Teachers Write! 7/6 – Friday Writing Happy Hour

Welcome to another Friday at Teachers Write!  We have another book giveaway today – this time from author Hélène Boudreau.

To enter the drawing for a copy of REAL MERMAIDS DON’T HOLD THEIR BREATH, just leave any comment on this post by 11pm EST Saturday, July 7th. I’ll draw a winner over the weekend & announce it on Monday.

So…how was your week?  Did it get swallowed up in sparklers and fireworks?  Or did you get some writing done, even with roasted marshmallows stuck in your hair?  (Or am I the only one who always ends up with sticky hair after campfires?)

Fridays here are a chance to relax and share comments about our progress, goals, accomplishments, and whatever else is on your mind.  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.

 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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53 Comments

  1. Posted July 6, 2012 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Although it is summer break, it has been difficult finding the time to write…which seems crazy. However, this week I have had a HUGE breakthrough in my WIP, and couldn’t be happier! I’ll be putting the final touches on it next week and sending it off to my agent! 🙂
    And BTW…Real Mermaids Don’t Hold Their Breath sounds super cute!

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Congrats, huzzah! That must feel so good!

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Hurray for breakthroughs! And I hear you on summer writing – I know it’s easier with time off from work, but our house is always a zoo in the summer & full of people who want to eat and drink all the time. 🙂

  2. Posted July 6, 2012 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    From humor to lost treasures to poetry, my week has been full of discovery and writing. This is a safe and challenging place to land for the summer. Soon I will have to begin thinking about and planning for the school year. But, for now, let’s write some more.

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Glad you’re enjoying this creative time for you!

  3. Posted July 6, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I was on vacation in beautiful Colorado (at least the part without the fires), but am pledging again to write every day. Thanks again for this opportunity!

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Taking breaks is part of writing too – filling the well, we call it. I bet you’ll have stories and inspiration from your trip.

  4. Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    This week I’ve done a lot of soul-searching, and that’s helped me get the heck over myself and write more, not just on #buckybook, but in a few other areas as well. Working on an open-ended project has really made me long for my journalism days, and I think I might need to develop micro-goals… I’m just not sure what my micro-goals for a book would look like?

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      When it comes to micro-goals on a longer project, two things tend to work for me – word count goals for the day, or if it’s a research/revision stage, then I like to make a to-do list with smaller tasks that I can cross off.

  5. Courtney Katz
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I agree. I always have all these ideas and monologues in my head, but when I go to put them on paper, little to nothing comes from my pen. Last night I wrote for an hour, getting over if it was right or the way it sounded in my head, and just got some ideas on a page. Although it is hard, I am excited to start writing again, for me. Love reading everyone’s post. :0)

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      For what it’s worth, I’m about to start a new project (Sunday, in fact) and it’s the starting that is most difficult for me, too. That empty page can be scary, but the only way to make it not-empty and less intimidating is to take a deep breath and write. It sounds weird, but the best way for me to get started, I’ve found, is to decide to write “any old thing” to begin. I give myself permission to just start, and if it’s dumb, that’s okay – I can fix it later.

      I’m glad you got some writing in last night!

  6. Ursula Camenzuli
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Just purchased, Real Revision and I am so excited reading it. Thanks for writing such a wonderful resource!

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Thanks! I’m glad you’re finding it helpful!

  7. Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Fell off the writing wagon a little bit recently, but I am excited to refocus! Thanks for still being here when I came back! 🙂

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Yeah…that’s a bumpy wagon, isn’t it? Easy to fall off… but we’re glad you’re back!

  8. Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    If your anything like me, I can’t think of anything more motivating to clean my house than knowing company is coming. The same seems to ring true for writing. Nothing like having a course deadline to motivate me to get the ideas in my head onto paper. Although I don’t really consider myself to be a procrastinator, I am discovering that I am a whole lot less productive at home. It seems there is always something competing for my attention, be it laundry, bills, and such. I have found my productivity has dramatically increased when I pack up and head to the library.

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      I have to confess – we have company coming later, and this post made me panic, peering into my messy kitchen.

  9. Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    This was a good writing week. It included a blog tour book review and another blog post, a metaphor about hip hop and writing. Today I’ll write my blog reflection, but it will be short as we are headed up to Yellowstone Saturday morning for a few days of camping.
    Most importantly, I wrote about 1,515 words on my WIP. I have about 7,500 words toward it, and think that this weeks section is my best so far. We’ll see in time.
    Thanks, Kate, et al. for hanging with us during the holiday.

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Congrats on the writing week! Have fun on your vacation!

  10. ShyrlAnn
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I had fun writing about my daughter’s lost iPod, but I struggled a lot trying to do yesterday’s quick-write, for some reason. I am really learning about the challenges we give our children in the classroom every day. I’ve always found it pretty easy to write something, anything, but lately, I’ve noticed that I feel like I can’t do a good job. I think the bar has been raised as I’ve read all these fabulous pieces in the writing camp, and I keep looking at my work as not good enough. I have a feeling that many of my students probably do that, too. A goal I have for myself this summer is to get past this self-inflicted barrier and learn to push my kids over theirs as well. I am deeply appreciative of this experience, and when people ask me what I’m doing for work this summer (they invariably do, since I’m a teacher and have “summers off”), this writing camp is something I enthusiastically tell them about. Thank you, Kate, for the opportunity. It is practice-changing, and more, life-changing!

