Ah, summer. Is it really that time again? It’s hard to believe I’ll have two months to do whatever I want–clean my house, walk the dog, read, pursue educational enrichment, catch up on my writing, talk to my children–talk to my husband.
Truth is, I have more to do than two months of free time allows. I know what I should do–hone my teacher skills–but I want to work on my writing skills. I’ve waited all these years, putting children and husband first (and happy I did), then falling into a teaching job where my students go first (400 wide-eyed, eager brains. Never could talk myself into going on auto-pilot). When is it My Time?
This summer. I’m doing it. I am going to devote myself to my writerly craft and see what happens. I know–I’m a little nuts. Let’s stipulate to that and move on. Here’s my list of the top five ways I will spend my Writerly Summer:
I have two non-fiction books my publisher awaits. I have five more ebooks batting around in my brain I can dash off without too much trouble, then sell on my Teachers Pay Teachers account (see below). I also MUST finish Twenty-four Days. I’m either going to make my publisher happy or I’m going to have a Come to Jesus moment and make a Big Decision. Either way, that book is being birthed this summer.
That done, I want to rework the prequel to Twenty-four Days so its ready to go as the next in the series. Because I know readers will rabidly want more.
That done (here’s the tie-in to this month’s theme: what was I doing half a lifetime ago), I am going to rewrite the book that started me authoring–Lucy: A Biography. It’s the saga of our ancestors. I’m going to revamp it in first person so readers can relate to their roots better. I sure hope that works. Well, it will work because I’ll self-pub when I’m done (it’s a niche topic that has garnered little publisher/agent interest in the 15 years it’s been kicking around).
Teachers Pay Teachers
This is a great site to sell teaching materials to teachers. If you haven’t visited TPT, you are missing out. There is a wealth of resources on everything imaginable sold by people just like you (if you’re a teacher and a writer). It includes a robust ‘comment’ section for products where I get lots of feedback on my materials. The hitch: All customers are teachers. So, writing materials should be geared toward teaching K-12. Despite that, this is a great marketplace for me which often outsells Amazon. I need to look over my TPT store, make sure everything is current, crisp, presentable, then update as needed.
These are great. An expert alerts you s/he will be ‘hanging out’ at a certain date and time. The first ten people who accept her invitation are on-screen with her/him. She presents writing tips and tricks and you (as one of the first 10) get to participate in the conversation. The expert benefits because s/he can record directly to her/his YouTube channel of writing tips (you have one, right?). The viewer also wins because they get amazing writing advice for free. I teach technology education through Google Hangouts (as part of CSG online classes) and am loving it, as are my students (all adults). Trust me, fellow writers, this is the future of learning. Embrace it. All it takes is a little practice to get down the invitation process, how to record to YouTube, get screenshare linked to Google Docs, and get that comment sidebar up so everyone can talk at once.
You might call them ‘webinars’. I get lots of invitations, but put them off because I’m either working when the event takes place or too tired. No excuses anymore–I’ll do it!
I will force myself to do everything possible digitally. No more newspapers (go online), no more paperback books, no more paper and pencil notes (I’ll learn Evernote). No more printed directions–I’ll figure out how to send them to my phone. No more trips to the library–I will use the online catalog. What else? Doesn’t matter what else. Anything else that comes up, I will try to find a digital solution to it. I can do it!
There you have it. What are your summer plans?
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blogger, a columnist for Examiner.com, featured blogger for Technology in Education, IMS tech expert, and a monthly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.