Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What's Up Wednesday: First Time Out!

What's Up Wednesday is a meme to help reading and writing bloggers share their weeks! It's hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk--head over to their blogs for more info or to sign up!

What I'm Reading

I think I'm feeling the beginning of a slump: I feel like reading contemporary but whenever I pick one up, I get a few pages in and have to put it down because all I can see is how this finished book is miles and miles better than my first draft.  Usually I'm pretty good at taking that in stride and making note of what I like about the book I'm reading so I can try to emulate it; for whatever reason, that's not working for me right now.  So I finally picked up my copy of Taken by Erin Bowman, and promptly read 70 pages in what felt like five minutes.  Looks like I'm going to be taking a little break from contemporary!

What I'm Writing

 I'm plugging away, slowly but steadily, on this draft of what sort of started as my NaNo project (but now bears almost no resemblance to what I wrote in November, since I tossed the whole thing and started from scratch again back in March.)  My 300 words per day that are due to Jaime are usually more like 400-450, so (with days off) I'm up to about 35K over the last three months.  It's amazing how it adds up!  I'm also really looking forward to Ready. Set. Write! starting up--I'm hoping it will inspire me to push through the end of this draft and get to work on revisions.

What Inspires Me Right Now

Honestly?  The approaching end of school.  I really love the school where I've been teaching part-time and subbing (a lot!) this year.  My colleagues are dedicated, excited about their work, and in many cases, awesomely nerdy (like me!)  My students are delightfully strange and wonderful.  I'm really excited to go back next year, and I'm even looking forward to spending some time this summer creating the best curriculum I can for the class I'll be teaching.  

But right now, all I can think about is what my summer routine will look like.  I want to carve out times in my day for reading, writing, walking/running, chores, and just plain goofing off.  I tend to vastly overestimate my ability to maintain a schedule like that, but for the first week or two, I'll really get some good writing in and I can't wait!

What Else I've Been Up To

Since it's the end of the year, my students are all wrapping up whatever projects and activities they've been involved with.  Yesterday I perused the outdoor art show put together by my school's amazing visual art teachers; tonight I'm going to a reception at a local college celebrating an anthology of teen art and writing, for which one of my students was co-editor and one of the featured creators.  This is really the fun part of teaching.

I also went to a really cool community event that was arranged by one of my colleagues in his capacity as an all-around cool guy (rather than as a teacher): the Buffalo Reading Invasion!  It's sort of like a flash mob, except you just show up with a book and a chair and read for an hour.  For the first Invasion of the season, we took over a park in my neighborhood; apparently we'll be invading parks all over the city as the summer progresses.  I'm looking forward to more of those as the weather heats up.

So: what's up with you?

24 comments:

  1. The Buffalo Reading Invasion sounds so awesome! I hear you about looking forward to summer. My classes ended just a few weeks ago and I was in that same place-- very mentally ready to start something different. Hope yours comes along really soon!

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    1. I won't say the summer makes teaching an "easy" job--people who say that are nuts--but I will definitely say that summer is an AWESOME part of the job. Can't wait!

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  2. I'm so excited for you to be done school for the summer. Just think of all that time to do things! Like work on your very well-written contemporary. ;-) You don't have to worry about it being sub-par, Jess, because it's the opposite of that. It's funny, because contemporary is totally what I feel like reading right now, which is making it kind of tough to really get into THE 5TH WAVE. I'm hoping it will suck me in regardless. (Yikes, I totally almost typed 'irregardless'. O_O) That Reading Invasion sounds fantastic. What a great idea! :)

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    1. Thanks :) I'm definitely at the weird place where I'm too close to my own writing and I can't tell if I like it anymore. I'm looking forward to finishing this draft and going back to read it all the way through. Hopefully that will help me gain some perspective!

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  3. I'm so glad you're going to join us for Ready. Set. Write!, Jess! I'm looking forward to a summer of climbing word counts!

    I totally get what you're saying about reading in the genre you write. As much as I try not to, I'm consonantally comparing the books I read to the stories I'm working on. So not fair, but pretty unavoidable, I think. I hope you continue to enjoy TAKEN. Erin spun quite a story with that one!

