Saturday, December 19, 2009

So, I didn't win...

The winners of the Good Housekeeping Short Story contest were to be announced on or about Dec. 15th.

Since it is way past about Dec. 15th, I am accepting I must not have made the cut. I really expected to be more upset than I am. I have learned much more about the craft of writing than I knew just a few short months ago when I sent in my entry. I can find the flaws in it. I can understand where it would have been considered substandard in comparison to others with more polish.

But I am not saying I lost... I didn't lose anything. I wrote something I felt worthy of consideration and I sent it. In my world, that is a HUGE step!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I have decided not to enter the contest. It was a hard decision because I was really feeling drawn to it. But it is a yearly contest. I want to take sometime to prepare something worth entering. I would also like to become involved in the organization a bit and see what it is like.

I think my main motivation for wanting to enter was to feel as if I was actually moving forward with my writing. I started my mystery writing class today. So, for now, that will fullfill that need.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Now what?

In a few hours it will be Dec. 1st, NaNoWriMo will officially be over. I met my goal with a few days to spare. I haven't gone back to look at my 50,000 words. I am letting them cool for a while. Amazingly, I really like my story and like what I wrote. I am not sure if it is "good" but I know it isn't "bad". I am alright with that.

But now I am stuck...
I don't know what to do next. I have a contest I really want to enter. Mostly, because it is judged by editors who offer feedback on a score sheet. I have no intentions of winning, but I would LOVE to hear the feedback.

The problem is I don't have anything near ready for submission. The deadline is Dec. 30th. I could probably throw something together in that time, but it would be just that, thrown together.

This is a super busy time of year at work. I am already WAY behind on grading. Dedicating more time to writing would just put me further behind... I won't even mention how high the laundry pile got in November or that I can't find my kitchen sink for all the mess.

But, I really want to enter this contest...

Decisions, decisions, decisions.....

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I WON!!!!!!!!!!!!

I won!!!! I won!!! I won!!! I won!!! I won!!!!

50,000 words in 30 days....
Well, 50,360 in 25 days if you want to be exact.
253 pages double spaced courier new 11 point font.

And some of it is actually good!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Over 10,000 words!!!!

It is Nov. 4th and I am 1/5 through NaNoWriMo!
I have to admit a good portion of that came from being home sick today. Is it bad to enjoy the "you can't return to work for 24 hours after being sent home with a fever" rule? I spent the whole day pretending that I a was an author. I didn't do dishes. I did only the necessary laundry. I didn't even turn on the TV. Though I will admit to watching an episode of Castle on, but you have to take some breaks, right?

The best part is I actually like what I am writing. It is beyond difficult to not go back and edit at this point. But I am saving that for December.

I kind of hoped that today would make me realize how lonely and boring life as a professional writer would be, but it didn't. I LOVED it!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nov. 1st

Let the writing begin!!!!!!!

Any time now... just start writing...let's go... just open a word document and get started.... you can do it...

UGH! I'm stuck.

I have all the characters from my previous works in my head screaming, "no, no... me! me! Pay attention to me!"

No one new has shown at the party. I can't decide if I want mystery or romance. I know I just need to start. Just start ANYTHING!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Baby steps

I took two baby steps in the right direction this week.
One, I joined ACFW ( American Christian Fiction Writers).
The other is I signed up for
National Novel Writing Month.
The goal is to write 50,000 words between November 1st and November 30th.
I feel similar to my youngest child the first time she rode a Tilt-a-whirl.
right when the bars locked up in place, she scream, "I feel scared, excited and little freaked out all at the same time!"
That pretty much sums it up for me!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Putting the words to paper

"I became a writer shortly after I started putting words on paper..."

I can't remember where I read that recently, but it really struck a nerve.
I am good at putting words on paper. I know that, but the more I try to explore this hobby as a career, the less I find myself putting the words on the paper.

I read websites and blogs about writing and publishing. I participate in online forums about writing. But tonight, as I am sitting here with a blank word document and a cursor taunting me... I find I am struggling. The other stuff is unimportant. I just need to put the words on the paper.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I lost a competition this week. The stakes were only bragging rights and my pride.
I still cried.
Not because I am a sore loser, but because it brought to light how subjective an endeavor becoming a published author can be.

Some of the entries were clearly better than mine. The writing was more concise. The plot was more intriguing. The hook stronger. I can accept that.

But one of the entries wasn't ( in my humble opinion) even though it was chose over mine. The language was cliche and repetitive. The plot was thin and the situation entirely predictable.

In short, I didn't like it.

But the judges did.

That is the core of my fear and disappointment. I have manuscripts that I love... truly, truly love. The characters in them are as real to me as friends I have known in the real world. I know how they think. I know how they dress. I know what their homes look like.

How can I sacrifice them for rejection?

How I can trust someone will care for them as much as I do?

How do I take that risk?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Maybe God doesn't want me to be a writer...

I have a passion for writing. A deep, sincere calling. I always have. I have written many stories the others will never read, simply for my enjoyment. In the past year, since I have truly started to consider the option of becoming a published author, I have prayed...often. I am believer in Christ and a believer in prayer. I am also a believer that sometimes, God likes to toy with us.