    • heather
      Posted July 6, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      This was exactly what my entry in my writer’s notebook was this morning! I’m hoping that as I push past this idea that my writing really isn’t that good and keep practicing, that I’ll gain insights to help me teach my students as well.

      Although, I have to say I enjoyed your ipod story earlier this week – and thought it was way better than my story…

      • ShyrlAnn
        Posted July 6, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        Heather, I bet I would have loved your story! (I didn’t see it posted – did I miss it, or did you keep it offline?) And mine was really just a retelling of actual events (which still leave me shaking my head, months later!) – I couldn’t have made that stuff up if I’d tried! I’m glad to know that other people are feeling like I am – maybe we need a support group rather than a critique group for those of us at this stage in our writing!

        • Andrea Payan
          Posted July 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

          I like the support group idea. I definitely feel the same about the writing and how it has made me reflect on the ways my students might feel in the classroom. I have found it difficult to write to some of the prompts this summer and I think it has to do with wanting to find the perfect idea to go with that prompt. I need to push past my own boundaries also. It was nice to read about two other people who are feeling the same.

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      When I was teaching, I found the same thing…that being an active writer (and getting manuscripts back from my editor with notes all over them!) really provided a level of empathy for struggling student writers that I didn’t have before. I’m glad you’re writing with us!

  11. Posted July 6, 2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Writing has gone well. I have been following and completing all of the camp writes and writing on my blog. I have a lot of ideas written down and hope to take a hold of one and write a story. The encouragement and all of the positive comments have been a great boost. I am not alone!
    Thanks everyone!

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Thanks right back at you – it’s you guys who make this work!

  12. Holly Mueller
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I’m having trouble finding time to write to the prompts, but I did start a blog, and that has been fun!

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      Prompts are just that…prompts to get you writing, so if you’re inspired to write your blog, our work here is done. 🙂

  13. Posted July 6, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    A summary of summer (so far):
    Swimming, reading, washing dishes, writing, feeding the kids breakfast, checking in on Teachers Write, doing school with the kids, writing, getting the kids lunch (all they want to do is eat), writing, putting the kids down for naps, running, reading, mowing the lawn, checking in on Teachers Write, taking the kids to the pool, reading, dinner time, writing, coaching lacrosse, reading, giving the kids baths, writing, putting the kids to bed, reading, watching Band of Brothers, writing or reading, sleep.
    With snacks, potty breaks, and picking up or dropping off friends, daily reading and writing time –
    Writing: about an hour (Ugh!)
    Reading: about an hour (Double Ugh!)

    The temps are going to be near 100 today, so I am looking to get a constant hour of writing time (Yeah!!!!!). Thank you for another great week!

    ps – Kate, I loved Capture the FlagCan’t wait to share with my students!

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Your post made me smile (thanks for the CAPTURE THE FLAG compliment) and laugh, too – I was just lamenting the fact that everyone here seems to need to eat constantly. Don’t they know we have books to write?!

  14. Posted July 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    This was the best writing week of my life, largely due to finding a small critique group. We didn’t even really do any critiquing. But we did motivate each other, and just knowing that someone else was out there who was going to yell at me if I didn’t get some work done made a big difference. I worked on my WIP every day this week. I haven’t done that before. Ever.

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Hurray!!! And I know just what you mean – my critique group keeps me going, too.

  15. Valerie
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I’ve spent this week in the dystopian world of Anna Carey reading Eve and Once, which just released. While I am not a big fan of the main character, I am interested enough in the story to continue reading. I’m curious to know how many other people read multiple books at one time…my hubby finds this unusual but I always have one YA book going, as well as an adult book, as well as a professional book.

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      I do the same thing! I actually read multiple adult titles, a professional book, and a student novel. Must just be our wiring 🙂 I don’t mix up plots or confuse events between titles. Being able to download books at my leisure makes the “fetish” even worse! You are definitely not alone.

    • Andrea Payan
      Posted July 6, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      I always have at least two books going at once–usually a professional book, an adult novel, and a YA novel. I also encourage this in my students. Some handle it better than others, but I try to show them that it is acceptable to do this and not a weird thing at all.

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      I’m a one-book-at-a-time reader most of the time – but I can sometimes do a couple if they’re different genres.

  16. Posted July 6, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    This was my first week participating in Teachers Write and I am grateful to be apart of it! It’s been awhile since I’ve approached writing as a student instead of the teacher. This week alone has given me great tips and insight regarding things I need to remember as I prepare my students this upcoming year. I’ve decided to blog my assignments and the challenges/great ideas I get from the mini-lessons or process itself. That way I have a point of reference and can use it for future lessons! Not to mention being exposed to new authors and works of literature!

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Welcome! We’re glad you’re here!

