Now that the summer is coming to a close and the kids are returning to school, I am beginning to feel that old familiar itch to scratch my pen on lined paper. With about two weeks left in my summer, there are only sixteen more fun facts about me to post, which turns out to be the single most creative idea I have ever had for the summer holidays, with a staggering increase in my readership and viewer stats.
Many of you know I submitted a short story to The Writer Magazine contest. I received my letter this month, and unfortunately, I was not named among the top twenty. Thankfully, so! After rereading my short story, I discovered many flaws that need fine-tuning. I should take my time and not rush through a project!
In the meantime, I have picked up the final draft of my novel and am continuing the editing process. I don’t want this book to take longer than two years to complete, and I am itching to start that submission letter! However, I’m thrilled I decided to take the summer off from writing (except for a post here and there). It gave me the much-deserved and needed rest to spend quality time with my family.
In the next few weeks, my days will be filled with preparing my stepdaughters for school, filling out the necessary paperwork, and attending doctor’s appointments. In my new busy life as a “Mom,” I have discovered that school greatly benefits my development as a writer. Not only will I have the free time during the day to write again, but I will also have the added benefit of helping with any English assignments that pass through my front door.
I see many eyes rolling, but don’t dismiss this little gift. As a writer, any little lesson goes a long way in learning and remembering grammar skills. Even my youngest stepdaughter, who is 11 years old, has already taught me all about adding a “hook” to the beginning of an article so that one could draw in more readers. Brilliant!
Once I channeled that knowledge, I had the opportunity to explore another avenue for these girls to continue to learn and grow beyond the classroom. Each of them now has her own blog. This has become an excellent tool to enhance their grammar skills even when they have been absent from school for their vacations. And they love it!
Laura was the first to ask questions about blogging. I answered her probing and asked if she wanted to try it. She was too eager to be the first child in our household to share what she had to say with the world.
We sat down and figured out what type of blog she wanted, what she wanted to name the blog, and what the categories would be. She decided to write about animals and what she would learn as she studies to be a Vet Tech. Then, we decided on photography.
That was the easy part!
We visited the Detroit Zoo two years ago and managed to pull photos from that collection. Next, we logged onto WordPress and created her blog. We chose the theme, added the pictures, fixed the widgets, included pages, and she wrote her first article.
About Me was the simplest article she could write, and it fueled her passion for writing more articles. She now sits with her books and researches each animal she wants to write about in her blog. She will even explore the Internet for rescue agencies and shelters to feature in her articles.
The youngest didn’t want to be left out of this new realm of “expression” and was antsy to get her blog started. However, she could not settle down on a particular theme since she was eager to share with the world her thoughts as they came. She wanted to have it all. After all, it was her life, her song, her way!
After Danielle and I completed her blog, I discussed the rules with the girls. Since they are minors, I managed to squeeze in a couple of fair rules that each kid could understand:
- All postings must be 100% authentic, using their own creative energies, words, and phrases.
- All articles must be approved by me before posting. This teaches them grammar skills through repetition and enhances my own editing skills. It also gives them a feel of what it might be like to experience a submission process with a real-life editor.
- They are not allowed to use real names when they are writing about other people unless they get written consent, or they are writing about a celebrity. This especially applies to minors. For the protection and safety of their friends and other children, they will automatically change their names and cannot disclose their locations.
- I have access to each blog so that I can monitor for inappropriate comments.
- And, most of all… They are to have fun!
Occasionally, I get a moan or a groan, such as “Do I have to write?” Especially when she could not stop talking about writing an article on Justin Bieber a couple of days prior or her sister was too eager to post her article that she skipped the editing process. However, we learn from each other and allow the other to work at her pace.
Working one-on-one with each girl on things they like makes blogging so much fun. It also enables us to grow in our relationship as mother and daughter, and it solidifies the bond that we have created. Eventually, these girls will be able to spread their wings and write on their own without assistance. In the meantime, the fun I am having helping them along in their education of the written word will create many memories to come.