to be able to write stories just as well as these game and the movies/shows mentioned above.

I obviously can’t explain all 93 boards to you, but those are the main ones. Those are what make me who I am today and I’m always going to keep growing into someone better. Now you guys know me a little bit better.

I hope you guys are inspired by a lot of things in the world just like I am.

March: Inspiration Board

The March #YearOfHappy was to create an inspiration board. The idea was to create an actual board and hang it somewhere where you can look and admire it every day.

I’ll admit I cheated with this one.

I decided to use my virtual board, so to speak. I add things on there all the time, so why not share it with everyone here? It has everything on there that inspires me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have a board for it.

That’s right… I’m talking about my Pinterest.

I currently have 93 boards. All are things that inspire me. Here are just a few:

Writing (I have writing, research, vocabulary, names, editing, characters, and blogging)
Teaching (I have a general teaching board, plus many different units in their own individual boards, plus special education)
Sunday School
Reading (I even have a board for the books I’ve read)

Considering that I have 93 boards, that’s not even a dent. I have different video game boards like Pokemon and The Legend of Zelda as well as different movies (The Lord of the Rings) and TV shows (Once Upon A Time).

All 93 boards inspire me in more ways than one. If you don’t know me personally, you would just need to look at my Pinterest profile and you’ll get to know to me in an instant.

So, if you want to see the kinds of things I love then I suggest you check out my Pinterest profile.

I add to my boards all the time and I’m sure there will be more than 93 boards in time.

George And Me

In yesterday’s post, I discussed how every author puts a little bit of themselves (or something from their life) into their novels. For me, there are numerous things I throw into my novels that are inspired by true things in life. I won’t spill all my secrets, so for now I’ll just explain my good friend George Florence.

20150115_170826George, my protagonist, is a 30-year-old laid-off detective trying to make a place for himself in the world while doing what he loves: helping people and fighting crime.

Being a police officer was something I wanted to do when I was very young. Even when I knew I wanted to be a teacher and writer, I still had a spot in my mind that wanted to be a cop. I wanted to be a teacher since I was six-years-old because of my first grade teacher. I wanted to be a writer since I was ten-years-old because of Kris. Where did this cop thing come from? I have no idea.

When I was little I was always fascinated with that sort of thing. I remember I had a spy kit with handcuffs, a decoder, a notepad, and–the best part–rear-view sunglasses. I was always trying to solve “mysteries” around the house. One time, Kris and I eavesdropped on my mom’s phone call because we were looking for “evidence” in our case, “Mom’s Cooking: Real or Take-Out?” I can’t remember how old we were, but I wish I did.

However despite my fascination, I never pursued it for a plethora of reasons. I’m tiny and have no upper body strength, I can’t stand loud noises, I’m squeamish, and I’m not good under pressure. I just don’t think it wouldn’t have worked out. Of course you never know until you try, but I think when I discovered teaching/writing, my heart changed its mind.

I have written a few novels. Most of them are fantasy-ish with the main characters having super powers. A couple of them are cliche high school drama stories. Each one of those manuscripts (five of them total) are still on the first draft. I congratulate myself for completing a novel, but editing them is just not something I have the motivation to do.

20150115_170900Then I created George. He was a silly character started in a yellow notebook a few years ago at Barnes and Noble when I didn’t know what else to write.

I say he was a “silly” character because that’s entirely what he was. He was originally a detective who did well at his job, but had no common sense whatsoever. He was comical. I didn’t expect to go anywhere with it, but I liked the story. I wrote 32 notebook pages before I stopped and moved onto something else.

Who knew that years later George would rise to the surface and be who he is today?

Unlike my other novels, I completed a first draft easily and then had the urge to edit it right away. I want to continue his story. I want to write more books about him. I want to publish them all. Needless to say, I think I have found my genre for writing.

Funny how it turned out to be a secret passion of mine.

It’s also funny because George was inspired by Phoenix Wright, a character from the Ace Attorney video game series. I played those games and wanted to write my own mysteries and decided to revive George as my main man.

Of course… now that I write this post I realize that George wasn’t originally based off of Phoenix Wright. He was based off of me.

A Degree In…What?

Another semester for my English degree has ended. I’ve had about a week of freedom so far and I’m all ready counting down the days until I (unfortunately) have to start up again.

I can’t complain. I do like my classes and (most) of my professors, but that doesn’t mean I want my schooling to last forever. Also, like most people, I’m sick of the homework.

