Saturday, August 28, 2010

Talking About Myself

There are some of you who know me from real life, some of you who know me from Twitter, some of you who know me from blogging, and some of you who don't know me at all. So I thought I would do a little Hello, Nice To Meet You post.

My name is Jessica Love. This is a fancy picture of me:

This is a less fancy picture of me:

I live in Orange County, CA, and I love it here. I was born and raised in Southern California, and I don't intend to ever leave. I'm spoiled by the weather and all of the fun things to do here, and the traffic and high cost of living are just totally normal.

I teach high school English, and I love my job. I'm starting my fifth year in the classroom with freshmen and sophomores, and I love having a job where I laugh and get to talk about books every day.

Here's a picture of me in my classroom, obviously working very hard:

I'm currently working on my first novel, a contemporary YA. I'm gradually discovering that writing a novel is hard. I know there are thousands of people who could have told me that, but really it's all about figuring these things out on your own, right? I'm involved in a really awesome online writing group with cool people like Heather Trese, Shana Silver, Ally Greeson, Anna Parker Brittain, Melissa Remshard, Becca, Crystal, Tameka, and some other awesome ladies. They do a great job of keeping me motivated and sane, and talking me off a ledge when I am convinced that my story has no plot. (This happens at least once a week.)

Right now I'm in the middle of revisions, and I'm hoping to be done and ready to query by the end of January. Wish me luck. I'll need it.

I've been married for five years. I don't have any kids. I get strange looks from people when I tell them I've been married for five years and don't have any kids. I tell those people to STFU. I don't really like to put pictures of Husband out there on the internet. (I used to do that on my old blog, and he started to get recognized by random weirdos who would go up to him at Claim Jumper during happy hour when I wasn't even there and say Hello. Husband didn't really like that much. I don't blame him.)

In lieu of a picture of me and Husband, here is a picture of me with a happy llama:

For fun, I obviously like to read and write. I am in love with YA lit, and it's gotten to the point where that is pretty much all I read. I could say it's because that's what I'm writing, or because I want to know what my students are reading, and sometimes I do say that. The truth is, though, I just like it.

I had a horribly dorky adolescence. I was 6 feet tall and wore Eeyore shirts from the Disney store all through high school. I had a great time, but I feel like there were a lot of things I missed out on, and I think that's why I'm so drawn to everything YA.

Here's a picture of me from 8th grade:
(Ooops, I have outed my natural hair color.)

I am also in love with music. I listen to what some people call "singer/songwriters" and also what people call "indie rock." I'm rarely without my iPod, and I love going to see my favorite singers and bands live. I'm all about the repeat button, and I've been known to listen to my very favorites dozens of times in a row. I guess that's the teenager in me...obsessing over music.

I'm not a very musical person, but I love karaoke. I have a pretty terrible voice, but I love being on stage and singing, so I make everyone deal with it. My signature song is "Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson.

Here is a picture of me singing karaoke:

Other things I love: the internet, sleeping, the beach, new clothes, taking pictures of myself

Things I'm not really into that normal people like: TV, movies, football, driving, working out (it seems like other people like to do this)

I think that's all of the basic stuff you need to know about me. Any other questions? Leave them in the comments.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

No Time! There's Never Any Time!

How do you all do it? How do you find time to write?

I know we have to make time for the things that are important to us, but now that school is starting back up and I'm getting back into a work routine, I'm feeling oh-so-overwhelmed. (And so excited. And so scared.)
I have two jobs, both of which leave me feeling drained at the end of the day. When I'm done teaching I feel emotionally and mentally drained, and when I'm done working at the restaurant, where I am now down to three shifts a week, I feel physically drained.
Then of course, there is my life. I have a husband and friends and family that I like to see and hang out with. I've always been very social, and even though I find myself staying home more than I used to, it's still in my nature to want to go out, have fun, and be in the middle of things. 
I haven't been to the gym in months because I can't figure out how to fit it in, both time-wise and energy-wise. And I was just off work for two months and felt too stretched thin to find time to work out. Now that I'm working full time again? Ugh. Where will it go?
And the reading, of course. I don't just read because I like it, I read to stay up on YA trends and see what is out there. So part of it (okay, most of it) is leisure and part of it is research.
Oh, and two blogs. Man, I love blogging, I always have, but it sure does take a lot of time. Oh and the Twitter and the facebook and the e-mail and the whatever else because so many of my friends live online like I do. (The comic today on InkyGirl pretty much sums this up for most writers, I think.)

