Welcome 2020!

Happy New Year y’all!

In my last post, I wrote and told y’all my new year’s resolution was to complete my manuscript, and I’m so excited to announce that I have officially began working on it full force.  It’s in full swing and it has been since December 30th!  Being that I’m writing my memoir, in short story form, I have several short stories written but need a lot of revising.  I’ve been putting a lot of thought into how I’m going to work them all out.  This in turn made me realize, I have to feel out which short stories to work on and when it’s the best time to work on each of them.  In other words, I can’t just work on one, finish it, and then continue on to the next short story in line.  Rather, I need to feel each story out.  For instance, to give you an example, I felt the need to work revisions in a short story about forgiving myself.  I can’t move on and work on a different short story about a memory until I have first forgiven myself for many of the choices I’ve made in my life which gave me the memories I’m writing about.

I’ve also decided to share excerpts from my written work.  How great does that sound?  I would love for y’all to purchase my first book once it’s published, but why would y’all buy my book if y’all have no clue what’s in it, right?  Personally, I don’t purchase a book without first having a little knowledge of the writer or it’s contents.

In “A Letter to Myself”, I wrote it because I have to first, forgive myself, but I also wrote it because I needed help forgiving myself.  I needed to write it so I could find the positive outcomes during some rough patches in my life.  Every obstacle I have faced taught me something.  In learning from it, I share the lesson in writing to help others possibly going through the same thing, or facing a similar obstacle of their own.  That’s who I am.  That’s what I do.

So, without further ado, here’s an excerpt from “A Letter to Myself”—–

“Keep in mind, life might not have happened as you planned, but it still happened, and you still obtained everything you were after.  The only difference was the journey.”

“Your life didn’t happen the way Granny planned either, but she wanted you to have the life she wanted and cheated herself out of- finishing high school, going to college, falling in love, marriage, and raising a family.  She didn’t want that for you, but for herself.  She was trying to live her life vicariously through you.  She had her own lessons to learn, through you, the unknowing teaching implement, but she was an unteachable student.”

 

I hope y’all enjoyed reading that small portion of my most recently, completely revised piece.  I was certainly a task to write, but you know what, I feel like I finally freed myself from a burden I should have never carried in the first place.  Like I can finally accept that while a lot of people in my past expected certain things from me, it matters more what I expect from myself.

In closing, I want you to know that I’ll be sharing many more excerpts from my book as I work on it and further it’s contents.  I have a lot to write about and I look forward to sharing more and more of it with all of you.  My goal is to finish my manuscript by the end of April, my birthday, and submit it to Page Publishing for, fingers crossed, publication!  Until then, I’m working on it one day at a time, writing on story at a time.  At the present moment, I’m revising “Not Quite Nestle” about a cookie baking experience gone very wrong.

Thanks for reading!

 

Moving Forward

I’ve spent the last few weeks cleaning and organizing my home office because, well, I needed to.  I needed to get myself completely on track which is why I wrote an itinerary.  Instead of working on a 4-burner stove, I’ve got 6-8 burners going, or it seems like that at times.  Keeping lists has improved my organization skills and switching to a 4-color Bic pen made a difference.  When I organize, I really organize!  Call me OCD.  I promise, it won’t hurt my feelings.  Plus, you wouldn’t believe the difference it makes to merely ‘dress the part’ for your business because it’s made a big difference for me.  When I’m writing, or creating the month’s magazine, or even sitting through online Class Connect with my daughter as her Learning Coach, I may be doing all of these things at home, but I like ‘looking the part’; dressing for the office.  It’s a self-motivator; to take myself serious.

We went back to school this week.  It’s a blessing because I’m able to watch my daughter educationally grow in online school, but it also means summer is officially over.  This year is her last year in middle school, so it’ll be a little bittersweet, but like every year before, I’ll have fond memories to reminisce on and write about in my memoir series.

Speaking of going back to school, I’ve started using social media to converse with other parents and Learning Coaches affiliated with Georgia Cyber Academy through a closed Facebook group.  Maybe, as the year progresses on, I can introduce my magazine.  Maybe they’ll sponsor our magazine!  I don’t know how exactly it works, but I won’t know unless I inquire; and research.

I noticed, I’m growing as a writer.  I’m busting through that final brick wall of self-doubt, allowing myself to write with a creativity that scares me.  I was writing a nonfiction piece for the August issue of McKraft’s Literary Magazine, about school cafeteria food.  I wound up titling it Smells Like School-Made Spaghetti.  The way I described some of the foods I wrote about, not only did I laugh at my own descriptive writing uncontrollably, but I also hesitated because I worried my descriptive writing would offend a reader, or readers.  My hubby is a big help in that area because he does all my proofreading.  We make the perfect team because of this.  He proofs my writing and I proof his.

