Merry Christmas Eve Eve

Good morning y’all!

I know, I know.  I’ve neglected to write anything in quite some time.  I’m almost ashamed I haven’t written, but I’ve been going through a lot of things, dealing with a lot of things, and as a result, overcoming a lot of things.  Going into drastic details would take up entirely too much time and probably bore everyone who reads this to death, or at the least, put everyone to sleep.  I don’t want to do that.  I’ll just say, every step forward is an accomplishment and it’s healing.

Normally, this enchanting time of the year is frustrating, what with commercial Christmas things lining retail and grocery store shelves before Halloween stuff goes out, memories of loved ones passing surfacing my mind, budget worry, as well as work related efforts stressing my mental health to the max.  This year, all that changed because I’m in a place of my own, just my husband, daughter, and myself.  My reputation as a VIPKid teacher has finally been established causing my confidence level to skyrocket through the roof and I’m so incredibly proud of myself for that!  In addition, my spending budget is leveling out comfortably.  What’s been bothering me is my anxiety.

My mental health is fabricating things my conscious mind knows I should not be worrying about.  A couple weeks ago, I walked, well, paced my way through an anxiety attack, yet I have no idea why I was having an anxiety attack.  All I can guesstimate is things in my life are turning around and I’m wondering, ‘what’s the catch?’  You know?  I wasn’t thinking about the bad things, because I’ve been too busy moving forward, preparing for all the stuff I want to do in the new year.  I wasn’t thinking about my husband parents who passed during this time in 2007.  I was merely sitting on our couch, doing nothing.  I can only conclude it’s because I wasn’t doing anything.  I wasn’t occupying my thoughts, so because I wasn’t occupying my thoughts, I was noticing every internal feeling in my body, and because I haven’t been to see a doctor in so long, thanks to lack of health insurance, I mentally panicked.

Well, I fixed that.  I walked my anxiety off and moved forward.  One of the many things I’ve been blessed with this year, since moving into my own place, is I finally have health insurance again.  So, having this, I made a call and scheduled myself an appointment for after the first of the year.  I’m not worried there’s something wrong with me, I’m worried because I haven’t seen a doctor in a few years.  Like five years, to be exact.

Well, enough of that news.  Moving on…

The new year is quickly approaching, but unlike 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016, I’m preparing and I’m ready.  This year, I’ve made a new year’s resolution I can actually keep.  In detail, I have my 2020 calendar year written and ready to fill with class bookings and writing schedules.  I have a plan, in writing, to work on my manuscript and have it completed within a few months, and this includes rewriting some of the material which I noticed in rereading it, still needs work.  I realized, last year, I wrote with a lot of hate.  This year, I’m transforming all the hate into experience and lessons.  After all, it’s why I chose a career in writing.  I have so much life experience to share, but I need to leave the hate out because it doesn’t do any good to hate.  Hate only makes a person mean.

I’m also going to post on my blog much more.  At least once a month.  I’ve gained so many followers since starting my blog and with saying this, I want to thank each and every one for choosing to follow my blog.  I am so thankful for every one of you because your follows are proof that I can express myself in writing and you enjoy reading it.  I only wish my parents understood my reason for what I write, but I also accept the fact they will probably never understand my purpose.

Well, having said all this, I’m closing out for now, until next year.  Can you believe it?  Next Monday is the last day of 2019!  Where did the year go?  It went like every year before it has- good and bad, with obstacles and accomplishments, with struggles and lessons, and I met and made some new friends thanks to all of it.  I am truly blessed!

From me and my family to you and yours, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and a Feliz Navidad.  If I left one out, please, leave me a comment so I can wish you yours as well because I don’t want to leave anyone out.  Educate me on how you celebrate your holiday traditions.

In closing, thank you for reading!  Love to everyone this holiday season!

Thinking, Writing, and Reflecting About Chicken Soup for the Soul

Hey y’all!

