Awards, Blogging

Want to do me a favor?

writing blog award
Here’s a screen shot from the blog that is sponsoring the award. Go check it out!

Do you enjoy this writers blog? If so, do me a favor and go nominate my blog for the 2013 Top 10 Blogs for Writers contest. I need at least two nominations in order to be considered for the award and would greatly appreciate your input.


Mandy  🙂


Getting a late start on NaNoWriMo

Writing: Just DO it already! | Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s Day 7, and I have changed my mind. I am doing NaNoWriMo after all. There’s nothing like waiting a week to decide you want to write 50,000 words like everyone else. I have been sitting here reading blog posts about everyone else’s NaNo projects and feeling jealous. And making excuses for why I couldn’t do it too.

Then I got an idea. I finally looked myself in the computer screen and said, “Shut up with the excuses already. Sit your ass down in that chair and start writing.”

So, I am doing it. I am starting NaNoWriMo today, seven days in, and on my birthday, no less. Continue reading “Getting a late start on NaNoWriMo”

Composition I, Writing Prompts

Tuesday Writing Prompt: A personal narrative

Shooting an Elephant
Today’s writing prompt was inspired by George Orwell’s personal narrative, “Shooting an Elephant.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I will be teaching my English Composition I students about the Narrative Essay. For this one, I decided to use a prompt from our textbook, The Longman Writer (8th ed.)

Writing Prompt

“In “Shooting an Elephant,” George Orwell tells about an incident that forced him to act in a manner contrary to his better instincts. Write a narrative about a time you faced a disturbing conflict and ended up doing something you later regretted” (p. 172).

Care to join us? Freewrite on the above topic for a minimum of 10 minutes, then share your freewrite in the comments below. Or, you may decide to use the material you generate to write a narrative essay. If so, you may post your essay on your own blog or website and share a link to your essay in the comments below.

–OR– Why not publish your personal essay? Continue reading “Tuesday Writing Prompt: A personal narrative”

Facebook, Mount Mary College, Novel Writing

Are you ready to write a novel this season?

a stack of library books
Today’s library haul… who says fiction writing doesn’t require research?

I had a great time with the summer writing challenge and got to know several of you quite well in the process. I want to thank everyone one more time for participating. If you managed to write even just a few more pages than you would have otherwise, then I consider the challenge a success!

Since I am not ready to stop challenging myself, this morning, I changed the name of my Write Your Novel this Summer Facebook page to “Write Your Novel this Season.” I think it’s a good idea to keep cranking out new material even while you are working on revisions for your previous stories. What do you think?

What’s next? Well, I did a complete read-through of my “Bees to Honey” novel (this is not a title, just a descriptive phrase to keep track of which novel is which) and wrote a few new scenes. I have reached the point where I need to do a ton of research on a certain element of my story before I do too much more writing. So, I went to the library this morning and picked up a huge stack of source material. I have a LOT of reading ahead of me! Continue reading “Are you ready to write a novel this season?”

Composition I, Education, Essays, Writing Prompts

Tuesday Writing Prompt: School Lunches

Cover of "Bird by Bird: Some Instructions...
Today’s writing prompt was inspired by Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. | Cover via Amazon

Today my English Composition I class is learning about description in preparation for the descriptive essay they will write for next week. Descriptive writing incorporates all five senses:

  1. Sight
  2. Sound
  3. Smell
  4. Taste
  5. Touch/feelings

I like to include “feelings” with number five, as it is often important to describe how something makes you “feel” in addition to how certain elements might “feel” to the touch. Just remember, it is equally essential to “show” how something makes you feel rather than “telling” your reader about it. So, try to avoid using the word, “feel” in your writing.

For today’s activities, I am borrowing a writing prompt from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Continue reading “Tuesday Writing Prompt: School Lunches”

Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

It’s time to wrap up our summer writing challenge!

a picture of an apple pie
As summer draws to a close, it’s time to start thinking about apple pies and second drafts. Time to harvest the fruits of our labor!

