Monday, November 25, 2013

Boston, Baby!

Jen & Diana meet the editors of Stenhouse!
Photo courtesy of
Hey NCTE Boston -- thanks for a great three days of learning and connecting, and for giving me and my #1 writing partner an excuse to hole up in a hotel room and write a chapter together.  Chapter 11 on "Becoming a Connected Educator" has its roots in Boston (and the cross-country flights that got us there), and speaks to the power of the links we create within our networks.  And what a network NCTE has been!  Jen and I met at a conference in Orlando in 2010, presented together in 2012, and are now co-signing the same contract for a book that started in conversations at NCTE in 2012.  Now there's the power of network.  It seems only fitting that we met our awesome editor, Holly, and got to attend the Stenhouse Authors Reception at NCTE 2013.  Feels very "full circle."  So, it's official.  We are signed and under contract.  I'm feeling very fortunate that they chose to take a leap of faith with us, and I know that my teaching, and how I'm thinking about teaching, will grow tremendously because of this process.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Our Proposal Got Accepted!

I'm so beyond excited.  Here's a little snippet of the email I received, called "Cause for Celebration" earlier today in the middle of a hectic day of teaching:

Hi Diana and Jen,
We will indeed have much to celebrate when we meet in Boston on Nov. 21. The editorial team just approved your proposal, and everyone is very excited about bringing you and your book on board!

I knew the editors were meeting today, but WOW, I didn't expect to hear back so soon, and with such great news!! Of course, I immediately called Jen, and we had a little jumping-up-and-down-screaming moment 500 miles apart.  This feels good.  I can't wait to get down to the hard work of writing the book, and sharing our experiences with all of our colleagues out there who are just moving to teaching with 1:1.  We have another chapter to polish up before we meet up in Boston for NCTE, so I'd better get back to it...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Book Proposal Sent

Book Proposal: Power Up
I hit the send button several dozen times a day, but this one was different. This was an email to an editor at an educational publisher. Now the fate of our book is in his hands.

It was actually ready to go yesterday, but Diana thought it was bad luck to send it on the 13th, even though it was a Tuesday. I humored her and we waited, but hitting send still feels like one of those tiny moments that can have huge consequences.

We sent an outline, several sample chapters, our cover letter, our CV's, lists of similar (but not identical) publications and a link to The Horizon Report. All of it was meticulously read and reviewed by both of us and several friends

We really like this publisher and we hope they like our book, but I know there are others who will want it if we get rejected this first time. So, we will keep writing while we wait for an answer. We know this is a book teachers need and we have to be sure they get it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Where Do We Even Start?

Jen and I decided to move forward with writing a couple of sample chapters to send in with our outline for a formal book proposal.  We want to send in the first chapter and a typical "middle chapter."  So, we're each sitting down to draft one, then we'll swap, add, and edit.  Even a mere six thousand words into the project, I've already learned so much.  

I've learned that I write better in the morning.  I write better on the couch in my office than at my desk.  I have to have a mug of tea -- and there's a whole ritual to that.  I think I do all these weird little obsessive things just to get myself psyched up to sit down for about four hours straight and write.  I have to talk out loud when I write, and I almost always gesture with my hands.  I want the book to feel like we're having a conversation. So I have a conversation with an imaginary colleague while writing.  

I have also learned that Google Drive is a godsend.  Jen and I have organized the entire book in a shared folder, with a subfolder for chapters, research, saved chats, and vignettes that we want to use but we're not sure where.  I have now completed a draft of Chapter 5 on extending audience.  My favorite part about Google Drive so far is that Jen and I have these exhaustive side conversations debating everything from word choice to pedagogy.  I'm being stretched as a teacher, and am loving every second of it.  We have had three Google Hangouts so far this week to check in on the writing process. The video chat feature is particularly awesome since we live in different parts of California.  Although, I think Jen's youngest son is more enamored with the Google Effects in the hangout video than I am.  Whenever he pops in to say hi, I click to put on the pirate hat and patch (are you proud, Dave Burgess?).   Anyway, who said writing couldn't be fun and collaborative?