  17. Posted July 6, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    This was my first week as well, and although I didn’t write as much as I had hoped to, I’m feeling good about having started, at least. I wrote my Story Stew – just as an exercise- on Tuesday, after having visited Jo Knowles’ blog, and on Thursday I went back to a project I’d started a long time ago. I used Thursday’s prompt as a starting point, but never actually got to the treasure that was taken away. Wednesday’s Q and A was pivotal for me, and the responses I received helped me to relax and just try out my ideas. I hope to share them later on Gae’s blog (if I can muster up some courage).
    A big thanks to you, Kate, and to all the authors who have so generously shared their time and expertise with us this week.

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Mardie! I’m glad you decided to join us – sounds like you had a productive first week!

  18. Posted July 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    I started an 18th Century Restoration Brit Lit class this week, so unfortunately for my WIP, most of my attention has gone to toward reading for this class. I will also have the pleasure (*cough, cough*) of writing about what I’m reading, which isn’t exactly the writing I prefer to do. But writing is writing, right? I have made a point of getting up earlier so I can get to campus at least an extra 30 minutes early so I have some writing time before class. I can’t quite dive in totally, but it’s still productive writing time. 🙂

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Sounds like you’ve made a great plan to keep writing even with your course work load – that’s fantastic!

  19. Andrea Payan
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    This week has been less productive for me in the writing department. What I have been proud of throughout our time in camp is the increased production on my blogs. I have had a YA reading blog for over a year and really only wrote in it once in a blue moon. Through connecting with people here, I have found out about some weekly meme ideas that have helped me to have at least once a week that I blog. What I have also noticed is that I am constantly noticing and remembering details around me and have been deeply nostalgic this week. The anniversary of my father’s death (July 2) is always a melancholy time for me. This year I found myself not feeling as sad and really thinking about the stories that I have to tell from a teenage perspective. This week I have done some deep thinking and I now just need to put my butt in the chair and write.

    • Posted July 6, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      I love the shift that writing created in thinking about your dad. You should tell those stories.

  20. Posted July 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been galavanting around the country visiting family and friends, but now I’m settling into the summer routine of doing all the chores I piled up throughout the year and trying to focus on writing.

  21. Barb Wheatley
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    I am like many of you out there…struggling with finding the time to write. I finished teaching summer school last week, and expected to have a lot of time off to write. Instead, I have been catching up on Dr. appointments, dentist appointments, car appointments, and just spending time with my family. To top it all off, we spent days without power due to the freak storm that hit our area a week ago. I did enjoy Thursday’s quick write and used Dina’s sentence starter about the wind stopping to write about the storm. Thanks so much to Kate and all the authors who have shared so much with all of us. You are inspiring. You are true teachers.

  22. Stacey Hicklin
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Enjoying a break making memories that will become writing later!

  23. Bridget
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    It’s funny that with all the time off this summer, I have not accomplished much writing! I don’t have good excuses, either! My husband is rarely home during the day and we have no children to demand being fed or entertained. So after reading everyone’s posts I started to panic and really point the finger at myself. What have I been doing with my time??? Microsoft word is now open and I plan to write feverishly into the night (although most of it might be gibberish!) once I finish this sentence…

  24. Posted July 6, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    I have received a gigantic cosmic push forward on my children’s writing projects – I think it’s just the right note at the right time. I feel blessed. I’m juggling writing my blog and getting my 2nd, 3rd & 4th books ready for publication. I truly believe that sometimes with writing, pauses come for a reason, besides procrastination or not having the time. I believe that sometimes you need a special life experience to fill a gap or inspire a new plot or character or even provide a new understanding to continue with a story or book. Many books I have begun and returned to them a decade later only to understand why they had to be set aside. I wrote more about this at my sight at story-express. com under http://story-express.com/thejourney.html#five ( or under writing tips, the journey, the re-write.

    • Mary
      Posted July 7, 2012 at 12:00 am | Permalink

      Marcy, your post made me think of a conversation I had recently with a glassblower who also works in mixed media. He was telling me how he collects odd pieces of materials thinking he knows how he will use them, but then finds that obstacles present themselves until the time and purpose are right. So it is with word art…

      Good luck with your busy schedule. I’ll check out your blog for updates on your progress.
      M

  25. Mary
    Posted July 7, 2012 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    MWA*seeks hook for book. Pirates need not respond. Poetic sorts encouraged to correspond. Serious inquiries only. (*Mystified, Wondering, Author).

    This is where I am at present. Any hooks to spare, anyone?

    :-0. M

  26. Jaana Terhune
    Posted July 7, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Finding it hard to keep writing when traveling. Did some journal writing & lot of observations while sitting at an outside care in the middle of a busy market place. Hoping for material when I return.

  27. Mary Meihaus
    Posted July 11, 2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Coming in late on this, but feel compelled to respond to the post. I am writing almost every day but not always posting. I’m trying to decide the best medium for writing for me. I tend to use a notebook because that is what I have always done. then, if I post here, I have to re-type. This week I have had the courage to type my response straight to the prompts and not worry about editing for presentation sake. Now I want to print them and paste them in my notebook! One thing I have been contemplating is to start an actual work. I’ve always thought it would be picture books, but longer stories keep coming to mind. Maybe I am a chapter book writer after all?

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