Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How I Became a Writer: looking at writing through a new lens


Back in 2006 I needed some credit hours to renew my teaching certificate.  It’s part of the deal being a teacher—you have to keep learning (imagine that!)  A fellow teacher-friend told me about a three-week workshop that was worth five credit hours.  Five credit hours in three weeks? That’s equivalent to taking two classes for a whole semester. For a teacher, that time-saver is like striking it rich!  Sign me up!

 The Eastern Iowa Writing Project  at Saint Ambrose University was my first real introduction to writing as a form of self-growth and reflection. I found out quickly that this workshop was not about using proper grammar and punctuation. Nor was it about writing a research or persuasive paper, instead it was about growing as a life-long learner through writing.

Here’s an actual excerpt from my journal (Yes, I keep them all—don’t judge):

We were having a discussion about reflection. I shared that I reflect every day, many times a day, and usually in brief, trying how to decide to best accomplish something and then reflect on ‘how it went’ too.  My question that day at EIWP was: Could my reflections be better/deeper/lead me to other places if I were to write them down?

Of course, the answer is yes, yes, yes! But the workshop facilitators did not confirm that for me that day, they knew I would learn the answer for myself!  I started journaling in 2006. Now, so many years later, I’ve written a novel; but more of that story later.  I’ll leave today with a quote from Educating Esme` by Esme` Paji Codell: “The goal is not necessarily to succeed but to keep trying, to be the kind of person who has ideas and sees them through.” 
I think that is the definition of success.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Read Local

Learning All I Can…

My community library holds an event called Read Local where authors from all over Iowa are invited to talk about their books, their writing process, and their road to publication (and whatever else they or the audience is interested in.)  I have attended a few of the events and plan to attend as many more as I can because each time I go, I learn something about myself as a writer.  The other night Joel W. Barrows shared his first published novel, Deep White Cover, a crime fiction about illegal immigration.

I found Joel to be very straight forward about the road to publication.  He shared his cautionary tale to us wanna be’s and reminded us to write for the love of having people read our stories.  Getting rich off of a book (or series of books) is akin to being a Hollywood star or a professional athlete.  Very few actors and athletes reach that pinnacle. Very few authors, too.  He went on to say that he would bet the very best novels ever written have never been published.

Joel is a regular guy. I like that about him.  He has a family and a job and he makes time to write. Not such an easy thing to do.  Writing takes time and concentration.  It’s like playing golf.  It has its own speed and you couldn’t make it into a tennis match if you tried.  Like Joel, as difficult as it can be, I make time to write.

Think about things you like to do.  How much time do you put into it? Who or what helps you get better at it? What rewards do you get from it?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Ideas, Opinions, Whims

Today is a new day, a new chapter in the big book of life! You know the last page before a new chapter?  The one that leaves you hanging, waiting to see what will happen next?  Well, that's where I'm at right now.

My name is Nadine and this is my super cool new blog!  :)  This is part of my new-chapter-in-life: to be a blogger! I've been lingering at the last page in the last chapter for a while. Now it's time to move on!  I'm a writer and perhaps, someday, a published author.  Writing my first novel has been an obsession of mine for about two years now. I'll share my journey down this crazy path in future posts.

I'm an avid reader, and while I'm not too much into non-fiction, I have read most fiction genres.  In future posts I'll talk about some of my favorite books.  We'll be going old school for a few of them.  Some of my post whims may include music lyrics, quotes, and silliness in words.

Additionally,  I've taught reading and writing for eighteen or so years.  I know how to teach kids to read and what to do if they're struggling.  I plan to intersperse some reading 'how-to' strategies along the way.  I have definite opinions about how kids should and should not be taught  - which I will also share.

I hope to see you here again.