I am a writer and because I am a writer, I think a lot.  A Lot.  I think about my past and I think about my future and all the things I want to do.  Most of it has to wait until after my daughter graduates from high school which will be in another three years, but at the same time, I can do many of the things I want to do now, in the present time, because I’ve been blessed with the ability to work from home, as an English teacher.

One of the things I want to do is publish.  I want this about as much as I’ve wanted everything else I’ve been blessed with in my life because I love writing so much.  I love sketching to, but writing allows me to bare a piece of my soul that I can’t do in creating artwork.  Yes, I know writing is just another form of artwork, but writing is also different from sketching.  In writing, I can talk about the many obstacles I’ve overcome and what I learned from those obstacles.  When I sketch, I create pictures that make me happy.  Writing also makes me happy, but differently than sketching does.

Someday, I want to see my written short stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul because Chicken Soup for the Soul is the most widely known nonfiction short story compilations book around the world.  I began reading them when I was just 14 years old.  I recommend then to anyone I know and everyone I meet.  I recommended Chicken Soup for the Girls Soul to my daughter’s best friend in gymnastics.  She’s a couple years younger than my daughter, but she loves to read, according to her grandparents.  Not only did I lend them my copy, but after reading the book and returning it to me, her grandmother went out and bought herself a copy of a more recent title, Chicken Soup for the Grandparents Soul.  I don’t know how often this happens to other people, but it was a first for me.

I’ve been writing and submitting short stories to them for the last two years and one thing I can say for sure is my ability to write is improving.  When I first started trying, yes, I wrote crap.  Boring and unacceptable for publication; and obviously not what they were looking for.  Now, two years later, reading my own work chokes me up, but maybe I’m just partial to my own work.  Rather than being my own worst critic, I’m over complimentary to myself.  I used to have my husband simply proofread my material, then I click the submit button and off it went to their inbox.  Now, I’ve improved the writing process, asking him to critique my material, not once, but twice.  The first critique is always for direction.  The second critique is to fix anything which doesn’t sound right, or doesn’t fit.  If and when he gives me an all-clear, I then ask him to proofread it for me to clear my grammatical mistakes.

I know publishing is a hit and miss no matter who you’re trying to publish with.  When it comes to Chicken Soup for the Soul, my single short story entry is only 1 in about 5000.  As of current, the only time I’ve ever received a personal message from Amy Newmark herself, it was to ask for my mailing address to mail me a couple signed books, per winning a book drawing.  It was an incredible experience, but nothing like I imagine it’s going to be when the day comes I receive an email, that my short story has been chosen for publication in a future title.

So far, I’ve submitted a short story to each of these future titles; ‘Laughter is the Best Medicine’, ‘Listen to Your Dreams’, ‘Stories About Christmas’, ‘Stories About Self-Care and Me Time’, and ‘You Go, Girl’.  The short story I wrote for ‘You Go, Girl’ is, in my opinion, my personal best.

In closing, I write to clear my head of the most concentrated thought swirling inside.  Chicken Soup for the Soul is my most favorite book series.  I can’t deny that and I won’t deny it.  I know my day will come, and when it does, I’ll laugh, I’ll cry, and I’ll jump up and down like a crazy high school girl finding out that the boy she likes, likes her back.  I’ll probably run to my neighbors and share with them this most exciting news of my life, but I am not going to deny myself the emotion of finally accomplishing what I’ve been working so hard to do since I began my writing journey.  I’ll tell you what else I’m not going to do, when sharing my news with my parents, who don’t completely understand the lengthy time and amount of patience writing a single story can take, regardless of story length, nor the hit and miss of publicating, I am not going to allow their happy-so-so attitude to clash with my over-the-moon-top-of-the-world-basking-in-personal-accomplished-glory attitude.  After all, this isn’t about them, this is about me.  They will be happy for me, supportive, and accepting, and that’s all I really can ask for.

Thank you for reading y’all!

 

Monday of Mondays

The beginning of a new work week is always a long, drawn out drag.  Laundry, school, and anything else that finds it’s way into my schedule.  I’m not complaining, just stating a fact is all.  It’s the same story every Monday.  I’m just writing about it for a change.

