Saturday, August 30, 2014

On writing, and a re-introduction to the blogosphere

I’ve had several journeys with blogging. My first attempt was a blog devoted to politics, and I’m still surprised at the number of views the blog received and the number of real friends I made (and lost) due to those discussions. While I’m still politically active and always open to a good face to face discussion, I deleted the political blogs. I was tired of fighting, tired of ignorance. There are only so many bigoted people in the world that I can deal with at one time. So I focused my energy on my other life passions.

And I do have several. Teaching is #1. I’ve been a teacher for 14 years now, 10 of those at the high school level where I taught all sorts of English classes, from American literature to creative writing and everything you can imagine in between. Now I teach communication classes at the college level, an intro to comm class, public speaking, intercultural communication, comm theory, and more. It’s fantastic.

My #2 passion is tied between fitness and martial arts. I started training in the martial arts over 20 years ago, and I’ve created and taught a variety of programs. I currently host a karate club at the college where I teach. Fitness to me is like breathing—I have to have it every day. After taking dozens of classes and doing home DVD programs, I became certified in a few programs and teach 4-5 group fitness classes each week. Those are also fantastic.

It’s not fair to say my #3 passion is writing. I can’t give it a number. You see, I enjoy reflecting and writing on my passions, so writing is like the skin that holds all those passions together. Without my ability to write, I’m not sure those passions would fully exist. So let’s just say that writing is also a huge passion.

This summer, I finished writing a novel and am in the process of sending out queries and looking for an agent. I’ve written a lot before: other novels, short stories, poems, news articles, theses, and more. I’ve published many articles in magazines (and got paid for it, yeah!), but I’ve never tried to publish fiction. Even though I’ve completed works of fiction before, I never thought they were good enough for mass publication.

Until now.

 I’m fired up, and since finishing a book this summer, actually letting friends read it, and revising, revising, revising, I’m ready to add “author” to my resume. I’ve outlined 3 more books, and hope to write a couple a year. I’m an optimistic person, a go-getter, no doubt. I don’t mean to be arrogant, but I’ve always believed passion and persistence pay off. Of course, one needs patience too. The longer I wait to hear back from my queries (and I’ve only sent a few so far, and only just last week), the more I think about the kind of author I want to be. I’ll keep re-reading and revising my current book as long as I need to do so, and I’ll keep writing other stories until I find an audience.

So that’s why I’m returning to the blogosphere. I’m going to share my writing journey and hope to connect with others who have similar goals and experiences. I’m going to share some writing, much of it old and terrible (can’t share the new stuff yet!). I don’t want to self-publish. Call me greedy, but I want to see that printed book with my name on the side at my local bookstore. That’d be cool!

If you browse through older posts, you’ll likely see a lot about fitness and some about teaching. Hey, like I said, those are my big passions and I have to write about them, even if most of what I have written is personal and has not been shared yet.

I’m going to try and share a lot more. I’m going to try and read a lot more too. So blogosphere—who’s writing and trying to publish? And how’s that going?

Since this is a blog of re-introduction, I’d like to include a little informal bio below. Check it out if you’re curious about my background. Ignore if not, and that’s ok—I’d still like to hear about your writing journey.

-          I graduated from Illinois Central College in 1999 with an Associates of Arts & Sciences (this is where I now teach!). From ICC, I transferred to Eureka College and graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor’s degree in English and a secondary education certification (summa cum laude).

-          I started my teaching career at Metamora High School where I taught high school students for ten years, from 2001-2010.

 -        While at the high school, I pursued more education and graduated from Bradley University in 2008 with a Master’s degree in Liberal Studies, a very cool program that combined science, psychology, literature, law, communication, and religion—it was like an advanced gen ed program but you had to connect all of the subjects.

-          After that (something was wrong with me, I know), I went for a second master’s degree. In May 2011, I earned a another Master’s degree specifically in Speech Communication from North Dakota State University

-          I have studied abroad in Tokyo, Japan at Sophia University, and I STRONGLY believe no college education is complete without a study abroad experience.

-          I’m now beginning my 14th year as a full-time educator. I’ve taught dozens of subjects including English, American literature, journalism, creative writing, and so much more! This is my 4th year as a full-time professor at ICC.

-          You can’t teach public speaking and not do it, right? I love inspirational events, and I have been hired as a motivational speaker, performing at all-school assemblies and special events for multiple central Illinois schools and organizations.

-          I’ve won a few awards for teaching, which of course is cool but I have a lot more I want to accomplish. My first award was the Golden Apple Award in 2001 for the best student-teacher from my college; thirteen years later, I won Advisor of the Year for 2013-14 for my work with student organizations at my college.  

-          I also love fitness! I am a certified Turbo Kick instructor and P90X Instructor, and I teach about 4-5 fitness classes a week just for fun at our very own ICC CougarPlex.

-          I started the Cougar Karate Club last year on campus, a free martial arts club our students. I’m also a martial artist. I’ve earned a 4th degree black belt in karate, and I enjoy sharing that passion too.

-          I run a college food pantry and am always shocked at the number of people who need help. It’s a great joy to provide that help.

-          This last May, I completed the Master of Online Teaching program and am now an official Master Online Teacher. I prefer face to face classes, but I also take pride in improving the online environment. Teaching and learning online is inevitable in today’s world, so I’ve tried to learn more and make it better!

-          And like most of you I’m sure, I cherish my family and friends (and I’d include pets in that statement too—2 dogs and 3 cats make my small home a big zoo some days!) above pretty much anything else.

-          And of course my next big goal is to be a published and successful fiction writer! (And maybe some more non-fiction and memoir too!)

If you’ve read this far, you must be a good friend. Or my grandmother. Or just a really cool dude. Thanks.

 If you like what you're reading, please consider following. Just enter your e-mail on the right column to subscribe!

No comments:

Post a Comment