Sodaro's Stories

May 8, 2017

More…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 3:16 pm
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So, as I am adjusting to the teacher-free life, I am realizing there are things I want to do and have more of…

** Writing (obviously, as this what was the driving force behind this career change). It will be amazing to have actual scheduled chunks of time to write every day rather than stolen moments between grading and meetings.

**Reading — there is so much I want to read and haven’t had time to. Suggestions are always welcome.

**Publishing, promoting, and all the other parts of the business side of authoring. These have all been woefully neglected.

**Relaxing — I have heard of this an am excited to check this out.

**Netflix…though as not to take away from writing or reading, but again, suggestions are always welcome. I have finally seen How I met your Mother from start to finish (and it made a lot more sense than the random episode I would catch here and there) and am in the middle of season 3 of Blue Bloods.

**Dating — It’s probably time. It will help, I think, when I am not getting lied to on a regular basis as to why work was not done. Just tell me you didn’t have time. I was always good with that. But it has affected how I see people when every day there was a different excuse, a bunch of which were not true.

**Exercising — it’s way past time. Time to stop hiding from the world.

**Smiling and laughing — though I have to admit, I did a lot of this as a teacher as well, as it is just a part of my personality.

I am sure this list will grow…but this is a mighty fine start.

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May 5, 2017

Career — Author

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 3:14 pm
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Wow…okay…this is getting real. The first items on my to-do list this morning are to update my profession on Linked In, Facebook, and to revamp my resume. I need to put end dates on my teaching career (and I need to do this mentally as well as on my resume, as I keep thinking I have to be at school next week).  There are people who keep hoping it is just over for now, not forever…and I don’t know how to answer that. All I know is that right now I am considering it a permanent change.

I was a teacher.

I am an author.

I gave teaching 20 years of my life (not counting the schooling to get there).

I want to give my author career more than 20 years…I certainly have more than enough projects to accomplish that goal.

Hello New Career!

 

May 3, 2017

Brave

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 3:05 pm
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Walking away from teaching is very much like walking away from a 20-year marriage. I say that as someone who has not ever been married…but who has sacrificed and has been loyal and has devoted my whole life (at the cost of my writing and any kind of a personal life) to teaching.

A lot of people are telling me I am “so brave” to walk away from my full-time teaching career to more fully pursue my author career.

To me, it’s not about being brave, nor did it really require any kind of courage, per se. (Of course it is still very new and shiny, so maybe when it sinks in — you know, in a couple of weeks when I don’t get that teacher paycheck). I didn’t do it to be brave; it was just something I felt like I had to do.

I have lived very deliberately to not have any regrets and with the possible exception of some guys I have dated- I can honestly say I have no regrets.  (Let’s just call those fellas research, shall we?)

I have taught countless students (many of whom have become treasured friends). I have written curriculum and lesson plans to help challenge students and accomplish their goals. I have made friends at every school I have been at — friends I cannot imagine my life without knowing.

My life has been shaped (for better or worse) by every class, every student I have taught. And I have given my all to that profession. And now, I am giving my all to my writing, which has been on the back burner for far too long. So to me, it’s not about being brave at all. It’s about doing what I had to, to be true to who I am now. Something I think we should all do. What makes you feel alive? Do that. Pursue that.

May 2, 2017

No Guarantees

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 3:04 pm
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7 years ago there was a shiny game plan. It has taken me longer, having to do it “alone” instead of as it was originally planned…as part of an amazing duo. I put “alone” in quotes, because I am not now, nor have I ever truly been “alone” as I have an incomparable support system, both physically here or spiritually present. It has taken me longer, but I got there. I quit teaching and am working a job which allows for writing to be full time.

What I learned from losing Trav was there are no guarantees in life. We are, none of us, promised the chance to see tomorrow. Anyone who has lost a friend or loved one can attest to the fragility of life, plans or no plans, so you have to cherish every moment and memory you get with people.

What I also learned was that we have to live our lives the way that makes sense to us…not to other people…not societal expectations…just us. Because there are no guarantees that we will get another chance to make it right or different or better.

You have this moment — right now — and that’s as close as we get to a guarantee. Live your life. Follow your dreams. Accomplish your goals. Get it done.

April 28, 2017

Writer’s conference

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:28 pm
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Today starts my 2nd time attending Pikes Peak Writer’s conference (which is celebrating its 25th anniversary!!).

Last year I was so nervous before the conference started, not knowing what to expect or where to go or if I even belonged here. (I had self-published 4 books and still felt like I was playing at being an author…which was mostly due to how much time proportionately I spent writing, as compared to what I spent teaching).

