Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 8 | I DID IT!!!!

The state capitol of Madison, Wisconsin
We’re off to Madison for a little staycation to celebrate my completion of the summer novel writing challenge. | The state capitol of Madison, Wisconsin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I did it. I set myself a goal to write a fifteen-chapter novel in fifteen days. I ended up needing an extra chapter, so I wrote a sixteen-chapter novel in sixteen days. I have officially completed the Write Your Novel This Summer Challenge!

At 83 pages and 22,935 words, my first draft is (obviously) full of holes. However, the important thing is that I finished it. The entire story is on the page. I have a beginning, middle, and an end. I did not write a single unnecessary scene. I wrote only the pieces that absolutely had to be there to hold the puzzle together. Now, on to draft #2!

What’s next for me? Continue reading “Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 8 | I DID IT!!!!”

Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 5 | I just don’t know how to say no

my new kitten lulu la gata
This is my new baby kitty. Her name is Lulu La Gata. (La Gata is Spanish for “the cat.)

I should consider changing my Friday Writing Challenge Check-in series to “This Week’s Excuse for Not Writing.” Seriously, people, if I keep this up, I’m going to have to stop calling myself a writer. Maybe I should change my title to “blogger” since I can at least manage that.

Anyway, last Friday I headed out to Illinois for a huge family campout (huge as in somewhere around 60 to 70 family members showed up.) Of course, I brought my notebooks. Of course, I was too busy camping and visiting with family to write in them.

We camped until Sunday morning, then went to my parents’ house for a couple of days. Then I made a stop at my sister’s house a couple of hours north of my parents. I was planning to come home Wednesday, but she begged me to stay another day since she was off Wednesday and we could actually hang out and see each other. Once school starts, I’ll hardly get to see any of my family at all until next summer, so I couldn’t say no. Continue reading “Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 5 | I just don’t know how to say no”

Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

Write Your Novel this Summer: It’s time for our first check in!

Kitty says, “Stop looking at me and get back to writing!”

Well, it has officially been one full week since the start of our summer writing challenge. I plan to check in once a week on Fridays throughout the entire summer. Since I really haven’t accomplished anything yet, this week I will simply report on my starting point.

I started the summer writing challenge with a total of 65,128 words written. That’s about 240 double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt font pages.

While figuring out where to jump back into my story this week, I read my last few chapters and did a bit of surface editing here and there. I have also done a bit of freewriting, which I will not add into my word count. I am still in the freewriting stage at the moment, trying to get back on track with my story. Hopefully by next week I will be cranking out some actual chapters again. Continue reading “Write Your Novel this Summer: It’s time for our first check in!”

Poetry, Poetry by Mandy Webster

National Poetry Month: First Day Budding

Cherry blossoms at POSTECH
Spring has sprung, and I wish I had a cherry tree. | Cherry blossoms at POSTECH (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

April is National Poetry Month. So, I thought I would attempt to scratch out at least one new poem this month as my contribution. With that said, today I am sharing an original poem inspired by spring:

First Day Budding

A blush of white on trees
on the way
to work.


Not when it’s raining
like this.

Pink tinged,
as though every tree
on Earth
is about to burst forth
with cherry blossoms.

the whole world
will be green.

By Amanda L. Webster Continue reading “National Poetry Month: First Day Budding”

Finance, Random Rants

My tips for winning the Mega Millions jackpot (hint: I don’t have any)

Mega Millions tickets
Mega Millions tickets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the Mega Millions lottery jackpot at half a billion dollars, everyone is talking about how best to win. So, I thought I’d write my own little list of tips. However, unlike every other blog post or news article you may have read on the subject, I will not be giving you tips on how to win (per se.)

I hate to break it to you sunshine, but all those tips you’ve been reading in the news are B.S. The lotto is, by nature, a crap shoot. The lottery is not designed for you to win. It is designed to generate revenue for the government.