Now I’d be lying if I said I haven’t learned anything; I have. Some information is more useful than others, but there are a few things here and there that stick with me and I’m going to explain one thing that I’ve learned this past summer.

I took a class called Theories of Rhetoric and Composition. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but once I started the class I realized it was mostly about teaching writing. Okay, I thought to myself, I can do this. I mean, I’m a teacher; I love to teach. Granted, the most English I teach is the ABCs to preschoolers.

My textbook, Cross-Talk in Comp Theory, is a series of articles written by scholars and writers discussing the English language, writing in general, and teaching/learning to write.

Textbook

We read almost the entire book during the ten-week class. Some articles I got into, others I didn’t care for, and some I didn’t understand what they were talking about at all. Yet, there are 18 articles we didn’t read and I plan on reading them in my own time anyway. It’s still an interesting book, nonetheless.

However, do you want to know the number one thing I learned from this textbook and the class as a whole? The English language is the hardest, most complex thing in the universe.

Every article in that book is written by a different person, but every article we read quoted at least one or more of the other articles in the book. Why did they quote each other? Because each author was trying to prove the other one was wrong.

Should grammar be taught in the classroom? Some thought yes, others thought it was (or should be) common sense and only be taught to those learning English as a second language. What age should grammar be learned? The ages varied; some said as early as possible, others said college. How should teachers teach grammar? Tests, worksheets, memorizing, etc. There were so many different options.

That was just a few articles arguing about grammar alone. There were so many other “issues” they touched upon about writing, reading, and even speaking English.

I think that was part of the reason why I had such a hard time trying to understand some of the articles. I read one thinking, Yeah, that makes sense. Then the next article I read I would think, Well, that makes sense as well. I wasn’t too sure what to believe.

Then it dawned on me: If these “professionals” don’t know how to teach English, then what is going on in the minds of my professors? I have all ready had two professors give me mixed signals. One professor said when I cite in-text I should write, “(Author’s last name, page number)” and the following semester my professor took off points and said it should be, “(Author’s last name page number).” Do you see the difference?

Yes, one professor said I should use a comma (and my textbook told me to as well) while the other professor told me not to. I mentioned this to the professor who “corrected” me asking which was actually the “correct” way to cite and she never got back to me. So, I have decided to do whatever the professor wants for the sake of a good grade, but the bottom line is…what am I truly learning?

Keep in mind these two professors were not my professor for my Theories of Rhetoric and Composition class. So, when reading this textbook it gave me great insight on how I’m spending so much money, time, and effort for a degree in…what, exactly?

So many people assume I want to teach English because I have an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and now going for my Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. The main reason I did this is because I want to teach preschool if publishing novels doesn’t pay the bills, but it’s always been in the back of my mind to teach English in case I ever want to stop or take a break from chasing three-and-four-year-olds around all day.

Of course, after reading these articles, I question whether I would ever want to teach English or a creative writing course. I believe teaching is one of the most difficult occupations out there (and seriously underpaid). A teacher prepares a child for the future thus creating all the doctors, police officers, fire fighters, etc. Teaching should be taken seriously and I have run into many teachers and professors who don’t take it nearly as serious as they should.

Everyone learns differently and at their own pace. What might work for one child might not work for another. Therefore, it’s the teacher’s job to accommodate; create new, interesting ways to get the child to learn and understand while enjoying it. I realized that all the suggestions in the articles in my textbook would all work…they just might not work for everyone.

To know that my professors aren’t on the same page and there is no true way to teach and learn the English language as well as writing…then who’s to say who’s right and who’s wrong? The citing is a prime example…I got points taken off an assignment for listening to a teacher; a colleague of my (at the time) current professor.

It’s annoying, but at the same time, I feel proud to be writing. I’m working in a difficult field and even though I don’t have any novels published yet, I’m still plugging away at it. I research and I learn from other writers as well as myself. I do learn things from my classes, I’m not trying to say school is useless or anything, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that writing is most definitely hands-on.

I write because I love it and since I love it so much, I’m willing to keep writing and teaching myself to get better at it. That is one thing a course and a textbook cannot teach me.

Day Eighteen

Big News…

 

I know that I skipped the blog post yesterday, but yesterday was my dad’s birthday…and I may have played Pokemon for, oh I don’t know…five or six hours? However, I did write 1,260 words yesterday. It’s better than nothing, right? I wrote those words for Seeing Things.

