Saturday, September 22, 2012

Off Track

View from a field near my new home.

“Even if you are on the right track—you will get run over if you just sit there.”

- Will Rogers

Happy Autumn.

       Lately, I’ve been feeling like my blog has been captured by promotion.  And that is because it has.  Part of the reason is that good friends have published books.  Another part is that more people are self-publishing, so more books are being published.  And the last part is I have a short story coming out in an anthology, so I’m even going to be promoting my own stuff.

My blog has gotten off track. 

       I began blogging 3 years ago with the mission to chronicle my living hell life as a substitute teacher.  Some of the posts were funny or some poor attempt thereof. Some were poignant.  If I really nailed it, the pieces were both. 

       But I didn’t write just about teaching, but also writing and sometimes snippets of my personal life.  Here and there, I might do a book review or promote someone’s work, but those were exceptions.  Then I began working full time in 2010, and blogged less.  Those once-a-week slots filled up with more and more “other”. 

       While my blog has changed, this summer was (mostly) typical. I spent it visiting family, enjoying my kids, taking my kids to camp, setting up our new house, exploring our new town, applying for jobs, and writing and submitting.  The biggest change, besides the new house, was getting the dog. 

Oh, and my husband and his dad parachuted from a plane:

       Nearly everyday these few months, I wrote nearly everyday.  I wanted to achieve more than I did, but I did pretty well.  I started a middle grade novel (I’m over 10k into it) and started overhauling on an old middle grade novel (I’m more than halfway through it).  I also edited my last YA a bunch of times.  It’s with a reader now, so I won’t do anything with it until I receive feedback.

       My teaching life is kind of like my writing life: lots of stuff goes out, but they don’t lead to lots of “YES” replies.  But I did have a poem in the July issue of Vine Leaves and my vignette from their April issue, “Left Behind”, will be included in their Best of Vine Leaves paperback on December. 

      Now I’m back at work. My aide job this year is more challenging.  I’m working with an autistic child who has a hard time following the routine.  This student needs so much support just to switch tasks, which is a new experience for me.  While I’m fond of the student and am working hard to help the child thrive, it feels far removed from what I envisioned my role as an educator to be. 

       My kids are coping with switching schools in our new town.  My son went from a tiny school to a huge one.  After several scheduling problems, which added to feeling overwhelmed, he’s getting along better.  He’s also kept in touch with old friends, which helps.  My daughter had an easier start since this summer she made a neighborhood friend who’s in her class.  But it takes time to build friendships, so it’s still a transition for her too.  It’s hard to watch them struggle. 

       Even with work, the house, and the kid’s after school activities, I’m determined to keep writing manuscripts and submit short stories. A piece I wrote last summer,  “My Moment”, is coming out in the From Stage Door Shadows anthology on 09/29, so I’ve set up a mini blog tour.  I’ve gone through trouble to make sure when I link to guest posts, they’re not just there to say, “BUY MY BOOK.”  The crowd of publication-pushers has become so large, we’re all feeling fatigued.  But I’m proud of the story and if I have a piece in a book, I think I owe it to the publishers to get the word out. 

       I’m going to try to wrestle my blog back to its roots.  Not subbing which would kill me, but less promotion and more about my struggles and your struggles.  Like when I began this blog, I’m still trying to not get derailed by what’s not working in my life, but holding on to the small successes.  I think I can, I think I can.

 This is my cat when we were packing to move.

What were your challenges and successes this summer?


  1. Your new dog is adorable!
    Sometimes we get off track. Sometimes it's merely changes. Key is to know which one. Sounds like you know and have a plan.
    My blog has changed A LOT from when I began almost three years ago, but I'm really happy where it's at now.

  2. Your plate is very full, and I admire you for readily adapting to major changes. I look forward to reading your new blog posts!

  3. I've been feeling of track, too. Congrats on more publication success and getting lots of writing in this summer. I'm hoping to get back to revising next month.

  4. Life is change...

    Congrats on the publications. That's huge. You're achieving your goals. You're getting your writing out there.

    As for me, the less said about my summer, the better.

  5. Perhaps you weren't so much off-track as on a different track, which seems fair enough considering how many pans you had/have on the fire at the same time.
    At any rate, it's nice to read about you again.

    How is the canine/feline cohabitation going?
    Challenge: finding steady work, status-unrealized
    Success: finally pulling the thorn out from my mind that had been there for almost two years!

    1. Alesa, a different track sounds better. And I have had a few typical posts here and there, so it's not all promotion.

      The dog is a forever optimist, trying to play with the cat. When the dog tries to play, the cat swats at the dog, but not to hurt him. Just a hiss and tap. Then the dog leaves her alone. Yesterday, the cat was under the weather. She stopped eating and looked mangy. The dog followed her around and kept sniffing her. Funny because when he's sick, she gives no inkling that she realizes it or cares. I'd like to see them snuggle together someday, but that will probably never happen.

      Maybe I'll get a decent-paying full time job when you get steady work. I'm glad to hear you pulled out a two-year thorn, but I'm wondering what it could be.

      I'm enjoying your new blog and I liked the post with the photos of the backgrounds behind the album covers.