The lottery is a game. Like any game, there is a good, clean, fun way to play. There is also a horrible, bad, spend yourself into the poorhouse way to play. (Don’t play that second way.) In case you don’t know the difference, here are my top 5 tips for playing the lotto. Continue reading “My tips for winning the Mega Millions jackpot (hint: I don’t have any)”

Random Writing Rants

I need to write something

A picture of my school bags packed with books
This is how busy I am right now, in case you wondered. I have a bag for each day of the week so I can keep everything organized!

Please feel free to skip this post, as I have nothing to say today.

One of the secrets to running a ‘good’ blog is to blog often. So, I feel the need to write something today, considering I have posted nothing since Friday. I hate when life gets in the way of writing.

I’m back to school – playing both student and teacher, for the semester – so I’ve been fairly busy lately. Not to mention the fact that my kids have been sick this week, and I am trying desperately not to get sick myself until at least tomorrow. I teach two classes on Wednesdays, so I just can’t afford to be sick today. I’ll be sick tomorrow and get well in time for my Friday morning class.  Continue reading “I need to write something”

Poetry, Poetry by Mandy Webster

Poetry Friday already?


Wow, is it Friday already? I somehow lost an entire week in the shuffle of tieing up lose semester ends. For today’s Poetry Friday, sponsored by children’s author, Robyn Hood Black, I am sharing an original poem written by myself:

Hoard Horde

Sneaky spider in the night
softly spinning in moonlight.
Resting, dangling in the day,
watching, waiting for your prey. Continue reading “Poetry Friday already?”


Emily Dickinson’s To-Do List on Poetry Friday

A cabinet card copy of a daguerreotype of Emil...
Image via Wikipedia

I’m crazy right now with NaNoWriMo, so for today’s Poetry Friday, I’ll be sharing a quick poem by Andrea Carlisle from I Feel a Little Jumpy Around You: A Book of Her Poems & His Poems Collected in Pairs, collected by Naomi Shihab Nye and Paul B Janeczko.

Emily Dickinson‘s To-Do List

Figure out what to wear—white dress?
Put hair in bun
Bake gingerbread for Sue
Peer out window at passersby
Write poem
Hide poem

White dress? Off-white dress?
Feed cats
Chat with Lavinia
Work in garden
Letter to T.W.H. Continue reading “Emily Dickinson’s To-Do List on Poetry Friday”

Poetry, Poetry by Mandy Webster

The writer’s life on Poetry Friday

William Blake's "The Tyger," publish...
Image via Wikipedia

9:47 a.m.

This is this writer’s life today on this beautiful Poetry Friday:

  • Kids dressed and fed and off to wherever it is they need to be today: Check
  • Morning walk and shower: Check
  • Breakfast and coffee: Check
  • E-mail reviewed and inbox somewhat emptied: Check
  • Facebook caught up on for the moment: Check (BTW, go check out my Facebook Fan Page and like me.)
  • Morning pages written: Check
It’s already almost 10:00. So much yet To-D0:
Poetry, Poetry by Mandy Webster

Poetry Friday: “Rules for the Dance”

Cover of "Rules for the Dance: A Handbook...
Cover via Amazon

This week’s KidLitoSphere’s Poetry Friday Round-up is brought to you by Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

11:37 a.m.

Friday rolls around once more, and once more, I am attempting to participate in KitLitoSphere’s Poetry Round-up. If only I had a poem ready to share this week. But alas, I have yet to look at my homework for my kids and YA poetry class. I did just check out my syllabus, and it looks like I need to read pages 87-99 in Mary Oliver‘s Rules for the Dance: A Handbook for Writing and Reading Metrical Verse. So, I think I’ll talk about this for now instead of trying to pop out an off-the-cuff poem that will likely just fizzle and flop.

In addition to Rules of the Dance, we are also reading Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook. Each week, we must read a selection from one or both of these books, and then write a poem based on the reading. For example, last week I had to write a metered poem (didn’t go so well, in case you’re wondering.) This week’s reading will require even more metrical verse, and this is why I’m not in a hurry to try to pop out my poem for the week. This is going to take some time and thought. Continue reading “Poetry Friday: “Rules for the Dance””