At the end of the last school year, I was finishing up what I consider to be my best work to date. The characters and plot ricocheted around my head like a song you can't stop thinking about. I HAD to get it on paper... or at least on the computer screen.

During the spring, I am blessed with some free time at work. I was using every minute of it ( shh~ don't tell!) to get this story finished. The problem? Every time I would get "in the zone" so to speak. Some thing would happen to remind me I was a teacher.

At first I thought it was coincidence. I start writing and my classroom phone rings to inform me a parent is there to pick a recommendation for a former student. This particular parent, whom I love dearly, took the time to tell me what a talent educator she felt I was and what a positive impact I had on her son's life. That is a great feeling.

Then it happened again, I started writing and a former student, home from college for a weekend visit popped in. And it happened again! Another student from TWO YEARS before stopped in to say hello , let me know he had joined the military and would be leaving for Iraq soon.

I love these people. I truly, truly do love them. They have impacted my life every bit as much as I impacted theirs. I began to question if God was trying to show me that education is where I belong... where I should stay.

I wrote often this summer. But not as much as I could have... After all, I do still have two children who need attention and taxiing to various activities. I started a new manuscript ( I am trying to get in the habit of calling them that... Story seems too trivial). Parts of it are really good, but parts of it still need much revision and I am no where near the end yet. As of yesterday, it had not been backed up anywhere. The only copy was on my laptop.

You think I would have learned my lesson when I lost the first 25 pages of a new manuscript during a hard drive crash. But I didn't. The 45 pages of my latest were here on this computer. Completely vulnerable. A chance I was willing to take.... until my youngest spilled an entire 32 ounce cup of water on to the computer.

At first, everything seemed fine. I dried it all. The computer booted up and all was well. Until I started viewing some pictures.Then, after a quiet buzzing noise, the screen went blank and the computer would not reboot.

I spent the next two hours cleaning the house. Moving from room to room, putting away clutter, toys and laundry... praying I had not once again lost everything on my laptop. Allowing the doubt to creep in... Maybe God really does not want me to be a writer.

I wrestled with this thought the whole time. I even had a flashback to story I wrote when I was in the sixth grade. I was proud of this story. So proud, I took it every where with me for the week after I wrote it. I am not sure why, but I know it must have made since to my 11 year old self. I was riding in the back of my mom's Beretta, my dad was driving. For some reason, I had put the story in the back window. He rolled down the passenger window and the wind grabbed it.

It was gone. I still remember screaming and looking out the back window as the papers scattered over the highway. Then I cried.

That was before computers. The story was handwritten on spiral notebook paper. There was no back up. I never rewrote that story. I can barely remember the plot now. But I remember the devastation I felt. I got a fresh taste of it yesterday while staring at a blank computer screen.

Today my computer is fine. My latest manuscript is still here and now has been copied to a back up DVD.

I am still leery though. Maybe God doesn't want me to be a writer... or maybe he just wanted me to get off my butt and clean my house.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bath Night

I am a bath person. Not for getting clean, I definitely prefer showers for that. But for relaxing and what I consider, "washing off the day".

Tonight, my bath became a metaphor for my career.

I like what my husband calls, "Lobster Baths". Just enough cold water to keep your skin from actually scalding. Tonight I got distracted while the tub was filling. My bath turned out a step above luke warm.

But I got in anyway. I tried to soak and relax. It wasn't uncomfortable. There were plenty of bubbles. My children were occupied. No one bothered me, but I realized it wasn't what I wanted. I stayed in because I was already there. Not because I was enjoying it.

I considered emptying it and starting over, but I knew there would not be enough hot water this time. I worry about that with writing. When I started my current career, I was young, single and full of energy. Not to mention set on changing the world. I am not that person anymore. I am far from old, but I am settled, married and a mom. I have seen the world for what it is and know I am far from its savior. I worry I will run out of talent, energy, determination and everything I else I need.

Just like the hot water.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

One step closer

I started an online writing course tonight. Not very strenuous but it is a step in the write ( hee hee hee, I am so funny!) direction. I need to find time to write. I mean seriously write. People always say, "If you have time to be on the computer or watching TV, you have time to write!" But that isn't necessarily true.

On the computer or watching TV, I can immediately attend to the needs of my children, such as reading off a 1st grade spelling list or helping with 2nd grade math. I can't do that in the midst of writing an intense, or even not-so-intense, scene.

So maybe this class will force me to make an appointment with my muse, so to speak .

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chasing Someday

I feel like I have spent my life chasing "Someday".
Someday I will ....( insert goal here).
and I would love to be able to announce:
"Someday" has arrived!
I am going to be a writer!
I am going to have the career I always wanted instead of the one I accepted.
Unfortunately that isn't true.
The fact is I have always been a writer.
I just don't happen to be published and only within the past year have started to let anyone read my ramblings.
The other fact is I love the career I accepted.
It has served me well.
I am very comfortable there and absolutely terrified to leave it.
So, someday isn't here.
Not yet.