Day 7 of CampNaNoWriMo and Day 2 of Teachers Write!

CAMPNANOWRIMO PROGRESS
I’m making progress. Definitely. It’s Day 7 of camp and my word count is now 11,039.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 5.38.18 PM
At 11,039 words, I’m almost 25% of goal!

Before I started writing, I set four goals for myself in order to complete this challenge. Some goals are coming along a little better than others:

    1. I haven’t been able to write first thing in the morning most days; I am going to keep working on it. There’s lots of other stuff going on, but I’m not forgetting that it’s still my goal. I’d love to make that a part of my routine every day of the year.
    2. I’ve been writing all over the place. Post-Its, notebook pages, at the computer. That’s going well; when I have an idea, I jot it down. Then, I make sure it gets into the document. It does take a little time to catch up on typing what I’ve already written, but I’m happy that the ideas aren’t forgotten.
    3. I’m also doing a pretty good job at leaving the editing for later. I am very tempted to revise, but I know there will be time for that after the first full draft is complete. Surprisingly, this is the goal I’m having the easiest time with.
    4. I hadn’t been following the outline very well for the first few days. It was too constricting, and too many things were changing as I wrote. Luckily, I found another solution through a second camp I’m participating in this summer called Teacher’s Write!
      • The task from Jo Knowles was “to find a blank page and make a list of what you know about your project, and the reasons this particular one is important to you.” That I can do! I’m hoping that this free-flowing list will continue to serve as my new outline. The other was definitely not working for me.

MORE ABOUT TEACHERS WRITE!
Teachers Writnew-teachers-write-2015e! started yesterday. It’s an online writing program similar to CampNaNoWriMo, but targeted for educators who teach writing and want to become better writers themselves.

I’ve always been a strong believer that teachers of writing should be writers themselves, so I was really excited to join this camp.

My first Teachers Write! assignment was to sit down for a few minutes and list out things that I’m wondering at the moment. Here’s my list:

I wonder…

  • If I can grow lavender on my balcony
  • How much sun does lavender need to grow
  • Why lavender smells so good
  • Whats on sale at the grocery store today
  • What people are doing in London right now. Australia? Mexico?
  • Why I was born in the US and not somewhere else
  • What cell phones will be like in two years. Five? Ten?
  • How some people can stay so positive all the time and others don’t
  • Why certain people can push our buttons despite our best efforts not to let them
  • About what it would be like if none of us had the sense of sight? The sense of smell?
  • What if everyone lost the same sense at the same time? Or if we all developed a new sense at the same time?
  • Why so many people are sick
  • Why some people refuse to take better care of themselves
  • Why it’s so easy to develop bad habits
  • When we are going to find a cure for cancer
  • What will things be like when we find a cure
  • What the weather is going to be like tomorrow
  • What herbs and spices I have in my kitchen to make bread tonight
  • If I’ll have any time to do some yoga later

On the second day, our assignment was from author Phil Bildner to: “Find a fresh place to write. People watch. Create characters or character traits based on those you see.”

Because I’m already working on the other project for CampNaNoWriMo (and a good 11,039 words in), I did what I encourage my students to do all the time — connect a new assignment to other assignments. I observed people for a while and the observations I recorded and the ideas they sparked gave me new ideas for the existing characters in my novel. Some of my observations translated into new directions for the story. This is a really excellent exercise because good writers are great observers.

PROOF THAT STUDENTS CAN DO THESE EXERCISES, TOO
After I worked on yesterday’s exercise for Teachers Write!, I came across an old notebook and flipped open to a random entry. You have no idea how many times I blinked and rubbed my eyes at what I saw! Sure enough, there was a very similar journal entry from when I was eight years old in third grade! Talk about kismet.

I always wonder about…

Scan
My journal page from 3rd grade!

I always wonder about what I would do with one million dollars.
I also wonder what I would look like with my hair cut.
I wonder if I had my own house.
And if I got all A+’s.
What it would be like to be poor.
Or live in Mexico.
Or to be a in an accident.
Be on TV.
Or in my Mom’s and Dad’s shoes.
I wonder what it is like in Texas.
Or fourth grade.

(I find it interesting that I was wondering about Mexico in both lists!)

~Melissa

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