Teachers Write! 7/27 – Friday Writing Happy Hour

So how’s it going this week? Friday Writing Happy Hour is a chance to relax and share comments about our progress, goals, accomplishments, and whatever else is on your mind.  And if you’d like feedback on a snippet of writing, head on over to Gae Polisner’s blog for Friday Feedback, where you can share a few paragraphs of your work and offer feedback to others, too.

We have a giveaway today, too! Donna  Gephart has offered up three copies of OLIVIA BEAN, TRIVIA QUEEN for our Friday drawing.

Just leave a comment by 11:30pm EST Saturday to be entered, and winners will be announced on Monday.

 Enjoy your weekend, and remember to check in at Jen’s Teach Mentor Texts blog on Sunday.  I’ll see you back here Monday morning!

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  1. Posted July 27, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    This looks like a great book to add to my 4th grade classroom library!

    • Posted July 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Doesn’t it? Haven’t read this one yet, but I’ve heard good things.

  2. Posted July 27, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    This writing life is sure a journey with hills to climb, but this week I actually started to feel like I am going somewhere. I put together the snippets I have been writing, and while revision sits on the horizon, I feel there is an actual novel waiting. What a feeling! Many more roads to follow, but the journey is begun. Thanks for leading the way!

    • Posted July 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      I think journey is the right word for this adventure, for sure – I’m glad yours is off and running this summer!

  3. Erika
    Posted July 27, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    This week my writing has been almost exclusively for one of my graduate courses. I have only blogged once. I have to write more today, but alas, it will be for my second course. I have to pick up the pace, as the deadline of August 15 is looming.

    • Posted July 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      It still counts! (At least I hope it does…much of my writing this week has been speeches and presentations and things-that-are-not-my-books, too)

  4. Kathy
    Posted July 27, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Love the writing journey! I have found so many great resources that I didn’t even know excisted. The book looks intriguing.

  5. Gae Polisner
    Posted July 27, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    My mom is reading my manuscript before I turn it in to my editor. She hasn’t read it since about 3 revisions ago. She can be my harshest critic, and after a bumpy start (yes, I ran back and did more revisions) she seems to be happily entrenched. For those of you on your third and fourth and fifth + books, does it EVER get less nervewracking to turn revisions in to an editor?! (btw, since I have a new editor on this book — and a new pub house — it’s really like being a debuter all over again. . . at least mostly. :))

    Happy Friday, all. Close out the summer strong. Easy to lose steam and feel that mid-season slump. Fight through it. You’ll be happy you did!

    xox gae

    • Posted July 27, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Oh I can relate. 🙂 Sometimes I have to ask my husband to count down 3,2,1 SEND for me to push the button.

      The bad news is no, Though it does become more familiar, I don’t think it will ever become easy to send a book you love and have invested yourself in off to be judged.

      The good news is that’s okay. It’s good to stay in touch with those feelings, because as adults we often make choices to keep ourselves more comfortable and not risk things. But kids are asked to step outside their comfort zones and risk all the time (“How do you know you won’t like it if you’ve never tried it?” “Just give it a chance!” “We’re going to read these in front of the class.” etc. And yet, how many of us are signing up happily for things that make us uncomfortable?).

      So, embrace the fact it matters so much to you that it’s hard. Because that’s what makes you a sensitive writer and it means you’ve written something that matters to you so much that it has a good chance to also matter to readers.

      • Gae Polisner
        Posted July 27, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        Cynthia, btw, I think I may have told you this before, but I’m a little starstruck having you respond to me. I read RULES aloud a few years ago to my boys before I was writing YA and we loved it and, um, now, look, it’s you!?! 🙂

        • Posted July 27, 2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink

          Thank you! It means a lot to me to hear that, Gae.

      • Posted July 27, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        I love this response. It doesn’t get any easier for me either, but it sounds so lovely when Cindy says so. 🙂

    • carol osler
      Posted July 27, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Please let us know what mom says.My son is my critic, and just as harsh. Also please keep us informed, even your nervousness is encouraging to young writers. It never goes away…..Best to you always

      • Gae Polisner
        Posted July 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        thank you, Carol! She finished today. She loved it for the most part . . . after a few bumps in the beginning which is understandable — I started the ms with a whole new chapter so making it flow smoothly is key. She made some great suggestions and cried when it ended. So I think all good. 😉

  6. Posted July 27, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I’m happy that I’ve pretty much kept my original goal of writing every day, even if it’s just 15 minutes, on my story. I’m starting a new school as elementary library coordinator in Santa Monica, and would love this book for their library! Thanks to all you writers who have been so helpful this summer. I’m in awe of your generosity.

    • Posted July 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Hurray, Diane! That’s a great goal to have met – and congratulations on your new library position!

      • Gae Polisner
        Posted July 27, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        yes, congrats on your new job! 🙂

  7. Kristina Paustian
    Posted July 27, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    I agree with Kathy above-so many resources and authors I have learned about this summer that are new to me! I have a classroom filled with books of every kind but there is always room for more. The quick write ideas this week were fantastic and the Q and A session was helpful as always. I can never think of any questions, so I am always glad others come up with them for me. Incredible summer learning…I think my coworkers are getting tired of me gushing about it! : )

    • Posted July 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      I’m so glad it’s been a good summer for you, Kristina! I’ve learned a lot, too.

