Monthly Archives: January 2014

encouragement

Teaching is difficult. The hours are long and often thankless, and the payoffs are not always noticeable.

But I am proud to say that, as of today, I’ve finished my first full semester as an official full-time teacher AND received the following e-mail today from one of my students:

“On behalf of the students, I would like to thank you for the great semester. I had a lot of fun and surprisingly learned a lot, (regardless of my slacking towards the end). When I announced my classes on Facebook in the beginning of the year, a lot of people claimed I was lucky to have you as a teacher —  and you didn’t disappoint. You lived up to my expectations and your reputation by teaching us a lot about relationships, decision making, and life skills.

A teacher who genuinely cares about her students is rare to come across, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to attend your class.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the year, and once again, thank you!

Sincerely,

[student’s name]

ps I enjoy your corny jokes.”

How great is that???

I’m going to start a bad-day folder. Every time I get a thank you note or something similar, I’ll put it in the folder and save it close by. Then when I have a horrid teaching day and feel like a failure, I’ll have tangible evidence that I’ve done good work and can do it again. That should buoy my spirits in a much-needed way.

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to-do list: follow agents on Twitter

No, seriously. If you’re an aspiring writer and you haven’t done this yet, put it on your to-do list for this week!

Twitter is the one social media outlet that seems to make people afraid. An older friend recently asked on Facebook, “who has tips to help me use Twitter?” and the majority of responses were “don’t bother.” Well… their loss. I answered honestly and will expound on that here, since it was unappreciated by the fogies over there.

Twitter is an important tool for publicity, learning about others, laughing, connecting with people, and staying up-to-date on news. Looking at the endless newsfeed can be overwhelming, though. It’s easy to make “lists” to keep it manageable–for example, I have three that I most regularly check. One for “friends” (people I actually know), one for “interesting” (people I don’t know but enjoy reading their feed, including a few authors and actors), and one for “agents.”

The amount of literary agents who utilize Twitter was surprising, but I’m glad they’re on it. They often update where they are with their queries, so if you’ve submitted to someone who uses silence as his or her rejection letter, you can figure out if they’ve reached yours yet or not. It also gives you as an author the sense of an agent’s personality to see if you could even work well together in the future at all. Is submitting to them worth it? I want to keep my opinions kind of vague here, but suffice it to say that there was one agent who seemed, judging from the query requirements, list of authors worked with, and overall success of the agency, to be a great choice. However, said agent is so rude and snarky on Twitter (not like the hilarious kind of rude and snarky, as Ginger Clark can sometimes be) that I actually would not want anything to do with them in a working relationship. Too stressful.

I might not have learned that until it was too late, if that happened to be someone I submitted to and was accepted by… and then felt trapped with.

Why not use such a valuable tool?

Get on Twitter! Follow those agents!

Here are some of the good ones off the top of my head… with links!

* the afore-mentioned Ginger Clark

* Amy Boggs

* Laura Bradford

* Suzie Townsend

* Jennifer Laughran [She could so easily be my friend in real-life. I connect to almost everything she tweets and retweets. It makes me feel stalker-ish to like someone I have never met nor talked to, but I can’t help it! She’s awesome!]

* Molly Ker Hawn

Most of them work in YA or Fantasy in some way, which is why I was interested in them. Obviously there is a whole world of agents out there for whichever field you are hoping to submit to for publishing dreams. Many of them now link their Twitter accounts directly through their Query Tracker profiles, so it’s easy to narrow down who you want to follow.

Happy tweeting!

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