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I write the most amazing, thought provoking crap while I’m lying in bed and can’t sleep.  Do I get up and write it down so I won’t forget it? Of course not.  Instead I fool myself into thinking it will remain in my memory for the few hours of darkness and I’ll jump out of bed and write it out, word for word, once the sun comes up.  And after I’ve let the dogs out and fed them.  And straightened up the kitchen, gone to the gym, had coffee at Starbucks, worked, run errands and whatever else I do before I think, “Crap, I forgot what I wrote in my head last night, and dammit, it was good.” 

You’d think I’d remember that I don’t remember and actually write it down, but clearly that’s asking too much.  Probably it’s not nearly as fantastic as I think it is anyway.  I’m sure it’s a tired attempt at the most, but it sure seems good in the haze of sleeplessness. 

I haven’t worked much on my book lately.  The first draft is done, and I’ve got eight chapters of the final draft rewritten, but I’ve taken a well needed break.  The plan was to have it all done and ready for editing in October.  Of 2012, but that isn’t an option anymore.  Instead, my goal is to finish it by March.  Editing services are not cheap and I’ve got other expenses before I pay someone to tell me I suck at writing so March it is.  I’ve been writing for work a lot lately and it seems to stifle my muse so the break was needed. 

Even though I’m not working on Unfinished Business, I have been reading what others write, and what they think about writing, and mostly, about how they write.  I’m glad to see I’m not any different than most.  Sometimes I can write like a crazy person and it’s good and other times I can’t get a word on the screen to save my life.  Most of the time I find my best writing is while I’m driving and can’t do anything about it.  I do record some of it, but then I have to listen to it and type it and I…hate…that…  Hate it.  Who wants to retype their own dictation? It’s like listening to nails on a chalkboard for me.  I listen and think, “Who the hell is that person talking and why can’t she say something interesting?”  

I mentioned this to my husband and because he’s pretty darn wonderful, he got me that Dragon software.   It allow me to talk and record and then it magically types it out.  HOW COOL IS THAT? I’m hoping it works on my Mac.  If not, I’m going to go through a form of depression.  Planning to install it once the boy is back in school and my house is mine again. 

I’m looking forward to writing more.  I miss it, and it’s time. 

Over the past few days I’ve been on mom duty.  Yes, I’m always on mom duty, but sometimes it takes up more time than others.  Lately mom duty has been all about studying and preparing.  My son has four tests this week.  He’s in 8th grade. I realize it’s the end of the year and teachers want to get tests out of the way before the holiday break (because they no no one will do any school work over the break and will likely forget everything once they’re back at school), but four tests (and two quizzes) in one week is a bit much.  We had notice for two of the tests prior to the weekend so we were able to focus on those but didn’t find out about the other two until yesterday.  Giving kids two days to study for two tests when they’ve got other activities is a lot if you ask me.

I don’t baby my kids.  I never have.  The real world is tough and they’re not going to be babied (though it seems that’s happening more and more, but I won’t go down that path in this post), so I believe it’s important to prepare them for the real world.  I’m not a coddler and honestly, wouldn’t even know how to do that if I tried.

I do think it’s important to help a kid when they need help and I felt my son needed help, so I stepped up to the plate.  I’m not sure if it’s hormones or what, but this year has been a struggle for him.  He’s not the smartest kid on the planet, but he is smart and he is in all advanced classes but I think he’s struggling with the extra effort he needs to put in.  And by struggling I mean he doesn’t want to do it.

This is where I come in.  I’ve tried to figure out a way to help him improve his study habits, and it’s not been easy.  My oldest daughter is wicked smart and knew when it was time to hunker down (she may have not done that her freshman year in college, but she learned that lesson quickly).  My other daughter hasn’t been a studier and that’s been a big problem for her, but my son is mostly like my oldest.  He can memorize anything, but now memorizing isn’t enough. He needs to find a way to apply and truly understand what he’s learning.