  8. Posted July 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely community!

    Kate, thank you for coordinating this. I know it’s not easy with all the other work you have to do.

    Gae, it does NOT get easier, and as Cindy said, that’s a good thing. I love what Cindy wrote about being brave and going outside one’s comfort zone. That’s where the memorable experiences lie.

    And for you wonderful teachers and librarians, there are free activity/reading guides on my site for both OLIVIA BEAN, TRIVIA QUEEN and HOW TO SURVIVE MIDDLE SCHOOL. http://www.donnagephart.com

    I raise my glass of herbal tea to the members of this community who have bravely written, rewritten and shared their writing. Write on!

    • Posted July 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Donna!

      • Gae Polisner
        Posted July 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        okay, okay, so I won’t expect it to get easier… but for, like, say, Stephen King. Come on, it MUST get easier! 😉

        I loved Cynthia’s answer too.

        *clinks teacup with Donna*

  9. carol osler
    Posted July 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Not everything you write has to grow up to be something else.
    When I read this on Tuesday’s post I became a little sad. I don’t know why….I have so many things that are in all different stages. I hate to think that some of these may never grew up. I just want the best for my story. I don’t care if it’s published or even read. I just hope that I can finish it.
    But I realize this is indeed true…..I have learn so much here at camp. I have matured in my understanding of myself as a writer, and how I can be better parent to my stories. Thank you!


    • Posted July 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear…I’m sad that my thought made you sad. I didn’t mean to suggest that you’ll never finish anything – just that some things you finish might be just for you, or your family, and that is a fine, fine reason to write. Not everything we write has to be written with the New York Times book critic in mind.

      All that said, I hope you finish, too. I will be here cheering.

      • Gae Polisner
        Posted July 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        plus, Carol, those unfinished (and in my case two unpublished) babies, become wonderful to steal from later. . . 😉

  10. Nanette
    Posted July 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    I want to be done editing and figure out what the next step is! I need to keep chugging away at things. I met with a former student who is also an English major. He wanted to do a “workshop” with me. We went over the first chapter of my book. He found surprisingly little to change and wanted to know why I hadn’t sent it to an agent yet. (Ack… that sounds scary!)

    I just need to get the rest of the book up to the first chapter’s standards. I hope to finish up by October. I am thinking of starting on a sequel for the NaNoWriMo. Or I have other ideas… not sure what I’ll write about 🙂

    Back to editing 😉


    • Posted July 27, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      As someone who has had an unpublished sequel living on her hard drive for three years, might I suggest you start a brand new book for NaNo instead? 🙂

      Congratulations on all your progress!

  11. Posted July 27, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    This has been another awesome week of learning and writing. Unfortunately (just kidding), this week was also the start of planning for the next school year (about a month away). I like to change things up from year to year, and there are many changes for this upcoming year (especially with writing). I also spent a ton of time on a new WIP (chapter book) that I started a few weeks ago. I am very excited about this new little project. And I credit all of this to Teachers Write! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
    Have a great weekend!

  12. ShyrlAnn
    Posted July 27, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    I have learned something important this summer. Just as, when I started seriously studying being a better singer, I became unable to perform, I can now no longer write! Something about scrutiny, something about expectations, something about standards, something makes me freeze up! Wow, is this an important lesson. How many of my little ones will do that this year, and how do I make it work for them? This camp is fantastic, full of support and positive feedback. The pressure, the fear, that’s all mine. How do I overcome it, and how do we help our kids overcome it?

  13. Carol Osler
    Posted July 27, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Thanks guys,
    I think I am just having growing pains!

  14. Mary
    Posted July 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    This week my writing was in my head. Looking for a theme/ hook for ms. Just when I think I ‘ve found one, I reconsider and roll it through the gray matter again. Sigh. I know it’s there some where….still looking…….

    Many thanks for you guidance, suggestions and cheering! This is the best camp ever! Just read the letter home below.

    Dear Dad and Mom,

    More words I write and send to you
    Before this writing camp is through.
    I can’t believe how fast it’s gone
    And school will begin before too long.
    The words fly here everyday
    And writing improves in every way.
    The camp directors are so cool.
    They held a party at the pool.
    I’ve more to learn, there’s more to write,
    But now it’s time to say, good-night.
    Yours in writing,

  15. Posted July 28, 2012 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    I am happy to say that I have committed to my goal of writing everyday for at least 15 minutes. Even on our family vacation, I was able to find the time to write. Thank you fro the inspiration, ideas and motivation to continue on this “journey”.

  16. Posted July 28, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    I just got a job offer to teach first grade next year! When I left my old school I had no idea where I’d end up. I’m thrilled to be back in 1st grade & Marty McGuire will definitely be in the room! 🙂 I’ve also been working most days a week on my WIP, which is in endless revision… but also drafting something for fun. 🙂

  17. Jill Andrews
    Posted July 29, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoy your writing and blog. I’d love to enter this giveaway (I”m not a teacher though, so I’m not sure if this is a teacher-giveaway only ? If so, then good luck to the winner).

  18. becca puglisi
    Posted July 29, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Please don’t include me in the giveaway since I already own this one, but I just wanted to say that it’s as awesome as Donna’s other books. Were I still teaching, I’d totally be telling my co-workers about her books and encouraging them to use them in their classrooms. Donna leads my face-to-face writing group, and besides being an enviable and gifted author, she’s a beautiful human being. Thank you for hosting her giveaway!

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