Skip to main content

Following the Plan & A Schedule

Finally, I have entered the final phase. Notice how I'm smiling in my test headshots.

But before I look to close this chapter of my life and move forward, I have to go back to where I started to appreciate the road that lies ahead...


When I first started grad school I was so nervous.  I had no idea what an MA in Writing Studies would mean. What was I going to be able to do with this degree? Worst case scenario, I'd be able to teach college courses. Best case scenario, I'd be able to write my book. Which honestly, was the secret reason I wanted to go to graduate school but I knew that my family probably wouldn't think that was a good enough reason to put myself in thousands of dollars of debt. But I was determined, even without the possibility of getting a MFA in writing I would complete a book.

Step One, I registered for a Writing Children & Young Adult literature class. I loved that class. And in that class, I knew I wanted to write my book and it would get done. I had a great idea about a super smart girl from Newark that creates a time machine. Think modern day Quantum Leap.

In that class I wrote.  It was hot garbage. I'm sure of it and Dr. Inskeep was way too kind in her comments and feedback. Needless to say, I wrote about 50 pages of words and I haven't looked at it again since the end of that semester.

After a full year into my graduate program, I was learning so much about writing in digital spaces and different theories of writing and writing practice. All super important and really academic stuff. I absolutely felt more intelligent but by this point, my creative juices had come to a halt. And then, Dr. Zamora offered a writing boot camp class during the summer. I jumped at the opportunity and in this class, I found my inspiration and conceived my master plan.

In the summer of 2017, I wrote a book. I wrote the first draft of my book titled, Misunderstood from start to finish. But that was just the beginning. I didn't want to stop there, I wanted to get my book published so I started researching and scouring Twitter to find out how to take my manuscript and turn it into a book. After I gathered enough info, I did what all teachers do, I made myself a visual reminder in the way of over-sized post list, known in the teacher world as an anchor chart.

Step One: Get an Agent

With the amount of student debt, I'll have when I'm done with grad school there was no way I was going to self-publish.

After almost a year-long process and about forty rejection letters from agents, which in all honesty is not a long time or a lot of rejections I started to see the forest through the trees.

I got an email from an agent named John Cusick who I'd met at a conference. He told me while he loved so much about my book and he thought I was a great (he might've said good, but revision is history) writer he couldn't extend me an offer of representation at that time. I was crushed, ready to quit my dream of writing and scratch my manuscript altogether when I re-read the last line of John's email. He alluded to the fact that if I worked on the manuscript some more and fixed some things, he'd be willing to take another look. Well, that was just the slither of hope I needed. I jumped up from my laptop and created my next anchor chart.

I was on my way. I spent the entire month revising and tweaking the manuscript pouring over it with what I hoped was a new perspective. I worked a summer job which allowed me the time to work on my revisions. I'm so grateful for that time. Then on August 8th, I resubmitted my manuscript to John Cusick. Eight days later he replied and said he wanted to speak with me. I'd made it to the next step. I was about to get "the call." In the publishing world, "the call" from an agent means they are interested in your work. And it could essentially go two ways. The agent could extend you an offer of representation or they could say I love this are you willing to make a few more revisions. Either way, it is a big deal. And as a writer, this tells you that you're onto something. In my case, my call ended with an offer. And on September Slowly but surely things are getting checked off of my list. On September 4th this was shared with the world:


And now my list looks like this...

That was until I got an email from my agent which contained my editorial notes. I'm not done yet, I've got work to do. I have to keep in mind that my true end goal is getting published. I want a book in hand. And in order to get there, I have to keep a tight schedule. So far, this is what I came up with:

So far, I haven't been able to write at my alloted times. And even though I had a laundry list of things to do after I left class last week, I was only able to do one of them which was to go through John's track changes in my documents and then I will change that. 

I know this has been a super long post but I felt that I needed to get some things out. And this process of writing this blog has actually helped me think about and remember why I'm doing this work in the first place. Which is one of the questions I was supposed to explore but I am too busy tyring to stick to my plan which as of right now, is kicking my butt. I said all of this to say, I did not finish this week's homework. 


Popular posts from this blog

It All Started With a Book

The Road to Misunderstood

Last year in one of Dr. Zamora's class fellow grad student Richonda told me about a book called The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and it changed my life. Now, I've always been an avid reader. And since I've become a middle school teacher I've become addicted to YA (young adult)  novels. They are my new favorite obsession.

Every single time I get my hands on my a book that I know will make my students want to read I cannot wait to get it into the hands of students. The Hate U Give aka THUG is that book.

Since I have found books like Dear Martin, The Miseducation of Margot Sanchez and I'm Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter -- each of these titles I have purchased and given to my students. The largest purchase came from Donors Choose. And I am telling you. I cannot keep these books in my library longer than a day.

After I finished reading this book I wanted more. I wanted to read more like it. In my quest I realized that I wanted to write one li…

Revise, Read & Then Revise Again!

It has been hard for me to sit down and track my writing progress. I think this is because I've hit a wall. My novel, this thesis means more to me than just a grade and/ or a graduate degree. I want writing to become my life. I always have. I started this journey in my early twenties. But I quit after my very first no. Instead of buckling down and honing my craft, actually becoming better. I stopped and went in he other direction. And now I am back. In graduate school with my eyes fixed my childhood, goal/ dream. The writing of my novel part is causing me frustration mainly because I haven't been able to find the time to revise my manuscript. I'm getting it done because I am literally hustling the time. I done through and revised my novel for a second time. And now, I'm stuck.

I couldn't put my finger on why, until now. I think it was because I was in the trenches. I was swamped with my creative ideas and the research that supports the notion that there is a place…

God Is In the Details...

This week's thesis journey was straight research. 
Alan's comment on last week's blog got me to thinking. 

Alan's mention of Kurt Vonnegut reminded me of this book that I've had sitting on my shelf for the longest. Now, I never actually read it. It was recommended by Dr. Mary Ann Riley at a professional development workshop. (I love her by the way. Any PD she's teaching I want to be there front and center!) At this workshop she was teaching teachers how to teach students to be better readers and writers and at some point she mentioned this book. And I immediately went on Amazon and ordered it.  
Anyway, I cracked open this book, started flipping around until I found a section that I felt was a great starting point for the things I needed to focus on in my writing. I landed on Chapter Eight titled Details. During our Google Hangout chat with Barbara, we talked about writing techniques and tips. In order to be a good writer, one who has honed and perfected their cra…