Today was a better day. I wrote 3,504 words to Take Over. And guess what? Take Over is completed! You guys don’t realize how happy I am that I finished it. Now, as I continue for Camp NaNo for the rest of April, I can focus on just one novel. That novel being Seeing Things, even though it’s just “part” of a novel.

I have to say this: 2013 has been a pretty big year so far. I made a resolution to write a lot more and I have actually been keeping up with that. I finished the first part of a novel (Saving Each Other) in about two weeks. Saving Each Other, I just printed out the part today, is 119 double-spaced pages with 35,076 words. Seeing Things and the other three parts of that novel are going to be just as long. This novel is going to be a big book.

I finished Take Over in about five weeks. I estimate that because I started it at the beginning of March and stopped writing it for Camp NaNo. However, when I picked it back up again it only took me an extra four or five days to finish. Take Over is 219 double-spaced pages with 70,642 words. Now it’s onto the fun part…editing.

So I completed 1/5 of a novel and a whole novel in less than two months. Now I’m onto the second part of a novel I hope to get a good dent it in by the end of the month. I’m putting those words towards Camp NaNo. Which, by the way, from today’s word count and yesterday’s word count is up to 44,069.

I had planned on writing more today because that 3k was written in school this morning. However, I had to babysit (like I do every Thursday), but I ended up going to their house an hour earlier and leaving two hours later than I usually do. I’m not going to explain, but things are chaotic at their house at the moment.

Not to mention that I have a ton of homework. As I said before, it’s the end of the semester so all my teachers decide to give out everything now. I have three chapters worth of homework in math as well as a project, I have two science projects, and I have a essay for my student teaching class as well as write up a few lesson plans. Although, the lesson plans are optional so that’s the last thing on my mind. There’s three weeks left in the semester and all this stuff is due one right after the other. It’s a pain. I quit.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a good writing day. I hoped to get to 50k today, but oh well. Maybe tomorrow. Or Saturday. The worst part is that I’m in a big mood to play Pokemon, so hopefully I can just use that as an incentive to get my homework and/or writing done. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I was very close to skipping my science class on Tuesday, but I told myself I would get myself Starbucks if I went to class. And I did. I was happy.

Okay, today exhausted the crap out of me so now I’m just kind of babbling on…I’ll see you all tomorrow!

 

2013: 125,848/350,000 Words Written
2013: 1,749/18,250 Pages Read

School > Life…Again

Homework, Homework, Homework…

 

It’s day two of classes and I have a good amount of homework so far. And this is only two classes. My other class meets on Mondays, but I don’t think I’ll have too much homework for that class, anyway. Science is only seven assignments for the whole semester, so I could sit down and do those all that once if I really wanted to…and I just might. It will be one less thing that I will have to worry about this semester.

Anyway, I’m telling you this because I did not write at all yesterday. I was in class from 10:30-2 and then I had work at 2:30-5. I did really well. The first day of classes went good, work went good…but it was a long day. I was fine and then as soon as I stepped into work I immediately became drained…and I didn’t even do anything with the kids, yet. But that was alright because they all got picked up early, so I wasn’t complaining.

Today I had class 9-10:15. It was math, so it was boring and horrible. I have the same professor as last semester, so I know that I’m going to be suffering a lot in that class because she does not know how to teach. Anyway, I’m waiting for my friend to get out of class so we can go home and relax a bit before we have work.

But here’s the plan for today: I’m at school until 11:45, which is when my friend’s class ends, and then I have work 2-5ish again. Random ti-bit about my work: we close at 5:45, but all the kids we have this year get picked up really early. We leave when the last kid leaves, so I end up getting out of work between 4:30 and five. That’s why I tell people that I work until 5ish. But I still get paid until 5:45, which is nice.

Back on topic: I’m at school for another half hour or so and then I have work 2-5. I’m probably going to try to get some homework done in between that. After work I’m going to try to get some more homework done again, depending on what I don’t have done already. After all of that, I’m going to try to get an hour of writing in.

Tomorrow I have school and no work, but I’m going out to eat with the people I work with, so tomorrow is going to be hard trying to write, as well. We’ll have to wait and see how that goes…right now I’m just trying to focus on today.

So tomorrow I will either post again about not writing tonight/tomorrow or that I did write tonight/tomorrow! The suspense is going to kill you, I know.

 

2013: 15,139 Words Written
2013: 825 Pages Read