I know it’s now March. I’m sorry. I blinked and suddenly February was over and I’m heading into spring. What?! Where’d the time go? I’ll probably miss most of that because spring lasts for about two weeks before summer arrives. Anyway, I spent February nose deep in edits for Spilled Ink, reading, and other daily tasks. A few thing stick out though…
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[dropcap]T[/dropcap] his was my second year participating in the International Correspondence Writing Month. Last year I was one letter shy of 28 letters. This year, I managed to send 29 letters. It was a lot of writing, although it was much easier than last year. This year I actually had pen pals to send letters to! FPGeeks also had an address database for anyone who wanted to send and receive letters. Other than my regular pen pals, I received about six letters in February. I say “about” because I didn’t start recording the ones I got until the last week of the month. Oops. I enjoyed myself, though, and I look forward to next year. Maybe I’ll switch things up a bit and write to famous people in addition to my regular correspondents.[dropcap]A[/dropcap] wise lady once told me that writing the first draft was the easy part. And she’s right. I now know, in my hard-won wisdom, that editing is a beast. Despite all the books I’ve read on the subject and all the videos I’ve watched, I stumbled upon this one truth: I’m the one who has to actually do the editing. No one else can do it for me. Well, I guess I could hire it out but seriously who has that kind of money? Besides millionaires and celebrities who hire ghostwriters, I mean?
Anyway, after a several weeks of deep thinking and, let’s be honest, more dithering than I care to admit to, I’ve come up with a cunning plan. Well, I think it’s a cunning plan. My point is that I’m going to give this cunning plan a whirl and then, whether it works or not, I’ll document the process here on PicayunePen.com so you can learn from my triumphs and/or failures. I sincerely hope that it’s a triumph but God is the one leading this party.
In the meantime, if you’re in editing mode, or just writing your first novel, I highly recommend K.M. Weiland’s workbooks: Structuring Your Novel Workbook and Outlining Your Novel Workbook. These two are indispensable when writing and editing. I should know, I have several copies of both that I have dedicated to the novel I’m editing and the one I’m starting next.
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]’ve noticed that my reading habits have trended towards non-fiction this past year. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Every well-rounded author needs to read from both sides of the library aisle, and I hate to admit it, I’ve been firmly entrenched in the fiction side for the past 35 years. Many of the books that I check out from the library are the DIY type like How to Install Solar Power or Improve Your Handwriting in 30 Days or Have a New Kid by Friday. Those are useful but a bit limited as they are a finite resource. Once read and applied, I don’t need them anymore because I’ve already grasped the concept. However, I picked up Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin recently and it’s enthralling! Here’s a subject that is simple to grasp but will take a lifetime to apply. It’s these types of books that end up moving from the library aisle to a purchase at Amazon.
Here’s what I have on my reading list, in no particular order:[list] [li type=”glyphicon-arrow-right”]Blood Hound by James Osiris Baldwin – finished. This book was a non-stop thrill and the main character was well drawn. I’ll be posting a review soon on this great book.[/li] [li type=”glyphicon-arrow-right”]Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin – half way done but I’m taking notes as I go[/li] [li type=”glyphicon-arrow-right”]The Haunted Season by G.M. Maillet – three-quarters of the way finished. I love her characterization and the build-up of tension.[/li] [li type=”glyphicon-arrow-right”]The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco by Laura DiSilverio – not started but it looks like a great cozy.[/li] [li type=”glyphicon-arrow-right”]A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – not started. I heard about it on the What Should I Read Next podcast hosted by Anne Bogel (The Modern Mrs. Darcy) and it sounded like something I might enjoy reading. I think that’s the point of her podcast![/li] [li type=”glyphicon-arrow-right”]Marked by Sue Tingey – not started. I think this is an urban fantasy, which I really enjoy. I just need to get through all these other books first![/li] [/list]
And let’s not forget the hundred other books that I pre-read for my boys. Which brings me to..[dropcap]H[/dropcap]omeschooling: it’s not for cowards.
Seriously. I have found that I need to put my big-girl panties on every day and brave the homeschooling waters that is a major part of my life. It’s not that I don’t enjoy teaching our boys. I really do. There are those times when I feel like crawling into a deep, dark hole because I just know that I’ve ruined my kids for life and that I’m a terrible mother/teacher/cheerleader/taxi driver. Recently, this bought of self-doubt began with one of my favorite subjects: science.
After struggling with this subject on and off for the past few years I finally gave into a big science curriculum purchase. I thought it would solve all our problems: the content was thorough, it had videos, and there were experiments galore. So why did I end up hating it so much? After some consideration, it dawned on me that my kids weren’t engaged in the learning process. They liked it but didn’t really love it. And I want them to really love science as much as I do.
We took a break from science so I could take a hard look at what I really wanted the kids to learn. I decided that I wanted them to learn what they wanted to know about: why we use solar energy in the desert, how the Nerf gun shoots the dart, and why we don’t fall off the face of the earth (to name a few of the constant questions I receive all day, every day). Most, if not all, of their questions could be answered with physics. Finding living books on physics stumped me since I didn’t know of any that focused solely on this area of science. I finally asked the Ambleside Online group on Facebook which books they had used (besides the ones recommended by AO) and I received a huge response. I wish I had done that first!
I created a list of subjects that I wanted us to at least touch on. Basically it’s all the major areas of physics. Then I decided on a “spine,” the main book to tie all of it together. For us, that book is The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay. I’m also using carefully curated videos to show the boys how a principle looks in life besides more living books to fill in the gaps. I need to get my hands on Physics for Every Kid by Janice Vancleave. I really enjoy her other books so this one should fit right in. Our history fits right in as they’re already learning about a slew of inventors. I hope that this approach will work for my boys. It certainly has worked in all the other subjects we study!