Thursday, September 22, 2011

10 Reasons I'm Freaking Out

Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.
- Lawrence Kasdan

10 Reasons I’m Freaking Out
1. I’m sleepier after a day at work as a paraprofessional than I thought I’d be. Too tired to read or do projects for school. How will I be a graduate student and a Social Studies teacher at some point? Will this get easier?
2. Being a student again after an 11-year break is daunting. When I left, PowerPoint was just becoming something. Now the only “Blackboard” in sight is an on-line service that has all my coursework and messages from the professor.
3. My first day of class, I left my kids at the bakery across the street, where they were to sit for 15 minutes, and then go next door to do homework in the lobby of my daughter’s ballet class. Then my daughter would take ballet while my son would play videogames. 5 minutes into my class, I received a call from an unknown #. It was my son using the bakery phone. Turns out the ballet fall season began the next day. They were stuck in a dim waiting area with locked bathrooms. (My husband took the subway to rescue them.)
4. I have to take 36 credits to receive my M.A. in Special Education. Taking 1 class at a time means I’m going to be a student for a really loooooong time.
5. I have little time to blog or check Facebook.
6. Most of my energy is left for cooking, cleaning, ironing, and taking kids to afterschool activities.
7. I received edit suggestions for my short story in the upcoming Tiny Dancers anthology. I have no time/energy to work on them.
8. I received edit suggestions from my critique partner for my Muriel and the Misfits manuscript, but have no time/energy to incorporate them.
9. I have no time/energy to send out queries for Naked Eye.
10. I have no time/energy to write my new WIP.

I don’t want to give the impression that it’s all gloom and doom. After all, my family is helping. My husband is doing more. And the kids are doing more (though part of it is a behavior experiment from my class they don’t know they’re taking part in).
From kindergarten until age 30, I was a student nearly continuously. But I’m rusty, and my schedule, responsibilities, and interests (WRITING) have changed. Having it all seems harder to attain.

Is there room for writing in my new life?

Those of you working full-time
(especially if you’re a student and/or have kids)
how do you find time to write?

FYI: I have a post at BlogHer . Please VISIT and leave a comment, letting BlogHer know that I’m worth hosting. Thank you! xo

Don’t forget to enter my CoNtEsT .
Ends at midnight 09/27!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If I Could Be Anyone...

Phoebe: Come on, you don't think we'll be 60 and still living together, sharing clothes and a cat.

Piper: Well now that you put it that way, no, I don't want to live with you anymore.

- From TV show “Charmed”

Talli Roland is having a Watching Willow Watts book launch TODAY! Since I love alliterations, I wanted to participate.

Willow Watts lives a predictable and dull life. A You Tube video, in which she bears a striking resemblance to Marilyn Monroe, propels her to stardom. Will Willow lose herself in the process?

Talli’s challenge:

Now is your chance to make your superhero, film star, or Rock God fantasies come true.

“If I could be anyone, I’d be…”

I was torn, so I chose two. (I know - I’m so difficult.)

In the 1990s, I loved the TV show Xena: Warrior Princess. While she might have had chemistry with a guy or two, she didn’t depend on a man. (Do you hear me, Bella?) She could FIGHT. She was FIERCE.

In homage to her, I’ve named my GPS, Xena: Warrior Navigator.

The 1990s also brought the TV show Charmed, featuring brunette sisters. Sure, there were attractive love interests. But what made the show great was the dynamic between the sisters.

Though they didn’t find out they were witches until they’d reached adulthood, they were pretty prepared. Prue had an art history degree, which helped her figure out where ancient relics originated and how to decipher the writing. Piper was a chef, so she could whip up potions like nobody’s business. They’d obviously taken martial arts because they could take down any badass demons that dared to mess with them.

Their powers were pretty cool. Prue hurled objects and people. Pipe froze objects and people. And Phoebe had premonitions. Since she didn’t have an active power until later (levitation), the martial arts became especially important. When the sisters combined their powers, they were a formidable force.

Phoebe: I'll do what I should've done a while ago which is vanquish your sorry ass.

When they're not vanquishing demons, they read.
(Did you notice Prue's shirt is the color of Talli's new book?)

