March 2015 - Posts

How I Completed the Third Draft! Part 2: The Master's Degree
Monday, March 30, 2015 8:29 PM
So the first thing I did was stop writing. There was no point. All that trying and accomplishing nothing, thinking about the book constantly but having not time to work on it. I was making myself miserable. I focused on immediate task at hand and spent the fall of 2013 and spring of 2014 finishing my Master's Degree and as of May of last year, I have an M.Ed. after my name (Master's of Education: Secondary English Curriculum and Instruction, if anyone's asking).

My worry was that the novel would fade into the background. That I would never pick it up again. That after my degree was done I'd want a break and that break would be the rest of my life. Sheesh, pretty over-dramatic stuff, huh? Then again, I suppose deep-seated fears about failure and the loss of dreams would come out sounding a bit melodramatic. Confirmation that I was doing the right thing and that writing was my true passion came to me in the persistence of vision. All throughout that year, I possessed the same thoughts and drive: I was finishing my degree merely as an interim, it was an obstacle to be overcome and a means to an end. Recently, a friend was bragging about me to some of her other friends as way of introduction: "he has twins, a job, got his master's, AND wrote a book!" Little do most know that I view the second to last in that last, as merely a step in achieving the very last. As much as planning and drafting and providing feedback, my Master's Degree was just another step in that process.

Partly, as I've explained, because I had to do it before I could rest the time to finish the damn thing, but also, in learning to teach writing, I've become a vastly better writer. As much as the numerous hours in workshop at FSU, I've bettered myself by the time spent reading Peter Elbow and Donald Graves and Barry Lane, as well as by the time I spent in Room 211 of Steinbrenner High School, trying to get 10th graders to pass state assessments or show young people the power and possibility or writing in my Creative Writing Classes.

To teach is to know, right?

Until next time...

by DMI | with no comments
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How I Completed the Third Draft! Part 1: The Vow
Sunday, March 29, 2015 1:36 PM
The last post I made here was over a year and a half ago. I was fed up and failing at balancing my life as a writer with the multitude of other demands on time: twin girls, full-time job, working on a Master's Degree in education. I was trying everything I could think of: writing early in the morning, writing during my planning period, writing once a week before the sun came up on Sundays, writing in the few weeks left to me during summer vacation. Nothing was working. And I found that I had very little left to say in this forum. No one wants to read about a guy complaining about how he has no time. I know this because I had no desire to write it. If I had a few minutes to sit down, then I wanted to use them to write in my book, not a blog. I also found that I had very little left to say about writing itself. I just needed to write. There comes a time when all that's left is the hard work. The sit-down-and-do-it.

So, a year and a half ago, I vowed to not post on this blog until I was done with the third draft. And that's what I did. It's done.

In the next three blogs, I will detail how I did this and then return to regular postings, particularly as I explore the world of novel publishing.

My novel, completed for the third time, stands at 24 chapters and approximately 165,800 words (that's down about 9 or 10K from the 2nd draft which was 30 chapters plus an epilogue).

These are big steps and exciting times for me, but until next time, I'm Eric and I'm an unpublished writer.
by DMI | with no comments
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