Saturday, August 22, 2009

Leaping Over Did-I's

I managed to submit two stories to two publishers this week.

Submitting articles is difficult. As I'm sealing the envelope the "Did-I's" whisper in my ear*: Did I write the cover letter right...was it too [insert word here: silly, stupid, dull, wordy, short]? Did I correct all grammatical errors in the manuscript and in the cover letter? Did I send it to the exact right editor at the exact right publishing house at the exact right time? Did I take enough time to research publishers? Did I [insert lots more questions here]?

I sometimes have to leap over the Did-I's so I'll actually submit manuscripts. Not that I want to slop through the process but I could be writing and revising forever without making efforts towards actually submitting. I've heard it said this way: The paralysis of analysis, meaning we analyze something so much, we don't DO anything. We freeze up. So this week, I unfroze and leaped. Which is kind of funny because I had printed out the manuscripts last week but kept them on my desk, paralyzed by the Did-I's and Should-I's (Should-I's go along with the Did-I's: Should I send it to this one or that one? Should I be funny but professional in my cover letter? Should I have my writer's group critique it one more time?) Well, at least I did leap even if it was a week later.

*Did-I's are similar to Shel Silverstein's "The What-ifs" - both can be a real nuisance.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kids Who Try

It is so nice to work with kids who try.

I finished teaching a four-day class on July 30th. There were only 7 kids in the group. One would think that would be easy. There was ONE kid in there who made the whole class a drain on my energy. I try to work with kids who aren't "getting it" or who seem to be holding back. If they seem to have a bad attitude, I first assume that it may stem from being fearful or uncomfortable with what we're doing, so I try to help.
I want to help them be successful. But if a bad attitude continues with no effort on the child's part, I can't help--no effort on my part will make a difference, not until the child tries.

Monday, I started teaching another group of kids for the four-day run. What a delight! They all TRY. There is one student who is rather shy but she still tries. It may be beyond her comfort zone but she still tries. Sometimes the activity is difficult for her but she still tries. Another student in there is older than the rest. The class for her age got canceled so she opted to go with the younger kids. She still tries. Sometimes she likes to cop an attitude but when I have her get up and moving she still tries. And because they all try, they're actually doing well in the class and we're having fun.

I would rather have kids who try than kids who have the ability but don't put out any effort.

My husband teaches Spanish at a community college. His students are older but they're like my little guys--some try and some just don't. Hm. I wonder which ones are pleasant to be around.