While I may be dark-haired like these heroines, I’m not physically strong. I can’t wield a sword. I’m don’t have any magical powers (which irks me). Xena: Warrior Princess and Prue Halliwell possess strength I admire. On the upside, I don’t constantly have enemies after me.

Prue: I mean, well, you are a warlock magnet.

You can buy Watching Willow Watts:


In PAPERBACK (coming in November)

Other If I Could be Anyone… POSTS.

And don’t forget to enter my CONTEST!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A New Chapter and CONTEST!

My former sidebar “The Saga of the Substitute Teacher” was written in the style of the TV show “The Adventures of Superman”.

The post about it is HERE .

The substitute-teaching day that led to it is HERE.

I began my blog on 09/06/09, which means I’ve been subbing for 2+ years.

My first post is HERE .

Last week on Monday and Wednesday, I interviewed for 2 full-time Special Education assistant jobs, fretted about whether I’d be offered those jobs (especially because I was competing against fresh out of school Special Ed. TEACHERS), and doubted every decision I’d ever made in my life.

Tuesday, I received a job offer for a Special Education Extended Term Substitute position that would last only 3 months (and be full of responsibility for something I have little background in… yet).

Thursday, I received a job offer in a town nearby to work with middle school children with behavioral issues. I TOOK THE JOB.

Friday, I called Cambridge human resources and resigned as a substitute teacher. (YaY!)

I may no longer be a sub, but the aim of this blog is the same: to chronicle my journey to have my own Social Studies classroom, land an agent, and receive a publishing contract.

I’ve deleted my “Saga of the Substitute Teacher” sidebar and added a new one, “Writer with Woes”:

Hello, I'm Theresa Milstein and I’m certified to teach Social Studies. For 2 years I was a substitute teacher. I was an assistant, a day sub, and an ETS*. My students were preschoolers, teens, and ages in between. But now I'm full time, picking up my life exactly where I left off. I'm back as an assistant, writing each day, and taking Special Education graduate classes. I'm finding out that though the positions have changed, the hassles are just the same.

* Extended Term Substitute

(If you can tell which TV show I pulled this from, let me know in the comments section.)

Under the “Substitute Teacher’s Saga” heading, it now says:

Although no longer a sub, the saga continues...

Thank you for sharing this saga with me.

To celebrate my 4 milestones: blogiversary, 600+ follower count, new gradate class, and new job, I’m hosting a GIVEAWAY.

You can win 1 of 4 BOOKS:

Abandon by Meg Cabot, hardcover SIGNED!

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, paperback SIGNED!

Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. by Medeia Sharif, paperback.


You MUST be a follower and you MUST share this post in some way.

2 points - old follower

1 point - new follower

1 point for each place you share via social network

2 points for sidebar

5 points for blog post

(Extra bonus point if you suggest a new title for my blog.)

Tally points in the comments section, telling me what you did, which book(s) you prefer, and leave your e-mail address.

Open internationally. Contest ends midnight EST, 09/27.


Monday, September 5, 2011

First Challenge

The requirement is to begin with, The door swung open…

Here’s my attempt at exactly 200 words:

The door swung open. I lit a candle from the mantel and entered the dark cave. The door swung shut, making me jump. I tugged the knob, but it wouldn’t budge.

With each tentative step, I cursed the factors that led me to this predicament. One, I was home alone. Two, I was bored. Three, the fireplace's jutting stone compelled me to press it. Four, my parents wouldn’t return for hours. Five, what would happen when the candle burned out?

Step six led to a set of stairs, too deep to see to the bottom. I took a step. My racing heart didn’t match my slow descent. My parents would never hear me from so far down. But something compelled me to go on.

As soon as I reached the landing, I inhaled the aroma of food. How could that be? Ahead, I spied light. Blowing out the stumpy candle, I followed the scent and ignored my stomach’s cries to flee.

“She’s come!”

I heard the merriment from the waxy-skinned youths before I absorbed the sconce-illuminated room. A spread more impressive than Thanksgiving stood before me. I entered the room. The door swung shut.

“Join us in the never-ending feast.”