Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Procrastination and the thousand words

OK, so I read a lot of blogs. I read writers' blogs, agents' blogs, publishing blogs, etc. There is a lot of helpful advice out there and a topic I've seen a lot is procrastination.

That's my problem right there. I have all these ideas and all these excuses. I've also read blogs about what to do with those excuses and so.... I've made a decision, though I really hate neglecting my kids, they ARE old enough to fend for themselves. (I'm not really neglecting them they just think I am) I am going to take at least one hour a night and disappear to write.

I don't care how cold it is outside, or how much they holler "Mama." (My husband does a really good impersonation of each and every little voice by the way. He thinks it's funny, I think it's annoying). I'm going to go away and write. Away, as in out to the RV, where I can lock the door. I'm going to turn on my music and write for an hour. Period. One hour is all I can expect from my way-too-dependent children who forget they can go tattle to Daddy when the little one destroys the latest lego-creation, not just "Mama!"

So, I did this last night and actually accomplished something. I wrote 1000+ words in that hour. That may not sound like a lot, but I was actually interrupted twice by two different kids, and I tend to reread every page and change things a lot as I go along. 1000 words in one night was a big accomplishment for me and made me realize that it is ok if I take some time for myself and just do it!

I got to thinking and realized that last year, when I finished my first novel, I had a lot more time to myself. That was because I had broken my foot and couldn't go do all the things with the kids that I had. Daddy had to take the kids off and I had the house to myself, hmmm..... how painful was that?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Well that didn't work....

Yeah, tried that NaNoWriMo challenge - 50,000 words in a month. Didn't quite get that far, but I did get started.

I've realized something though. Last year it took me five months to finish my novel. This challenge pretty much was just to write it, then go back and edit. I am BAD about editing as I go along. For example, I have a starting place and I go for it, then I'm lying in bed thinking and I realize the book would be so much better if I started with something else, so I go back to the beginning and start again. If I just keep restarting, I'll never finish. I really need to work on the "just write it" part of writing!

Oh, well, I will just have to challenge myself to get it finished. Christmas break last year was when I did most of my writing, so two weeks off of work could be helpful, if I can just get all the kids to leave me alone and enjoy their time off too. 13 more days until Christmas Break!!!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

NaNoWriMo

Well, November is National Novel Writer's Month. I went to the NaNoWriMo website and signed up the challenge - 50,000 words in a month. Don't know if I'll be able to do it, but I'm sure going to try! At least it has gotten me motivated! I actually sat down and wrote last night. Didn't reach my goal for the week yet, but I'm trying!

They say just to write, not to worry about revising and editing as you go along, just write. I'm trying but I tend to reread and go back and change things as I go along....

What' s cool is that there is so much support and help for NaNoWriMo. There are pep-talks from authors on the website and I joined a forum where people from my area are planning get-togethers, or "write-ins" as they're calling them and some of them are nearby. Of course, I have four kids to worry about so I can't just up and go, but I'd sure like to.

There's also a writing program for kids. That really excites me as a teacher. My 10-year-old and 13-year-old are writing too. They've each started a story and they're going with it. Maybe not 50,000 words, but they really working. I'm so proud!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Twilight (the cat, not the book)

Well, as I've said before, each of my kiddos has a cat and my 13 year old daughter's cat was named Twilight, after her fave book and movie. She has been missing for a while now, and though she has wandered off before, she usually makes it back within a few days.

My 16 year old son was coming home the other day and rounded the corner down from our house, spotting something black on the side of the road. He came into my room, where I was seeking refuge from all of the little ones running around my abode, and told me that he'd found Twilight. It was a sad day at the Hamner Home. Chelsea has since adopted Dorito, one of the mama cat's newest kittens. We were hoping to find a new home for the two remaining male kittens, but I guess we'll just be getting rid of one.

Anybody need a kitten?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Blond Moments......

OK, I'm not that technologically-behind, but sometimes the programs I'm trying to use do crazy things and once that happens I can't get it to go away. It happens with facebook, twitter, blogs, etc. For some reason, it shows that I'm following my own blog. Explain that one!