(And, seriously...those of you with kids? I can't even FATHOM how you fit it all in.)
So in there somewhere I have to find time to write. It's so important for me to write...obviously I do it because I love it. But when I come home from a long, exhausting day at work and I look at my open Word doc and then I look at the book on my table or my Twitter feed, well, the book and the Twitter just take so much less energy, you know?
Time management has never been a skill of mine. Neither has multi-tasking. Neither has concentrating, really.

I'm thinking about making a daily schedule for myself. Does anyone else do this? Does it work? I feel a little silly allocating all of my free hours (5:00-5:15 - Twitter, 5:15-5:30 - Facebook, 5:30-6:30 - Read), but I'm not sure how else I can make sure everything gets done. (Aside from finding myself a Time Turner...anyone have an extra one lying around? Hermione? Bueller?)

I'm thinking about all of this because I have set a goal for myself. I want to be ready to query at the end of January. So that leaves me about 5-ish months to revise, revise, revise the heck out of my WIP and get it ready to go.
I'm on Major Revision - Round 1 right now.
So I think I'm going to make myself a schedule and see if it works. And if you guys have any good time management tricks, please let me know. Clearly I'm going to need all the help I can get.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Outed Myself

Today was the first day of school. I was doing my usual first day song and dance, telling my students all of the rules, letting them know what I expected of them this year, blah blah blah.

Then came the part of the class when I told them about myself. Who I am, where I went to school, what I do for fun.

"I like to read," I told them. "I read a lot." I showed them what I was reading (Mockingjay), I told them how many books I'd read so far this year (71...this was 72).

And then, I said it.

"I'm also a writer."

Blank stares.

"I'm writing a novel."

More blank stares.

I didn't really know what they were thinking, so I did what I always do when I'm unsure of how people are reacting to the words that are coming out of my mouth.

I kept talking.

I told them how long it was, and how long it took me to write it, and my time frame for getting it ready to query.

Then a hand popped up. And another one. They had questions!

"How many pages is it?"
"How long did it take you?"
and, of course
"What's it about?"

(The answer to that last one proved I really need to work on my verbal pitch...I did NOT grab their attention in one sentence...but for some reason I wasn't really expecting that question.)

Oh, and then the best one
"Would it be possible for us to read it when you're done?"

It was scary to tell 120 people today that I was a writer. To make it that real.
But I got it OUT THERE. On the first day of school, these kids know that their English teacher is...
pretty sarcastic
a writer
(way cooler than being the golf coach, right?)

And it seems like I'll have their support, which is cool.
(When they were walking out the door, I heard one girl say to her friend, "I'm going to love this class.")

Now I know they will be asking, "How is your book going?" "Are you done yet?" "When are you getting published?" And I'll have to answer to them. The thing I love about my students...they keep me honest and they keep me motivated. This is why I decided to tell them. I can't let them down. I have to make it REAL.

Monday, August 23, 2010

OHAI New Blog

I decided to start a writing blog.


Would you believe me if I told you I was bored and needed something to fill all this free time?

Yeah, I can hardly type that without laughing. Working two jobs, writing, reading, having a life, and maintaining two blogs doesn't really leave a lot of free time. But I did want a more personal blog...a place to share my writing journey, my teacher stories, my love of music, and my zany antics. Believe me, there are always zany antics.

I actually have a few ideas for this blog already. For example, I started blogging back in 2003 over on xanga, and I had a pretty popular blog back then. I have that blog hidden now, but I thought it would be pretty hilarious to share some old posts with you guys.

I also have some ideas for some music-related posts, because the only think I love more than music is sharing it with other people.

So, here we are. New blog. With more about me. Wheee!