Lill Pluta has been writing for children for over twenty years. Nearly a hundred of her poems and stories have been published by children's magazines and educational companies. She's also written work-for-hire picture book series for 2 Kids Publishing and Innovative Kids. As an English major, a former middle school language arts teacher, and a long time homeschooling mom, she is passionate about helping children and adults discover the joy and power of writing.
To say this blog is stale, would be an understatement. I've been trying to figure out what I want to do with it, so am starting a new feature -- What I'm Reading.
Yesterday, we stopped at the library before heading out to the Gem and Mineral Show. I had intended to write while we traveled, but instead read one of my selected books, Home Sweet Home School by Sue Maakestad. I was really hoping for more practical tips, but this book did have enough anecdotes in it to help me feel "normal" and not like a total failure. It is definitely from a conservative Christian perspective with lists of applicable scriptures after each chapter. Like a lot of books, I thought it could probably be condensed to a 1,000 word essay. :) It was mostly full of anecdotes about problems with public schools, the author's personal experiences, and of course, a lot of talk about putting Jesus in control. It seemed like a whole lot of talk about the same issues over, and over, and over. I did like the lists of encouraging Bible verse, but would have liked to have seen a lot more practical tips, hints, and examples about homeschooling. This is not the homeschooling tome for you if you are not a Christian, but if you are, you may find encouragement in its pages.
Last night, I began reading Crafting Stories for Children by Nancy Lamb. I've owned this book for about ten years. The cover is pristine, probably because it keeps getting lost in moves and has never been read. So far I'm finding it extremely useful for someone like me who cannot plot her way out of a paper bag. As I continue reading, I'll let you know more of what I think.
Quite literally, that is - with a moving truck and burly packers and all that stuff. I've been here for a month, and even though I'm still maneuvering around six foot tall stacks of boxes, I'm determined to get back to the writing life. I had to give it up for several weeks before the Great Upheaval, but it's time to get back with it.
In my usual high tension last minute fashion, I'm working on a story for the Highlights Magazine Contest. Yeah, I really work well under pressure. Really.
Because on top of boxes, and writing, and trying to figure out where to put stuff, I homeschool.
Oh yeah. So I'll try to be a little more regular with the excitement around here.
Yes, there has been progress! I'm about a 1/3 of the way through a chapter book. When I get stuck on a big project, I often switch to a smaller one, sometimes a much smaller one such as a poem or very short story. Why? 1. sometimes switching genres .. say from a mg novel to a short funny poem dekinks my brain 2. When I feel frustrated over not being able to work through a story point, I can be encouraged by working out something smaller. "See you did THAT, now go do the other." Maybe it's something like doing Soduku puzzles to exercise your brain before you tackle quantum physics or something.
This afternoon I'll be meeting with my local critique group. It's been awhile since all five of us could be together.
Okay, so it's Monday .. but Saturday was a HOLIDAY ! The temporary seasonal day job ended on Thursdays, so I'm back to writing. I've been doing some 'crafty' stuff lately .. reading and outlining chapter books and fiddling with fairy tales in an attempt to improve my plotting ability. And of course that all led into another project.
Also I'm working on focusing on one thing at a time, writing wise - choosing one writing task and making that the goal for the day. Yeah, I'm a little scattered, ADD, whoopsie-brained, that's for sure. The same method has been working on the gardens. Each morning I decided which part of the garden I want to work on, and I limit myself to just that spot. I know .... this probably seems so simple to other people.
Even though I'm also prepping a house to put on the market, I hope that I'll have more writing time in the day, and that my Saturday progress reports will be more exciting.