I have these blond moments sometimes and I feel so goofy when I figure out that I pushed a button too quick or something. I can usually figure it out later, but.....

Oh well, nobody's perfect.

Friday, October 30, 2009

When I Grow UP

The week is Red Ribbon Week. We had "Dress Up Days" to promote staying drug free. Thursday's theme was "Set Your Goals High and Don't Do Drugs." The students were supposed to dress up as what they wanted to be when they grow up. Teachers participated too, of course, and many dressed as stay-at-home moms. Me? I was a writer. I wore my PJ pants and a t-shirt and my robe. I would have worm my house shoes but I could only find one of them. I should have worn mismatched shoes. I carried around a thesaurus and journal, along with pencils, just in case I got a good idea during the day. If I'd only had a stuffed cat.....

It was fun pretending to be a write all day. I recently read on Janet Reid's blog that if you have completed a novel then you are a writer. She said that it didn't matter if it was any good, or if a publisher didn't like it. If you had completed a novel you were a writer! Since I respect her opinion greatly, I'm going to believe her! So, I guess I wasn't pretending!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Three At The Same Time

So I've got three books going at the same time. Is that normal? I've got a children's book that I've started, a middle grade novel that keeps changing, and a YA novel that is completely taking over my brain at the moment.....

I just need more time. I've got so much going with five kids and all their activities. I need to find something for them to do that keeps them completely busy and allows me time to write. I have to teach and grade papers too, which is the worst part of teaching in my opinion.

My children's book is about the monster in the dryer that keeps eating all the socks. It will probably be the easiest to finish if I'll just sit down and do it.

My middle grade book is going to be about an Apache Legend - updated of course.

My YA is about a teenage medium, with a twist. That's the one I keep getting new ideas for and being consumed by. I keep changing things in my head and I really need to write all of this down.....

Time....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Motivation vs Time

I'm so behind on what I was planning for my rewrite/new book. I'm changing/tweaking/stealing ideas from the first one I wrote to make it better and more appealing, but I have WAY more in my head than in my computer. I'm teaching too and trying to get my students ready for tests and trying to raise five children and making excuses for not writing.

Ok, so when I do have the time I don't have the motivation. I choose to watch Survivor or lay around and read a good book. I'm not sure what to do to fix that problem, but I am working on it. I have to!!!!

OK, so I just needed to vent on that for a while..... Now maybe I'll go actually write something. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New Year, New Ideas

Well, we're back in school and I'm hoping to get more focused on my writing. I slacked a lot during the summer, but just couldn't seem to find the motivation. Had another death in the family over the summer, and I think that took its tole on me.

I do have an idea brewing for what I think will be an awesome middle grade novel. My 10 year old son inspired me for this one. I just need to get going on the actual writing of the story. It took me five months to write my 65,000 word YA novel and since this one will be shorter, hopefully once I get going I'll be on a roll and can get finished quickly. Of course then I will begin the hard part: revising and editing. I may be able to use the work that I need to do on my own book to help my students with their revising and editing. Some of them have to take a TAKS Test (Texas Standardized Test) in writing this year and will have to write an essay and revise and edit it.

Updates to come......

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It's been a while

Yes, it's been a while since I posted. It's summer-time and since I don't have to get up and go to work, I don't get as motivated. I am working on another novel. I've got a lot of it right up here in my noggin' but I can't seem to get it down into the computer. I get distracted so much when the kids are home.

We dealt with so many tragedies last week: the deaths of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and most tragically for me, Michael Jackson. I still have my Michael Jackson Ken doll with his red leather pants and jacket and his one silver glove! So sad, so sad, so sad......

I will complete my next novel soon! I will! I got seven rejections on the last query letter I sent out. I could send out more and hope for the best, but I think this new idea might be better to start with. Then I need to finish my middle grade novel. So much to do, so much time to do it!!!

Summer.......................

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Querying

I've sent out some more query letters. Got two rejections so far, still waiting on the others. The waiting is the hard part, but if I can find an agent it's all worth it.