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    1. Oh man, I read another chunk after I posted and I'm so sucked into it! I can't wait to see what happens next!

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  4. Summer is the one time I really miss working in a school ^^; Hope yours is absolutely fabulous!

    I definitely know what you mean about comparing your work with published books. I do my best not to, and getting away from my genre definitely helps. Getting away from YA completely is usually how I assure myself I don't suck and someday I'll get there too ^_^

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    1. Yeah, my husband finished law school and started a year-round law job this year--now that we're coming up on summer, it's very weird to me that he's still doing the same thing! I've pretty much always been in the pattern of the academic year, so it's hard for me to imagine working the same job all summer that I did during the rest of the year!

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  5. A reading invasion - I absolutely LOVE that idea, how cool!

    I compare myself all the time with published books, it's hard to remember that they were once a first draft too (although perhaps not as bad as mine!). I try to be inspired rather than depressed, but it's hard work.

    Enjoy your summer schedule!

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    1. Yeah, usually I'm able to take inspiration from what I read, but I really needed a break from my genre, I guess! I might pick up some non-fiction next, for a real change of pace!

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  6. Reading Invasion sounds awesome!
    I have been having a similar reading slump lately--Either I can't get into a book, or I am a little overwhelmed by the writing talent. I am taking a break with some adult books--that usually does the trick for me.

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    1. Yeah, I think I'll be using the summer to catch up on some adult reads I've had sitting around. During the school year, I'm always trying to read as much YA as humanly possible, to recommend to my kids--I think I just need a change of pace!

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  7. The idea behind a reading invasion sounds so cool!!!! I hope this is something you're able to enjoy - and who knows how many great book recos will come of it, too!

    So much for you to look forward to with summer approaching - and even though sticking to a schedule may not always be your thing, you just never know! I use a great app my friend Bridgid Gallagher and her husband created, called Carpe Diem - it's a habit forming app on my phone, that keeps track of daily tasks that I want to make sure that I do everyday! And so far, it's totally helped me to organize some tasks I otherwise would've brushed off.

    Best of luck with all the time you'll have coming up! I hope you're able to polish off that first draft, too!

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    1. That app sounds great! Sometimes I just need a reminder, like, HEY STOP PLAYING FACEBOOK GAMES AND READ A BOOK. Sigh. Facebook games. My nemesis.

      Thanks!

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  8. Bah. I know exactly what you mean about a reading slump. I can't help but compare my writing to published authors and then end up feeling deflated. Also, when I've been focusing on a certain aspect of revisions, I tend to start picking apart that issue in the books I'm reading. Makes it kind of hard to enjoy the story! Hope your reading slump ends soon! Sounds like you've been making great headway on your WIP though, so that's awesome! I love this reading invasion idea! So much fun! What a great way to promote reading awareness!

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    1. Yeah, the invasion was super-cool--I hope the turnout stays high all summer!

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  9. Sometimes taking a break for a different genre is definitely the answer. That´s funny cause´ I went through the exact same thing a few weeks ago and TAKEN is also the book that helped me! :-) :-) :-)

    That reading invasion sounds like a lot of fun...

    And yay for summer and for Ready. Set. Write! :D

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    1. Taken just moves so fast, it's easy to get into! Great slump breaker so far.

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  10. Hi Jess! I just wanted to let you know that I put your name down for Classics Retold in September! Thanks for participating!

    And good luck with your book! :)

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  11. So this girl MUST find some local friends to do a Jacksonville Reading Invasion! That sounds SO COOL! Also, I've heard so many good things about TAKEN. Must read soon!

    Yay for the end of school!

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    1. Yes! Make it happen! This should be EVERYWHERE!

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  12. TAKEN is next on my list - in fact, I plan to start it tonight as it's due back to the library in one week. I was in a similar slump earlier this year. Sometimes it's good to take a break from what you love (and what you write) so you can appreciate it more when you return. :)

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  13. The Buffalo Reading Invasion sounds really cool! As for reading contemp while writing contemp, I totally understand how hard it can be. I find it sometimes motivates me to be better, and other times discourages me. Luckily there are so many great non-contemp books out there for when you need a break! Good luck with the rest of your draft! I'll be participating in Ready. Set. WRITE! too.

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