I begin the day feeling well-rested and motivated to take on any chore.  By the time school is over, and all homework is completed, I feel as if I’ve been run over, mentally, by a freight train.  One of the many negatives to being a writer, but it’s an occupation I love to hate.

I’m revisiting a lot of rough drafts I previously thought were polished stories.  Either that, or I’ve really grown in the last 6 months.  Between revising a short piece I titled ‘Chicken Slick’ about a recipe that’s been passed down through several generations, and another short piece titled ‘Christmas Crash Site’ I’m rewriting to submit to Chicken Soup for the Soul, I’d say my week is pretty well planned.

I really hope it doesn’t sound like I’m complaining about my job, because really I’m not.  Writing is my release.  I don’t like complaining to people about my woes because we all have them, whether we like, love, or hate our jobs.  As a homeschooling mother, I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.  Every job, every position has it’s ups and downs.  I prefer to stress myself out making sure my daughter’s grades are where I think they should be and working one-on-one with her, to stressing over the dreaded phone call I used to get from her brick and mortar school, everyday, because she was misbehaving so badly her teachers couldn’t handle her.  What a nightmare that used to be!

In Science class today, while her teacher is trying to teach about Newton’s ‘second law’, only a few were making an effort to participate.  So, her teacher nicely told everyone to virtually raise their hands to let her know they were present and actively participating.  The turnout wasn’t so nice.  Ten times, the teacher repeated herself, “Raise your hands if you are with me and can hear me.”  Ten times.  Out of 44 students, only 21 virtually raised their hands.  Not good.  So, she kicked them out.  I know it sounds harsh, and maybe even rude, but that’s why I like her Science teacher.  She’s no nonsense for the most part… as long as her students are following directions.  I’ve thought about becoming a teacher, but no.  I’ll stick to writing.

This evening I’m revising and rewriting ‘Chicken Slick’ because I know I can make it sound so much better than it’s current draft.  I seriously need to stop being afraid of my abilities.  It’s like I’m afraid of succeeding, or scared of my own potential, but it is only Monday.

Again, until tomorrow… and thanks for reading.

“Checking In, Write A Thought”

Good morning!  The sun is shining, the birds can be heard through my currently closed office window, and all school assignments, tests, and quizzes have been completed for the week.  It’s Friday!

Since speaking one-on-one with a person from Page Publishing this past Tuesday, I’ve been working faithfully on my manuscript, literally for a couple of hours every day since.  For the past two days though, I’ve been struggling for an angle to write a certain story.  I’m writing a piece to submit for Chicken Soup for the Soul’s “The Golden Years–Life After 60” topic about how my dad and ‘bonus’ mom met, and the obstacles they fought to be together.  Yesterday, I finally broke through the wall of thought, and I think I have a much stronger lead now than I gave myself to work with the other day.  Never settle just because it’s a rough draft.  If it doesn’t ‘feel’ right or workable, it’s probably trash.  There have been times it took me three to four tries to create a working rough draft.

Since speaking with the person from Page Publishing, I won’t lie, I’ve been thinking about the next steps–cover design, the possibility of seeing and holding my physical book in hand after it’s published, and book signings.  It’s quite the new world to explore; a rather ‘large’ world and ‘large’ doesn’t even really describe it.  New authors are coming out every day, and a lot of them are coming out as New York Times Bestselling authors.  I wouldn’t mind a taste of that title, but that’s only going to be possible if my book, my memoir, is deemed ‘publish worthy’.

It will be publish worthy, because I’m writing about life.  I’m writing about the things I’ve seen, how I’ve lived, the choices I made, the bad and the good, where I came from, the things I’ve learned, and I’m writing about all of this because it can help someone else in, and during their own tough times and situations.  There are always lessons to be learned, sometimes it takes words from a book or helpful advice from a friend, neighbor, family member, or complete stranger to see the error or the solution.  I have been that friend, neighbor, family member, or complete stranger with great advice, but I’m better in writing.