I start second-guessing my story after a while. Patience, patience..... Oh well, 9 days of school left and then we're out for summer. Woohoo!

Heading to the lake.....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Confidence

I am always second-guessing myself. I rethink my decisions, and embarassingly, my students are calling me on it. I'm re-reading my book to them, after the revisions. (We are writing stories from different genres in class, so this is tied in. Yes it's the end of the year, but we are still working! : )

I'm just going to go for it! Send out the queries, pray from some requests, and ultimately representation by an agent.

I know that there will be rejections, more revisions, and a lot of compromises along the way. I also know that this will probably be a long, drawn-out process, it has already become one. I'm ok with that.

Wish me luck!!!

Throughout the summer, I'll try to keep updating and let everyone know how it's going!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Wow, I needed that!

Spring break has come and gone, but it was a much needed rest for my body and mind. Spending time with my children and not thinking about work and responsibilities was just the thing I needed to clear my head.

I had written my complete manuscript and had two great ideas that weren't meshing well. I have decided to split the ideas and rewrite, (well, actually begin writing) two novels. I am going to write one as a YA novel and one as a middle grade novel. I haven begun both and am switching back and forth between the two. Probably not a good idea, but I needed a break from my YA novel. I have a couple of chapters of it finished, but my ideas and interest are fading, so I'm working on my middle grade book. Hopefully I can finish that one and can take a new, fresh look at the YA book.

Hopefully I will have a lot of progress to post next time!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

From Tragedy Comes Inspiration

So much tragedy in so little time......

My cousin went into labor early, delivering her baby at 23 weeks. As a special education teacher, I know well how a lack of neurological development can affect a child. Little Sarah Jordan is 17 days old and has already undergone heart surgery and a spinal tap. Weighing in at 1 lb 11 oz, she is such a tiny little thing, but she seems to be a fighter!

Last week my sixteen year old cousin was the victim of a freak accident. First declared as a suicide, now the coroner is leaning more toward accident. He had gotten in trouble at school that day and was told to go home and clean his room. His father heard a gun go off and went in to check, finding Lynn laying on his bed. Because of the location of the entrance wound, the position of the body, and the questioning of friends, family, and faculty at his school, it seems that young Lynn simply lost respect for the guns he had been around all his life. His cleaning kit lay on the bed, as he was taught to never put his gun away dirty. He had been hunting with friends a few days before. The gun went off, shooting this child through the bottom, side of his chin and exiting the top of his head. So tragic, so shocking, so without reason. So many kids mourning, trying desperately to understand.

This morning my best friend's house burned down. Stacy was subbing at the local school where her two sons, one in first grade and one in second grade, attend. Her younger daughter was at the babysitter's house. Thankfully, no one was home. Stacy's husband, Jay, works for the city and heard the news that his house was on fire. This was the house that he grew up in. They had recently purchased it from his parents, who had retired elsewhere. He had to help fight the fire in his own home. They lost everything, but thankfully had insurance.

So much tragedy. So many prayers needed. So much to understand and reason. The Good Lord will take care of us though. I got a fortune cookie the other day that said, "Success and Happiness Are in Your Destiny."

I am going to look on the bright side, keep reaching for my goals, hope that everything turns out alright in the end. I can't give up. We can't give up. Maybe I can use some of this as inspiration. My characters are young adults, teenagers who will go through tough times. Maybe I can use these tragedies to help a reader cope with whatever is going on in their lives. Maybe......

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Progress...

I'm finished celebrating my birthday, another year gone by. My students gave me a shirt that says "I Run with Vampires." Of course, I got my laptop, a necklace from a great friend, with an inscription that says, "Dear Friends are Always Close to Your Heart" and a gift card to my favorite restaurant. I spent the weekend catching up with old friends over dinner. Then came home to find that my cat had her kittens behind the computer desk! She and her four children are now living in a box in our living room. Ironic that she had four, the same number of children I have. One kitten for each kid! My nine year old says that, since they each have a new kitten, the cat and dog can be Mom and Dad's. Yipee! Our three year old, picked out a kitten, deciding by color that it was a goil (that's how she says girl). She has named the kitten Cindy. Not sure why, since I don't recall anyone she knows with that name. My 12 year old thinks it is someone from her former life. She's the one on the vampire, paranormal kick right now. Her kitten's name is Twilight. She is black, with just a little white - darkness, with just a little light - hence the name, Twilight. That's how she's rationalizing it, anyway.....

