Now that the summer is coming to a close, and the kids are returning back 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, that means 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 that 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 guess this is why I should take my time and not rush through a project!
In the meantime, I have picked up my final draft on my novel and am continuing the editing process. I don’t want this book to take longer than two years for completion, and I am itching to start that submission letter! However, I’m thrilled that I had decided to take the summer off from writing (with the exception of a post here and there). It gave me the much deserved and needed rest so that I could spend quality time with my family.
In the next few weeks, my days will be filled with preparing my step-daughters for school, filling out the necessary paperwork, and attending doctor’s appointments. Among my new busy life as “Mom,” I have discovered that school is a great blessing in 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 to help with any English assignments that passes 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 step-daughter, 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 their own blogs. 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 give it a try. She was all too eager to be the first child in our household to share with the world on what she had to say.
We sat down and figured out what type of blog she wanted, what name for the blog she wanted to use, and what the categories would be. She decided to write about animals and the things that she would be learning as she studies to be a Vet Tech. Then, we decided on the photography.
That was the easy part!
We had 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 very first article.
About Me was the simplest article she could write, and it fueled her passion to write more articles. She now sits with her books and researches each animal that she wants to write about. 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. She could not settle down on a particular theme, and 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 had to discuss 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 prior to 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 if they were to experience a submissions process with a real-life editor.
- They are not allowed to use real names when they are writing about other people unless they get a 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 may be able to monitor for inappropriate comments.
- And, most of all… 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 is too eager to post her article that she skips 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 that they like is what 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 her wings and write on her 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.
To visit the blogs mentioned in this article, click on the links below: