A Writing Space That Works For You

There’s something about being in the perfect spot to crank out the words of your next best-selling novel. Everyone has a certain “spot” where they find themselves the most productive.

Charles Dickens wrote at his desk.

Virginia Woolf wrote in her basement.

Stephen King wrote Carrie in his laundry room on his wife’s typewriter while she was working the second shift at Dunkin’ Donuts.

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Creating Characters Readers Can Connect To

While doing some brainstorming for my current WIP, I’m Not OK, I realized that one of my biggest struggles is characterization. I have a tendency to focus more on action than on creating a deep character that a reader can feel some true emotions for. I’m Not OK relies on the reader to feel what the main character, Mariah, is feeling. If they don’t, the whole thing falls flat.

Of course I browsed several different “character planning” worksheets and websites and ideas, but the idea of filling out a worksheet felt like drudgery. Perhaps it’s because I’m a teacher and worksheets are hella taboo now.

So I started brainstorming on my own. How can I begin to give some depth to my main characters in a way I won’t half-ass?

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Making Writing a Habit (or, How I Have Failed At It)

I have to give a round of applause to the people who have made writing something that they do everyday, even with full time jobs, kids, dogs, other hobbies, etc.

Every month I create my new planner spread and tell myself I’ll write just 5,000 words this month. Then I write zero.

When a big writing event comes around, and I know have support and people checking in on me, I write, but the last few years, it hasn’t been as much as I would like to. I’m mostly referring to NaNoWriMo. Last November, even with my students cheering me on, I got just 13,000 words in. Now I am so extremely proud of those 13,000 words, and they’re the beginning of a project that I am SOO SO SO passionate about.

I’ve spent the last month really planning out how to make this the best thing I’ve ever written. I feel like I have a huge opportunity with this novel and I want to do it justice.

Step one to doing it justice:

I NEED TO FINISH IT.

I’m on summer break, so I set the measly goal for myself to finish this novel. I’m at about 15,000 words. I can see it going to about 75,000, but I’m not dead set on a certain word count.

I’m one week into summer vacation, and I’ve written ZERO.

I’ve signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo for July, but part of me is recognizing that my lazy self will probably not write anything until July 1st now, and if that happens, I won’t finish this this summer.

Writing is not a habit for me. My habits are watching Food Network and obsessively checking Facebook. I wish my habits could be working out, eating right, and writing, but alas.

I know I can correct this on my own. It’s as easy as just WRITING EVERYDAY.

But since it took me two hours to even write this, I guess that means I’ll start tomorrow. (and hence, my issue ha…)

If you make writing a daily (or almost daily) habit on top of the rest of your life, kudos to you. I aspire to be you. I have 8 weeks left of my vacation to change my habits before real life (teaching 7th graders) comes back around again.

Wish me well! (or tell me your secrets!)

NaNoWriMo Final Results

Okay okay

I’m guilty

NaNoWriMo has been over for 2 weeks now, and I never posted the final results! I know some of you were waiting too (and at least one of you commented a few days ago asking). I’m so sorry! I don’t know if you know this, but December is honestly the most stressful month to be a teacher. I’m #exhausted and we still have one week left until Christmas break. I took today as a personal day because tomorrow is birthday, yay!

So, in honor of my birthday, and of trying to lead a more productive 27th year, I give you…the results of my classroom NaNoWriMo 2018 project…

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On the Second Day of NaNoWriMo…

this author gave to youuuu…

a sparkly book cover and a kinda-but-not-really-synopsis of her project this month!

I'mNotOkay

“Life is a big question mark, and anyone who thinks they have all the answers is wrong.”

Life after high school is a scary place, full of dark, twisty caverns of unknowns and questions. Mariah can’t seem to see past the darkness. Instead of fighting against the world, she’s in a constant battle against her mind. How can you win in the real world when your mind keeps telling you you’ll always be a loser?

Something about creating a book cover makes me feel really attached to a project. Like I can’t just forget it exists, because it has a cover. It almost exists as a book already.

I also LOVE sharing book covers when I make them, which then causes all my friends and family to constantly ask, “When can we read your book?” Continue reading

NaNoWriMo Eve

We are roughly 4 hours away from the Central time zone start of NaNoWriMo, and I. am. pumped. Probably more pumped than I’ve ever been for this month. (Although, I think my first ever NaNoWriMo is 2007 is right up there.)

The excitement of some of my students has me feeling that same excitement. I’m not even concerned about how I’m going to stay on top of grading and parent contact over the next month. I’m gonna write my novel!

After one last day of new joiners, last minute backer-outers, and word count goal changers, here are the final numbers. Continue reading

My Students are NaNoWriMo-ing…

…and I’m so excited about it I can’t even contain it.

Image result for nanowrimo 2018 participant

Hello friends! Long time no blog! (I feel like I’ve had this intro in the last few postings, but it’s still true so.)

I am teaching 7th grade English (specifically writing) this year, and I offered my students the opportunity to participate in NaNoWriMo this year (through the Young Writer’s Program). My 4th period has a 30 minute advisory period, so for those students this is our project for the next month and beyond. For others, it was completely optional.

There is still one day to join in or change word counts, but as it stands right now, I have 65 students participating (35 by choice!), and we are setting out for a total of 497,700 words. (I’m trying to convince someone to raise their goal, or someone else to join in, so we can be shooting for 500,000 words!) Continue reading

Monday Musings #13

Outback

(I started this on Monday. It took me a day to finish it haha!)

This is my first year teaching, and I have one big complaint to make:

Why do we have to raise kids to only be expository writers and not creative writers?

This is the biggest complaint of all teachers, right? We have to teach to a test, not teach our kids things they’ll use in real life. Not all kids are going to grow up to write academic papers in their career for their entire life.

Should students be writing expository often? Obviously. Most college writing is expository in nature and it should be mastered before you get there.

But how do we raise the next JK Rowling when creative writing
is barely touched in school?

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I Read 6 Books in 2017…

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But I accomplished so many other things I had never planned for, so is that really something to be ashamed of?

Hello friends! Long time, no post!

So I logged into Goodreads on 12/29 and was so depressed when I saw how far from my minuscule 30-book goal I still was. 30 books is barely one per 2 weeks. I had friends accomplish their 75-100 book goals! What! Continue reading