Today is the official last day of summer. The time has come to wrap up the Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge. I don’t know about you, but I am feeling *super* productive after completing this challenge.

For those of you who did not complete your first draft, that’s okay. Did you keep writing anyway? That’s the important thing. As long as you keep writing, you will get there eventually. Keep at it!

A few of you have contacted me to let me know when you did complete the first drafts of your novels. Congratulations on a job well finished!

If you are like me, Anne Lamott, Stephen King, and a myriad of lesser-known writers, your first draft is probably… WELL… “Shitty.” Continue reading “It’s time to wrap up our summer writing challenge!”

Book Reviews, Novel Writing, Random Writing Rants

When it is bad to get feedback on your writing

Stolen A Letter to My Captor by author Lucy Christopher
I recommend this book for any writer who would like to study the art of taking a reader on a journey without the reader knowing where she is going until she arrives.

I have said it before, and I will say it again. I do not believe that you should share the first draft of your novel with anyone – ANYONE — until it is complete. The more I learn, the more I believe this to be true.

I just finished reading Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher. I can’t help but picture myself in a writer’s critique group with the author, bashing her work and ensuring this novel never comes to fruition. I wouldn’t kill her darling for her on purpose. But not being able to read through to the end of her story, there is no way I could possibly understand what she was attempting to do as she wrote this novel. Continue reading “When it is bad to get feedback on your writing”

Random Rants, Random Writing Rants

We all have the same amount of time, just different priorities

a stack of library books
I have a lot more time for reading since graduation and go to the library at least once a week now.

One of my students started out this semester complaining about how much work she has to do in my class. I cannot even tell you how many times she said, “I don’t have time for this” on the first day of class. She was oblivious to her classmates glaring at her as if they wanted to ask if she truly believes she is the only person who has a life outside of school.

As the semester progresses, this same student keeps asking me if she really has to do all of the practice lessons or if she can only turn in the graded assessments and skip everything else. I am honestly sick to death of hearing it.

This week, I finally told her, “Look. It’s your choice. You do what you have to do. If you fail your assessments because you chose not to complete the practice lessons, then you will have to suffer the consequences.”

“I don’t have time for this.” Continue reading “We all have the same amount of time, just different priorities”

Composition I, Essays, Writing Prompts

Tuesday writing prompt: Your proudest moment

Educational Resource:  "Writing process"
Educational Resource: “Writing process” (Photo credit: Ken Whytock)

This week in my Composition I class, we are continuing our journey through the steps of the writing process. Last week, we discussed prewriting and choosing a thesis. I asked my students to do a freewrite in which they considered whether pride is a virtue or a vice. Then we worked together to come up with a thesis statement for an essay they will write on the topic of pride.

Today we are moving on to the next two steps in the writing process, which are (according to our textbook) “Supporting the thesis with evidence” and “Organizing the evidence.” We will continue to generate raw material for our pride essay as we work through each step. So, this week’s (and probably next week’s as well) writing prompt will be a continuation of the prompt I gave you last week. Continue reading “Tuesday writing prompt: Your proudest moment”

Novel Writing

It is time to get back to the writing

It’s time to write a book! | Books (Photo credit: vasta)

Last week was my first week back to teaching after having the summer off. I needed to take a little break from writing to get my sh*t together so I can make a living. I have now made it through week two of classes and am about as settled in as I am going to get. Sure, I still have lesson planning to accomplish each week, and soon I will have composition papers to grade as well. However, all of my front-end preparation is complete, and I am ready to get back to writing.

These past few weeks, I have felt as if I was holding back a dam of words. I tried to squeeze in a few minutes of writing here and there, but life was pretty busy. It’s like, once I had gotten into the habit of writing every day, it was hard to stop. Now I am faced with the fact that I have written little for two weeks, and now I have to get back in the habit. Continue reading “It is time to get back to the writing”