Of course, being the google queen that I am, I researched and researched ways to help him learn but I got a whole bunch of crap.  Be organized, review, etc.  I know all of that.  I’ve tried to teach him all of that, but so far it’s not working.  He can’t grasp the concept of ‘reviewing for a few minutes each night’ even though EVERY teacher has suggested this.

So needless to say, we had to learn 29 vocabulary words for language arts and a whole butt load of Georgia and US government history.

I took his social studies study guide and used his online book (because they don’t have enough money for actual books anymore) and went through and found every answer.  No, I didn’t give it to him.  I made him go through and find every answer also.  He’s not going to learn if he doesn’t do the work.  I did it also so I could make sure he had the right answers.  What’s the point of doing it and learning it if you’re learning the wrong information?

Once I finished that, I copied all of his worksheets and notes and along with the study guide, made about 100 note cards.  I gave him those to review, which bored him to death.  So I took the note cards and wrote out about 100 questions on individual note cards and 100 answers on another set of note cards.  We laid the answers out on the floor in rows and he took each question and matched it to the answer.  He loved it.  Then we reversed it.  He loved it again.  He busted through it and got every single one right, and even corrected the ones I did wrong (hey, it was a lot to cover in a few hours and I haven’t been in school for a long time!)

We did the same with the vocab cards and he nailed them.  Then I made him use them in sentences and did word association with them, too. His vocab quiz was yesterday and he missed two that he knows of.  I feel like  I failed him.  He missed two words that were similar.  One was nefarious.  The quiz required him to fill in a word in a sentence.  His sentence was about the Grinch being nefarious.  He didn’t believe the Grinch to be evil, which is part of the definition.  I guess technically, the Grinch isn’t, but I really can’t make that argument with the teacher.  Either way, considering he’d had the words for TWO WEEKS and hadn’t touched them, I’m good with missing two.

The social studies test is today.  He knows it all, except possibly the last few amendments to the first 1o on the Bill of Rights.  Have you read those things?  I haven’t in years, but in finding them on the internet, I couldn’t tell you what any of them meant.  He had a ‘cheat sheet’ from class that shortened them into understandable verbiage, but left it at school.  I sure hope he doesn’t blow it with those.  I’m sitting on pins and needles waiting to find out.

He also has a math test.  The kid is in advanced math, and they’re doing algebra.  Waaaayyy past my level of knowledge.  I made it to long division and then went down hill from there.  My husband helped him some and we got him a tutor because my husband travels and I can’t answer any questions that require me to add, subtract, divide or multiply a number with a letter.  X, regardless of what they say, does not have a numeric value in my head.

The next two tests are Spanish and science.  I’m pretty sure he’ll ace those, because he usually does.  I’m pretty sure he’ll ace the government test too.  The vocab quiz would have been a big fat fail because he hates language arts. Who birthed this kid?  How can he hate language arts?  As for math, he’s struggling, but that seems to be the general consensus of all of the kids in that class.

Needless to say, my creativity tanked over the past few days.  Focusing my brain like that has worn this menopausal woman out!  I’m so glad I don’t have to learn things I don’t want to learn anymore.  Give me stuff that interests me any day but the rest, let’s just leave that to the middle schoolers.

I’ve been writing my book for, well, forever.  It’s taken on many faces, many themes and far too many rewrites, but it’s this close to done and I’m starting to get excited.  I’ve toyed with the idea of an agent, and have sent out a few queries, but with the ability to self publish an ebook, I am not too worried about not having an agent, yet.  

I’ve decided to go ahead with the ebook and still search for an agent, or even a publisher.  I’m traditional in many ways, but am trying hard to move in the direction of modern times. 

There are so many things to consider when publishing a book, even if an agent is used.  Marketing is a huge issue.  No one will read a book if no one knows about it, will they?  I’ve been researching the various avenues of self marketing, and I have to say, it makes me nervous.  I’ve never been one to really ‘toot my own horn’, but I have to now.  So if you’ve happened upon this new blog, please take a moment to check out my first chapter, currently available via a public Facebook page at unfinished business.  

Bare with me as I navigate through this world completely unknown to me!