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.

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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