BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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Go For It!

images.jpegIt sounds like a good idea, right? Identify your goal and hop to it. Go out there and grab hold of your dreams! That’s the American Way, isn’t it? Is it? I’m not sure.

I’m not sure of a lot of things. Like, for instance, what exactly my “goal” is at this particular point in my life.

I have goals, certainly. I have many of them, some large, some miniscule. So I suppose my question is how do I prioritize them? How do I decide WHICH goal is the “go out there and get it!” goal? Or are there multiples of those? In which case, the new question becomes, how on earth do I go out and conquer all that stuff????

Well, I’m a firm believer in divide and conquer, so there’s that. But then we go back to the prioritizing issue. What to tackle first?

When paying down debt there are two main schools of thought. The first states that you should allocate the majority of your efforts to eliminating the debt with the highest interest rate first, then tackle the next highest and so on. The second one suggests that you go after the smallest debt first, then the next smallest amount and so on, leaving the largest debt for last.

Both methods have their pros and cons, and both methods, if applied faithfully, will get you out of debt eventually. So what’s the right answer? I don’t know, but fortunately getting out of debt is one goal that I achieved several years ago, so I don’t have to worry about it. (By the way, I used the small amount first method, it helped me feel successful and empowered by the process).

Maybe I can use the same method with my goals. Maybe I should start with “baby steps” as Flylady says. Or, as my father used to put it, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” For now I will keep stepping to get my daily fitbit steps, I will keep working at revising my novel, I will keep sharing my writing with you all and my writing partners, and I will keep working to tackle the clutter that’s been invading my home bit by bit. I will also keep being the best teacher, mother, daughter, and partner I can be. That’s not too many goals, is it? Wish me luck, and if you have any advice, I’d love to hear it.

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Procrastination Strikes Again

procrastinator.jpgHere it is, Sunday night, the night that teachers around the world (or at least my world) dread.

Once again the weekend slipped by too quickly and all the things I PLANNED to do are still undone. All the work things, anyway.

Oh, there isn’t that much, only a couple of hours worth.

What? You don’t have a couple of hours of work to do on the weekend? Lucky you.

No worries, though, I’ll get the most critical stuff done and work my way through the rest of it during the week. You see, I’m that kind of teacher. The kind that stays late most nights. The kind that stays up too late so I can enjoy my family. The kind that agonizes over exactly how much detail I’m going to require on a particular assignment. Basically, the average teacher.

This average teacher, however, is a terrible procrastinator, which is why I need to log off of here and go get my work done. After all, school starts in less than twelve hours! Have a good week, everyone.


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Am I Really A Writer?

I like to think of myself as many things. Some of them are irrefutable. I am a mother. I am a teacher. These are simple facts. I have a son, therefore I am a mother. I go to work each day and spend the day teaching fourth grade students, therefore I am a teacher.

What else am I, though? And how do we verify these different identities?

Lately I’ve been a writer. How does one become a writer? By writing, some would say, but many others would say that one becomes a writer only when one’s writing has been published. Even that definition isn’t sufficient for many people. I’ve heard the argument that in order to be considered a writer one must be published and paid for one’s writing.

Well, I do write. And I have been published. I publish here, in my own little corner of the internet, regularly. Nobody pays me for it, though. I’ve also been published on other websites, like Scary Mommy and Education Week. Again, no money in that, but to me it’s still pretty cool.

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My design!

I have actually been paid to write. Not much, but I’ve submitted tips to a teaching publication that have been published and I’ve been compensated for them. I also designed a fish quilt that not only made it to the cover of Quiltmaker, a well-known quilting publication (it’s an inset photo, but hey, it’s still on the cover), and the design was turned into a kit complete with gorgeous watery indigo fabrics and magentas and purples for the fish. I was paid for that too, not much, but still they cut me a check. That one, however, wasn’t really a writing win, even though I was published.

I’ve been writing for NaNoWriMo, too. I finished a manuscript during NaNoWriMo in 2013, and I’ve been revising it with help from my critique group (another thing real writers do, I’m told). Now I’m into a new one story, about a young English teacher who needs to solve a mystery that threatens the security she’s found amongst the quilters she meets in a small town. See what I did there? Teaching, quilting, things I know and like.

I also teach writing. I teach it to my fourth graders, sure, but I’ve been teaching it in the summer too, for the past three years. Kids from seven to seventeen have come to these camps, and working with them as they explore the creative side of writing has been such a privilege for me. We’re not focused on grammar, structure, or spelling in these camps. We’re focused on imagination, empowerment, and risk-taking. We’re helping kids to develop their voices through their writing, whether in a poem about a leaf or an ode to their dog or a comic about super heroes and villains or an introspective look at their own strengths.

This type of writing is so powerful for kids that I’ve begun an after-school creative writing club at my school that is well attended. Both boys and girls come in to write and share their writing, blasting the stereotype we sometimes hear that “writing is for girls.” I’m sure Stephen King, James Patterson, Dav Pilkey, Neil Gaiman, Alberto Ríos, and many others would disagree.

So yes, I’m a writer, even though you won’t see anything I’ve done on the shelves at Barnes & Noble and if you search me on Amazon you’ll come up empty. I’ll keep at it, though, and maybe someday you will see my work there. Maybe someday soon.