i must be crazy, or just shoot me now! bring on the november challenges… :-)

Friday, November 1:  I’ve decided I need to make a change in my life.  I MUST get out of teaching ESL and find something else.  If I continue on one more day without the prospect of following my dreams, then I will very likely go off the deep end.   Thus I’ve decided to push myself this month by taking steps toward professional and personal fulfillment.

Beginning last Monday, October 28, I started taking a 5-week online Travel Writing course through the Australian Writers’ Center.  This wouldn’t be any big deal if the course didn’t happen to coincide with the last 6 weeks of my semester.  It’s ridiculous how many hours I work at a job I hate, and for which I get paid so little.  As every minute of my “free time” is already filled with planning my classes, marking papers, and keeping up with administrative stuff, carving out time for this course will be difficult and will probably make my life very stressful.

I must thank Carol of The Eternal Traveller for recommending this course to me.  So far, in just one week, I’ve learned a lot.  And it actually gives me an excuse to NOT bring work home with me.  As of today, I’m going to start putting my teaching job on the sidelines.  I don’t care because I don’t get paid enough to care.  My priority as of today is me, and my career and my personal goals.

As if adding this additional commitment for the month of November isn’t enough, I’ve also taken on the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge for the month of November.  The challenge is to write 50,000 words of a novel in one month.   I can’t exactly write 50,000 new words because of my teaching schedule, but I can EDIT the last 21 chapters of my novel (probably about 50,000 words).

My novel of 480 pages has been sitting on my computer for 10 years.  My New Year’s resolution this year was to revise my novel and get it out to publishers by the end of this year (or self-publish it).  I managed to revise 28 chapters out of 50 before I left Oman, but since I returned home, I haven’t had time, or I haven’t made time, to look at it at all.  That is, until tonight, the first day of November, and the first day of the NaNoWriMo challenge.  This evening I revised Chapter 29, titled “Pulled Betwixt and Between,” for a total of 1,914 words.  The challenge involves writing 1,667 words a day in November, and though these are not new words in my novel, revision of this chapter puts me 1,914 words closer to finishing it.  This is my challenge. I must finish my novel this month!

I want to have a clean slate by the end of the year, so I can focus on starting a new book and trying to write travel articles.

Just call me crazy… OR just shoot me now.  Bring on November!

To check out these two challenges, see:

National Novel Writing Month
Australian Writers’ Centre

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37 thoughts on “i must be crazy, or just shoot me now! bring on the november challenges… :-)

  1. congrats on making that decision to finish your novel!! go, go, go!!! funny thing about following one’s dreams….I made a decision a month or so ago to look for a different job. and while it’s not exactly following my dreams, the job I have is not where I want to be for the next 6 plus years until we can move to Spain. I think there’s a better spot out there for me so…..I’ve had a lot of interest and some interesting things happen. a ver lo que pasa! it scares me to make another job change but I kinda sorta feel the same way: Bring. It. On!!! I’m here rooting for you too 😉 You can do it!! and I’m very impressed that you’ve written a novel. WOW!!!

      1. ah….I’m a numbers gal who probably should have been a Spanish teacher 😉 Or otherwise known as Sr. Financial Analyst. Good for you. I can’t wait to see your book!!

      2. I used to be a credit analyst at SunTrust Bank in Richmond, but that was so many years ago, I’d probably have to start at the bottom all over again. I really don’t know what I’m going to do. 🙂

    1. Marianne, I need to start taking real steps toward my dream of writing: novels, travel essays, personal essays, and photography, coupled with travel. I don’t know how it’s going to pan out, but it’s time for me to start taking solid steps. I learned a lot already in the first week of the travel writing course, about finding potential markets and analyzing them for the types of articles they publish. The focus is on writing for the market, rather than writing and then trying to sell to the market. You might already know all of this, but for me it’s all new. 🙂

      1. Thanks so much, Marianne. I would think you would know all of what they’re teaching, or at least most of it. If not, you would learn something useful, I think. I like the approach and think it makes a lot of sense. I hope I can make a go of it; if not, at least it will be fun learning. 🙂

      2. funny, I have similar dreams. well except for the novel-writing 😉 I’ve always had an interest in writing and so that’s why I started my blog which fulfills part of the dream. For me, the rest will happen both on the way to retirement and after I retire. My issue is that I’m the major bread winner in my house and I’ve gotten to the point in my, er, career (have never been a career gal!!) that I cannot afford to try and be a teacher or write for a living. So, I commend you for being able to actually follow your dreams now!! I also peeked into that website for writing courses and I’ve bookmarked it for now. it looks interesting indeed!!

      3. Well, Toby, I’m trying to follow my dreams as far as writing, but I’m not really able to give up a paying job to do it; I still must find something else to support myself; I just want something that I can leave behind when I walk out the door. As it is, teaching eats up all my “free” time, such that I really don’t have any free time! In Oman, I had a much less demanding schedule and never took work home; here, I get paid about half as much and ALWAYS take work home. Thus that limits my creative pursuits! I have to get out of this job; at this point I don’t care what I take as long as I can leave it behind every day. 🙂

  2. I’m doing the exact same thing. Spent yesterday finding the HARD COPY of a 2006 novel (teen) I wrote and Monday I start too. I’m on a photography course this weekend :).

    Good luck!

    1. Good for you, mrs. carmichael! I can’t wait to hear about the photography course. I think I need to find a similar course here in Virginia. And great that you’re working to revise your novel. Go for it! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Jo. Well, I haven’t updated anyone about my challenges, because I hardly have time. Anyway, I HAVE to keep up with the travel writing course, because we have deadlines, so that’s a good thing. It’s much more time-consuming than I thought it would be, but it’s an excellent course.

      As far as the novel, well, that’s a little more challenging, because I have no time. It seems each of my chapters past 30 is about 11-14 pages, and I had hoped to get them all down to 7 pages, so it takes a lot more time. I’ve only made it to chapter 36 out of 50. At least I’ve done 8 chapters since I started the challenge. But I don’t think I will finish by November 30, as I hoped. 🙂

      1. I am impressed you are taking the course Cathy! I cannot see myself doing that anymore. Looking forward to reading words to accompany your brilliant photos!

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