  6. Lovely Theresa!! A gorgeous dog and a beautiful cat! Awwww! How perfect is that scenario! :-) So glad to hear your kids are adjusting ok too - and hopefully they'll feel more and more settled as time goes by!

    Huge, huge congratulations with your story submission successes!! So happy for you and it's great that your creative brain is cranking up with your various ms too!! I'm in AWE!!!

    Good luck with your current teaching position - sounds really challenging. I hope you get the support network you need though!

    My goodness you hubby and his dad!! Are they crazy!?!? LOL!!! Yay for them! Take care

  7. Love your new dog. We're going to get one too in the next few months after we get a fence installed. I'm nervous. I've never had a dog. I'm so excited you moved because I remember you talking about doing it here.

    I'm so impressed that you've kept up the writing. I'm on a good roll right now but it's a constant struggle.

    I don't feel off track on my blogging, but like Alex feel like it's changed into pretty much promoting books and authors. I'm liking it but am trying to find a balance on how many days a week I post.

  8. I am so jealous, Theresa! I so want a dog, but it's just not a good time for us. Thanks for the update of your life - I feel like I know you much better. Best of luck with your writing!

  9. Hi Theresa. You know my struggles this summer. The only success I could think of were the two short courses I did in the first quarter of this year but I'm glad I did them. I'm glad to be back blogging. I hope that this will carry on and that I won't get off track again. It's been tough but I'm now trying to get back reading and writing. I also have to promote the anthology, From Stage Door Shadows - proud to be in it with you and Jessica Bell and all other good writers...and to be with eMergent Publishing.

    Congratulations on your successes! You are hardworking and you always put your heart in what you do. You deserve all the success and I wish you even more success in the future, you deserve it.

    1. And of course, please allow me to add another success, From Stage Door Shadows. My brain is still fried, I didn't mean to miss mentioning it. :)

  10. Lovely dog! Enjoy your time and friendship with it!

    Wishing you all the best!

  11. Cute dog! The cat is cute, too!

  12. Those successes are what we should focus on and you seem to be gaining more and more success too. Yay!!!
    And I'll admit I love reading about the struggles too because it makes me feel like I'm not alone in those struggles.

  13. Life and blogs change and adapt and progress, that's all your blog has been doing. And it's a great blog to read, so keep doing what you're doing!!

  14. Life is change, you know? And promotion and other things are sometimes part of it, I think. I was looking at some of my early posts and had forgotten how much things have changed over the years. I think it's okay to change and even to wander some. As long as we keep writing and moving ahead.

    Have a great week!

  15. My challenges this summer mostly have to do with family. If you need help promoting any of your writing, hit me up.

    1. Thanks, Michael! Maybe I'll hit you up for the Best of Vine Leaves for December.

  16. Sounds like you've got a lot on your plate, but you've certainly had some great successes! Congratulations, and good luck!

  17. Your new dog is adorable! The cat is a cutie too and made me laugh, my cat almost had a heart attack when we moved.

    I can relate to getting off track with the blog, I had a terrible time writing for mine over the summer. I'm trying to get back to more of a routine now.

    Congratulations on your story making the anthology!! I'm looking forward to reading about it. :)

  18. Wow, sounds like you had a ton going on. I'm gearing up for promotion myself and have seen many blogs go to featuring authors. It's a nice thing, but I can see how it can take away your original intent/energy. Good luck!

  19. Congrats on your upcoming pieces. "Best of," huh? That's wonderful. If you want to promote anything, you know that my blog is your blog.

    1. Missed Periods, you don't want me splitting infinities all over the place on your blog. Seriously, thanks for the offer. Maybe for The Best of Vine Leaves" in December?

  20. You've been very busy, that's for sure. I've been working, and writing as much as I'm able. My children take a lot of my time, which is normal. I have a niece staying with me, too. So, supporting three children alone is a bit tough.

    I love a challenge!

  21. I took the summer off blogging and got more done on my ms than I ever could have hoped! But I'm glad to be back to blogging, too - I really missed it. Good luck with all the new challenges and experiences in your life!

  22. I think our blogs grow with us mine have certainly changed over the years. All the best in your new home and with the challenges that face you on your life adventure.

  23. What a sweet looking dog.

    I combine the promo with the other stuff. Let me know if you need help getting the word out on your anthology.

  24. Love your animal photos, Theresa!
    Funny, I sort of had the same reaction the other day when I realised I'd been stretching myself thin with review promises and guest post promises and the like.
    Congratulations on your anthology release!

  25. I've been an on /off blogger, and have thought of just not doing it at all lately, but its a great way of keeping up to date and in touch, and doesnt take too much time.

    I've been off line all summer more or less editing, editing, editing...but I would like to get back to my roots too, with my blog, and just have a bit more fun with it I think:)

    I loved your poem, well done on juggling so much with your move too:)
    Take care:)

  26. Your dog is adorable.

    You've been through many changes, which can be good.

    My blog has changed as well. I stick to a M-W-F schedule when I used to only blog once or twice a week. I do help promote other authors, and sometimes it happens several posts in a row.

    I've been writing steadily, but at the same time I feel stalled since my manuscripts are in various stages, but not complete. Soon I'll revise one manuscript, edit another, and rewrite a third.