What I've Written About

Monday, November 29, 2010

How do you do it?

I've been blogging pretty heavily (at least for me, the used to be queen of the once-a-month blog), following lots of people, facebooking, trying to Twitter, etc. etc. etc

Can I just say that it is consuming ALL of my time. AND I HATE that it is.

See before someone told me that I needed to start promoting myself and joining social networking sites, and gaining followers, I used to be a mom, a full time employee, and a writer. Now I feel like I am being controlled one hundred per cent by my computer and the internet.

Don't get me wrong. I've found some fabulous blogs to follow and new friends and lots of ideas to inspire me. But it is sucking away my entire life.

For me, it is a miracle to get even one blog post up a week, and yet I see these people who do one every day. I see people who tweet and twitter every two minutes, and change their status update on Facebook three times a day, and I just have to ask...

Does your life revolve around facebook updates, twitter tweets, reading blogs, writing blogs, following blogs, etc? And if it does, do you work full time?

Sometimes I feel like the only working mom who is crazy enough to take on this kind of craziness. Is this true? Is it not?

So I guess what I'm doing is taking a poll.
Comment on one or all of these questions.

1. How many sites are you a part of (facebook, twitter, blogger, etc.,etc.)?
2. How many blog posts do you do a week?
3. How many people to do follow?
4. How do you keep up on all the people you follow without burning out?
5. Do you work full time/ part time/ or from the home?
6. What advice can you give to me in order to keep up with it all and not have it consume every spare minute of my life?

And that's it. I feel like my writing is suffering because I'm networking so much I don't have time for it anymore. It makes me sad. :-( I miss writing.

What would you do if you were me?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cubies Are Special...Wait...What's a Cubie?

Okay, Okay, so I know that ninety per cent of people, possibly more, don't know what a Cubie is.

That's okay.

I don't blame you right now, but just know that in five years (if you still don't know what that is) you will be out of the loop...


See I belong to what is (in my opinion) the best writing group of all time. No. No. Don't tell me yours is good too. I won't believe you.

I've written about my love for them here and here. Go ahead and read those posts. They say a lot about how fabulous we all are. :-)

Well, this group is called "WRITERS CUBED", and we lovingly refer to each other as cubies. (I know that's a little teenager-y, but we write YA for the most part, so that makes it okay).

How did we come up with this name?

Let me share a little tidbits with you about the "specialness" of cubes.

1. Cubes are equal in proportion, size, and shape on every side. This makes it so that everything is equal: the sides, the vertices, the faces, the baces, etc. (Not unlike the Knights of the Round Table, except for much better, because everyone still knew Arthur was the "leader" of that little group even though we supposed to be on equal footing. (Sorry...off on a tangent). Everyone in our group is equal. Whether we've written one story or four, have been published or not, we treat each other as the same. It's awesome.

2. At any time, one of the faces can be the base of the cube. This means that we split the duties of holding everything together equally. We have times when we listen and be a "face" and other times when we lead and be the "base." Great sharing of responsiblities.

3.With the cube, the volume is equal to the third power of any of its dimensions. Which means, as a whole, the cube is equal to three times the amount of any of the sides. Our writers group feels that we are greater when combined together than we would be navigating the world of writing and publishing on our own.

Pretty cool huh?

But what does this have to do with you?

Our group has just launched a new website. Writer's Cubed
(click on word to go to the site...or click on the picture in my sidebar)

Our goal is to help other writers "hang in there" "keep at it" and generally "stick together". Create your own CUBE of writing friends who bolster you up, hold you together, and be your base and support every once in a while.

So head on over there and become a follower. You won't regret it.

(Well, maybe you will...but I don't see why...)

Thanks CUBIE friends for always being there for me. For pushing me to keep writing when I really want to give up or feel like the worst writer in the world. For being my friends through this whole crazy journey!

What about all of you? Who supports you in your writing/blogging journey? Who inspires you to be better than you are?

Don't have that? We can help... WRITERS CUBED! wants to help you become the best writer you can be. :-)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Homework Hatred...You'll Thank Me Later.

I am an adult now. I have been for, oh, about a while. However, there is one thing I have never grown out of...


Lest you think I'm lazy, which I'm not, I'm going to give you some very good reasons why homework is a complete waste of time. All of these reasons have been proven with research into child education. (I just didn't want to dredge up my old college and workshop papers to cite references.)

Feel free to tell your child's teacher these reasons the next time your second grader is given an assignment to do a five page report on a country, or do thirty math problems, or fill out a grammar worksheet.

Are you ready?

The only homework EVER to have proven that it improves the way your child thinks is READING. And I'm not talking a little bit here. Thirty to forty minutes is minimum, and I'm not kidding. Of course, this includes you reading aloud to them and talking about what you read and them reading on their own. So if they are little, you read more, if they are older they read more. That's it. It is the ONLY kind of homework that has been proven with research to actually do something for your child. Got it? The only thing!

