Tag Archives: ugh

AND then….

So I fell off the low-carb wagon again. And I’m a mess. UGH.

Tomorrow is going to be the new day 1, or I’ll blink and be a size 24 again.

We have five days left this year. The psychology of school in June for the first time is pretty surprising. I didn’t expect it. I mean it’s five days. Big deal, right? Turns out that answer is YES!

Tomorrow the new staff meets after school in the newsroom. I’m looking forward to that. And we start finals. And the seniors start signing the wall. And we’re one day closer to the end of the year. And I work for a great boss. And I have awesome students. And I work with some amazing people. And Donna didn’t die on The West Wing…which has NOTHING to do with school except The West Wing Season 5 was my escape this weekend and for three episodes, I thought my favorite character was going to die, which I think is probably directly related to the whole falling off the low-carb wagon thing. Anyway, Donna didn’t die and neither did Leo…which, I’m just saying, I’d need a gallon of Chunky Monkey if Leo died….I figure with all these almost die moments, someone is going to die and I’m going to hate The West Wing Writers for life.

So yeah, it’s been a weird year. And these last five days are going to be hot, hot, hot, but we do have a chance for rain Friday.

I need summer. Somehow, I bet I’m not alone.

Stop Yer Whining….

Okay, I KNEW this revision was going to be tough. I’d done a quick pass once. Sent the work to some friends (even though I know better than to do that in the throes of I finished a book! adrenaline.

My friends who read the work were sweet. They said things like “I really like Sam and Patty but…” and “It seems like you could use a little more something….” and “you know, I can’t really see anything in the story. It needs some fleshing out maybe.” and…. “Your end conflict…completely unbelievable.”

So I put Sam and Patty’s story aside to look at later. And I drafted another book. And I came back to Sam and Patty and I loved the story still. I mean so what that it’s just a bunch of dialogue with some paint swatches thrown in for color every once in a while. I agreed totally with the end conflict cliche I’d written, so I fixed that. But something wasn’t right.

So I put Sam and Patty’s story aside to look at later. And I drafted another book. And I came back to Sam and Patty and OH DEAR GOD. I’ve written some awesome dialogue. For paper dolls. This poor story couldn’t be more flat. It isn’t a real story at all!!! It’s a detailed outline. A beginning. But nowhere near done.

And so the revision work…the real revision work not editing work…starts.

That’s my self-publishing word of warning. It’s easy to hit publish on a book that’s not ready. Find people you trust to give you feedback on whether the story is ready. And read a ton. I know the books I’ve read the last three months helped me see the gaping holes in this story. I mean the whole time I was reading and making notes tonight I was thinking What Would Jill Shalvis Do? AND Where is the Karen Templeton Emotion? And write a ton. Those other two drafts I’ve written are drafts…I know that. The second one is better than this one, but it’s still a draft. The third one is waaaayyyyy better than this one and the next, but it’s still a draft.

I’ve got a lot of work to do.

Friends who so kindly let me know this book wasn’t ready without totally killing my writer soul…thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!



Just when…

I love my job. And I think I’m pretty decent at it. Sometimes I have a bit of a big head about myself. It’s not a good problem to have.
After today, the problem no longer exists.

Wasted Time

I spent Friday afternoon in an inservice called Reaching the Disinterested Student. The woman presenting, Lynne Weber, was fabulous. Well worth my time.
I’m pretty good at reaching these kids. They’re often my favorites. I know it’s wrong to have favorites, but it’s an amazing thing to work with a kid who says I can’t and watch them start to believe I can.
I had this incredibly smart guy in my intro class this semester. He never passed classes, but he had a ton of great ideas and when we discussed student rights, the first amendment, the importance of the press, I could pretty much guarantee he’d actively participate in the lesson, even play devil’s advocate when necessary. Talk about higher order thinking.
The problem was he hated writing. He told me he couldn’t do it. He started coming in for tutorials and I realized he wasn’t joking. He physically couldn’t write. Not easily anyway.
So I told him to stop trying. To use the computer and to never try writing with a pen in my class again.
Once we jumped that hurdle, it was easy to show him the greatness of journalism. One-two sentence paragraphs. Stories built around what other people say.
As was evident in the three complete stories he turned in in one week.
He had to make a 100 on the last assignment to pass and he did. (Okay. Truth is, if he hadn’t made a 100, he would’ve passed, but I didn’t tell him that!) One of two students in my intro classes to make the 100.
I’d say I spent at least an extra hour a week with this kid. At least.
And he did it. He passed. He learned. He contributed to the class and found success. Something he’s not all that used to.
Great teaching moment.
Until Monday. When he didn’t show up for class. And then Tuesday. And then Wednesday.
So I e-mailed his counselor.
And learned he’d been allowed to drop the class EIGHT weeks into the semester, even though he passed. Without my consent. Without even a, “hey, by the way, this kid wants to drop journalism.”
What I want to do is pick up the phone, call his mom and say the education system is trying desperately to deprive your son of learning just because he doesn’t want to work and learned he could get in a study hall and sleep. But since he’s already dropped the class, I can’t very well do that. Because now, if he comes back into my class, he’ll be resentful and angry.
I can, however, stop by the counselors office on Tuesday, talk to the administrator in charge and vent. You better believe I will.
And I might end with something like this. I don’t know how much you spent bringing in the incredible speaker to talk about reaching the disinterested student, but until everyone in this office believes it, you’re wasting your money and my time.