As for my magazine; we’re still creating it, and it’s building per monthly issue.  I’m no longer printing them out because cost became entirely too much for our extremely limited budget, but I think I prefer going digital where this is concerned.  The cost comparison is definitely persuadable.  The August issue of McKraft’s Literary Magazine I created as I said before with ‘Back to School” in mind.  From my nonfiction piece about school food in the 90’s, my daughter’s essay about her love for GCA, to the cover art done entirely by me. I also included a very simple recipe for manipulatable no-bake cheesecake that makes for a nice slice of tasty, sweet after-school snack.  Yum!

Since creating a working itinerary, my manuscript is beginning to come along again.  Slowly build.  I just finished writing a story piece about my experience on September 11, 2001 for our upcoming issue of McKraft’s.  When I originally wrote the story, I was writing to submit it to Chicken Soup for the Soul- Spirit of America.  No success.  I thought about it again while brainstorming a theme for September, so I grabbed it up and rewrote it.  It’s going in our September issue of McKraft’s, but I’m also including it in my manuscript.  I’m pretty proud of my rewrite.

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“Homeschooling, Blogging, and Writing my Book”

I woke up this morning feeling ready to conquer the world, and by world I mean my planned projects which I’ve been happily writing into my daily agenda.  I took the weekend to rest and relax, and to do some thinking (especially after I was rejected for a writing position I applied to earlier last week.  I received the rejection email Friday.)    I soon came to realize I lost track of what I’m aiming for.  I lost focus on my purpose and therefore forgot what my prize is.  So, last night, I decided, my focus is on three things–my daughter’s education, my blog, and my manuscript.

Well, by the time first class connect dismissed, I was ready for a break because my daughter seemed to have woke up with an attitude.  She wanted to be mouthy, she had something to say for everything I said, or something one of her classmates would say in chat, or she wanted to do things her way–meaning wait to do her homework after school instead of during the last 15-20 minutes she had left in class to work in the ‘quiet work room’.  I told her she was doing it then because the assignment she wanted to do, an essay for English, she could do on her own.  Her homework she was going to want my help with.  She didn’t like it, and she exaggerated a sigh the way she always does when she isn’t happy with something I said or tell her to do.  As I said, she was already in a mood, so her mouth eventually wore on me.  By the time class connect was over, I needed a break from her, so I went down to transfer loads of laundry.  That didn’t the way I wanted either.

My schedule is not going as smooth as I wanted it to go today, but I’m accomplishing it all just the same, so far.  I still have two short stories I want to reread and make edits where necessary.  One is almost finished, the other is only the rough draft.  I can do it, but I have to keep focused.  School, my blog, and my book.  That is what I’m putting all my concentration into from now on.

I’m a mother, a teacher, and a writer-to-become-author.

I just hate when things in life happen in daily life that put a hindrance in one’s well-planned scheduling.  A defiant attitude from a daughter whose just entered her teen years, a load of laundry wrapping itself into a tight ball rather than drying in the dryer correctly, or the fact that it’s Monday and Mondays seem to be the ‘long’ day at the office every week.  I can see why now, but it doesn’t mean I like it.  I accept it because it’s what I do best, but I’m still going to be real about it.  I just have to remember what I’m focusing on.  Homeschooling my daughter and helping her gain an education, writing my blog to share thoughts, experiences, and lessons, and working on my manuscript, or writing my book–whatever you want to call it.  Those are the things that are important to me right now.

 

“Write, Wait, Repeat”

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn being a writer is the amount of patience I have to have to get published.  Your first submitted story never makes the cut, so receiving that first acceptance letter takes forever.  Years.

I’ve been submitting short stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul since 2014.  It’s been a very long, very trying road, and it continues to be, but I keep writing, and I’m still submitting.  My writing has improved greatly through the passing time.  However, I’ve learned another lesson because of this trying process–don’t look for the email.  You’re almost better in forgetting that you submitted a story, but we all know better than to believe we can forget about something we really really want.  Whenever Amy Newmark shares a new cover design for a book on Twitter, I save it to my phone.  I know and remember the stories I’ve submitted to what titles, I can’t help but to keep track because I’m proud of that work.  My work.  I surprise myself every time I read one of my own polished peices.  I’m all like, “I wrote that!?”

I think the worst thing a writer can do to themselves is wait for that acceptance email because it just makes it worse when you never receive it.  Another thing I have learned is to constantly remind myself that it’s not that my stuff is crap.  I’ve been following Chicken Soup for the Soul long enough to understand that most of the time, it’s not me or my writing, it’s the direction or the multiplicity of common topic stories.  For instance, I submitted a story to Chicken Soup: Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone.  My story Retail To Detail didn’t make the cut, but I still attended Chicken Soup for the Soul’s twitter launch party for the book.  I got to greet and converse with all the other contributors that were in the book.  One of the contributors wrote a story about how he landed a job as the weatherman on the news.  Well, in learning this, I realized my story was written on a similar note, so it was no wonder my story wasn’t chosen.

Coming to this realization, I’m still writing and I’m still submitting because one day it’ll happen, but never look for the email to come.  Besides, all my work doubles for my own book series, Y’all Didn’t Hear it From Me–my personal memoir.