2) MATH:
Math is only improved by doing lots of problems if your child is getting them perfect every time. If a child is long dividing wrong, doing thirty problems only ingrains the wrongness in their brains and makes them do it wrong forever. In fact, it has been proven that if a child can show they get five problems right, in a row, without any help at all, they know how to do that kind of math. They shouldn't need to do any more than that. In my opinion, teachers just assign that many to make themselves look like they are teaching a lot, but I'd like to know, if you assigned my child forty-five problems, and there are forty-five problems on the page, which problems did they do with the teacher? Hmmmm...think about that for a minute.

The reason that writing homework is so dumb is that teachers don't teach the child how to do the assignment before they assign it. Do you know how frustrating it is when my child comes home, says they have to write a two page report on something, and then has no clue on how to do it? I equate it to teaching someone how to build a house by handing them a hammer and a saw and saying, "You have a hammer and saw right? Good luck!". It makes no sense, but often a teacher hands my child a pencil and a piece of paper and says, "Create an essay. You have the paper and pencil right? Good Luck." I'm not against you assigning it. You just better teach them how to do it first. Because, you see, a parent's job is to support and help. A teacher's job is to teach. End of story.

Okay, this is my number one pet peeve. Once again, they are something a teacher assigns and never teaches. If you are going to assign my child to make a diorama, you better show them how that is done AND give them the materials to do it. If you want them to make a paper mache of a state, you better teach them how to mix paper mache and mold it into something. If you want them to write a song in honor of a past president, you better have taught them the musical notes, poetry, and rhythm. Do you see what I'm saying? This kind of homework is homework for parents, not kids. And if you as a teacher can not explain the educational benefit "the child" gains by doing this project, then it isn't a worthwhile project. I am busy enough in my life. I have to jump through hoops all day. I don't need more busy work. I've got enough going as it is.
*Note:Parent led projects are a product of nineteen fifties education. The problem is that back then we were training them to work in a factory. Part of what they needed to learn was to jump through stupid hoops and shut up so they wouldn't get fired. Now we are competing globally. They should be doing things that make them marketable--which would be becoming better readers, writers, and users of oral language. Enough said.

Above all else, my problem with meaningless homework is that it is given to "force" parents into supporting their children in school. I don't need to be coerced into helping my child with things that will really improve the way they think and the way they problem solve. I care about that. I care about things that have been proven to make my child a better student. You don't need to "Make" me do it. Because if you do, I will hate your guts when I'm running to the supermarket at one o'clock in the morning to pick up posterboard to make a collage of things that start with the letter 'A'.

Bonus Bad? The parents who don't really care about what is happening at school don't help their child with the crazy homework. Then their child doesn't ever do the homework, and the child is blamed because their "parent" didn't do their homework. That doesn't make sense. Don't assign it if a child can't do it themselves without a minimum amount of support.

Last, I want you to know I'm not just an angry parent spouting off my beliefs. I am an educator. I taught fifth grade in public schools for nine years and am currently a Literacy Specialist for my school district. My main fight is always about homework and how it really benefits the child doing it. Most of the things teachers still assign at school are products of nineteen fifties (or earlier) beliefs. The world has changed and so should the homework...that's all I'm saying.

So the next time your child is given some whacked out school assignment to build a working replica of a Native American settlement, feel free to print off this blog post. Or at the very least, ask the teacher what educational benefit your child is gaining from doing this asinine busy work, and what they (as the teacher) have taught the students about Native American villages and how they ran. (Because you can know how a Native American settlement worked, ran, and looked without ever having to build one.)

         (Now that is a twenty-first century thinker)

What about you? Do you hate homework? Like it for the bonding time you get with your child? Or are you just happy you are out of that faze of your life?

Signing Off,


To play along in our visit through the alphabet...go to Jenny's...Jenny Matlock

Monday, November 1, 2010

No No to the NaNo

It's National Novel Writing Month and I can honestly say...

There is no freaking way I will ever get a full novel written in one month. So I'm not even gonna try.

I'm the type of writer who tries to get everything right the first time. Or at least "right enough" that I only have to re-draft seven or eight times.

I work full time, take care of three kids and a husband (so you might as well count that as four kids), help with homework, write, exercise, blog, be a friend, and try to sneak in a few hours of sleep every night. If that makes you tired, it should. It certainly makes me tired.

But I'm off on a tangent. I guess what I'm trying to say is that there isn't much room in my life to do things a million times because I didn't get it right the first go around.

Anyway...I did think it would be a good time to set a lofty goal for myself in regards to my writing, because frankly, the other facets of my life have almost nixed my attempts to get something on the page. Therefore--




My humongous goal--that is going to be stinking impossible to accomplish, but I am determined to do it--is toWrite 30,000 words in the month of November on my current manuscript.

I figure that if I "Put it out there" then I will be more likely to try to accomplish said goal. It will be HARD. But isn't that what a lofty goal is supposed to be?


DO IT...




What is your goal for the month of November?