To get back on topic...... I have done a lot of revising and rewording, on my manuscript. My son says that they have to do revising and editing in third grade. It is good for him to know that I have to do that too. My daughter's 7th grade English teacher has asked me to come to talk to their class about writing my book. They seem to be excited, already asking me questions. I told them they had to wait until the day before the TAKS Writing Test, when I come to the class. Chelsea says I can read them the first page, and go over the process, but she doesn't want me to read them any more than that. Nothing like embarrassing your kid!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Start

Well, it is almost my birthday. It's a new year of my life, so I'm going to treat it like a new start. I do that ever so often, decide to just start anew. I'm hoping this new year bring some positive things into my life. Getting my book published would be awesome! I have a lot to do before that happens though.

My family includes four children and a wonderful husband, who just happens to be my best friend. I hope that good things come for them too. As a birthday gift, my husband got me a new laptop and printer. I am so excited. This one is so much better than the little out-dated number I've been using. I just have to transfer everything over and get going with my revisions. I've got so many ideas and changes in my head and need to get them on paper, well on screen anyway.

Hopefully I'll get a lot of work done over the upcoming long weekend. Tomorrow is Friday the 13th and we're out Monday for President's Day. I've never strived to be or believe like everyone else, so I'm going to take tomorrow's date as a lucky omen and strive to break in my new computer. I'll work that in between peewee basketball games and dinner plans at Olive Garden with my parents and my sister, Patty's, family. Mom's and Patty's birthdays are this month too, so we're celebrating together. Good times..... good times!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Research

I'm reading an array of books to my students right now. I consider that research because I can focus on the "author's voice" as I read through the stories for the third or fourth time. I can use my students as guinea pigs to see what types of books grab them and pull them in. Of course, after the Twilight pandemonium, my students (and 12 year old daughter) are vampire crazy. Stephenie Meyer is still at the top of the list of things they want to read. Ellen Schreiber's Vampire Kisses and Heather Brewer's Chronicles of Vladimir Tod are recently added favorites too. My students are also into the Forensic Mystery Series by Alane Ferguson, and Rick Riordan continues to catch their interest with Percy Jackson and The Olympians and Maze of Bones.

Anyway, I'm learning a lot through this "research" and I am doing a rewrite on my manuscript as we speak. At first I just sat down and wrote the story I wanted to tell. Now I am going back and trying to make it more than just a story. I want my characters to be people the readers will care about. I hope I can learn from the awesome YA authors my students enjoy reading. As I continue to develop into the author I know I can be, I will use the insight I gain hanging out with pre-teens and teenagers all day!

One thing I have noticed as I revisit my characters is that my students, past and present, have found their ways into my stories. The names are different, of course, but the quirks and personalities are there. Hmmm.... I wonder if, after they read my story, they could find themselves in the actions and behaviors of the characters. That could be interesting!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Beginning

I have just decided to begin a blog so that I can keep everyone updated on my progress in becoming a writer. I have always wanted to be a writer, but confidence was probably my biggest obstacle, oh, and falling right into life after high school. I was married, had a Bachelor's Degree, and two kids by the time I was 23!

I've been teaching for ten years now, though, and my students have encouraged me to start this new "chapter" of my life. I have a great idea for a story, and I've actually finished my manuscript, but I have a lot of revising to do! A lot!!! Once my manuscript is all polished and ready, I will begin sending out query letters to agents. I already sent two, which got rejections of course, but at least I got that first rejection over with! There is definitely a lot more to writing a book, than writing a book, but if your dream is worth it, you keep going and make it happen. I hope, through this process, that I can at least teach my students this: Believe in yourself, follow your heart, chase your dreams, and never give up!