Then I made myself leave my hotel room and go down among the other authors…and I found my people. The writers, the dreamers, the poets. I was among my people. *With the exception of sitting next to the guy I refer to as “butter boy” because he grabbed the butter pat from the dish with his hands…and spread it on the roll…ALSO with his hands*

This year I am about to self-publish my 7th novel. I have quit my teaching career to have the time to ardently pursue my author career. I have fully embraced the fact that I AM AN AUTHOR!!!!! *Those of you who hoped it was just a phase, sorry boutcha’*

I am going to have an amazing time. I am going to talk writing to other writers. I am going to soak in as much as I can. I am going to watch people…and I am going to be careful who I sit by at lunch 😀

April 16, 2017

At last…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 8:40 pm
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So Easter is hard for me…too many thoughts of my favorite Easter and breaking confetti-filled eggs over heads…and too many thoughts of what came next…so while all of my coworkers and friends discussed Easter plans and food and gatherings, I knew, the best way to celebrate was to finish my novel. Those were our plans, after all…and now they are all mine…and that thought used to terrify me, but right now, with the end of my teaching career a mere 10 days away, I find myself exhilarated to see happening, the plans you put into place.

“You have wanted to be a writer since I have known you, Mich. So do it. Be a writer.” And I did. And I am. And it all started with you. Wonderful, beautiful you. So, how I celebrated Easter was to get Stealing Second to my reader. To get me one step closer to the author life we planned.

I have been all over the place lately…tying up an amazing teaching career, making sure my students finish their course strong as I finish up my time as a teacher, as strong as I can. Getting things ready for my writer’s conference. Getting things ready for my new life. Getting myself ready to let go…I’m ready to let go of teaching…as hard as it is, it’s time to let go.

I can think of no better way to do that than to get my 7th novel ready to get published. The cover is done, saved and waiting at Bookbaby.com

The book is done…now safely in the hands of my reader…then it’s final read through and send.

Happy Easter, Babe…I hope there are plenty of confetti-filled eggs up there.

April 3, 2017

Plot Twist…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 3:11 pm
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So the game plan 7 years ago (wow…7 years…) was to quit teaching and work at a job where I could focus on my writing…the other part of the game plan was to get married and see if he could turn the “Maybe” of having kids, to a “yes” (if there was ever a man that could get me to a yes on having tiny humans, it was Trav). Then everything changed, and in one moment, the wind was knocked out of me, and I was alone with all of our plans…and no idea how to make those plans still happen…so I put them on the back burner for awhile and I found a new teaching job and just told myself “some day.”

I tried to do both, because I couldn’t figure out how to do the game plan of not teaching…not without him…what was the point…so I played at being an author, stealing bits of time between grading and meetings. My list of projects just kept getting longer, as did the  list of author things I was not getting done…website, networking, writer’s conferences, promoting, getting more than one project out a year, audio books, my nonfiction projects, my poetry, and the list goes on and on. All things I would get to “some day.”

23 days.

The end of my teaching career. Forever? Maybe…I know right now I need a clean break. No subbing, no adjunct teaching, no connection to education. That may change. The love of teaching is still there, but the teacher in me has been kicked so many times and my projects have just been patiently waiting. For some day.

23 days.

7 years ago we had a plan…but it wasn’t the right plan. There were people I had yet to meet…project ideas I had yet to meet as well…and I needed the various teaching jobs to get  to meet those people and those ideas. So the plans I had turned in to “some day” plans.

And now that “some day” is happening this month. THIS MONTH. And I know Trav is watching me and I know he is proud of me for making it happen.

March 7, 2017

Letting go…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:32 pm
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So…I may have one or two control issues (Okay, that “one or two” is a bit of an understatement…)

One thing that being an author has taught me, is to let go of some of my control issues…for example…what a project should look like in the end. There have been many things I have tried to force into what I wanted them to be…and it worked as well as the square peg, round hole conundrum.

Another thing I have learned is that projects will get finished when they are supposed to…this is a hard one for me because I have A SCHEDULE. I have a GAME PLAN. I want these ducks lined up at this time…and oh crap…where did all the ducks go.

So what happens when I try to force plot points or formats…or try to line the ducks up at a given time to get done by my self-imposed deadline…is NOTHING. Not like…haha, nothing happens and life continues as it should…I mean NOTHING happens. Like Nada. ZILCH. Zero things happening. Which then causes me stress as I stare at the calendar and maybe, if I just stare hard enough, I can go back a few weeks and not stress and then not be staring and fretting. (Side note, where did February go????)

I trust the process. I do. It has successfully brought me to finishing and publishing 6 novels and I am about to publish #7…the process works…but it works on its own time and in its own way…and me staring at the calendar…and swearing…and pleading with the process…and putting more and more pressure on things…yeah, that is not how the process works. Who could work under those conditions.

So I let go. I stopped swearing at my calendar. I stopped frowning at my to-do lists…and I just focused on other things…and then a duck showed up…and another and another…and now, my ducks are as much in a row as they ever are…and I will finish #7 and all will be right with the world once more

February 17, 2017

Lucky Charms Series

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:06 pm
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fd-paperbackSo First Down met it’s publication date of 2016…it was mid-December, but it still says 2016 on it, so it counts. So far, people have seemed to like to my crew of characters, which is always the best compliment.

Some people have told me that my book kept them up past their bedtimes…I do believe that is the ultimate “sorry, not sorry” (at least for an author).

Stealing Second is well on its way to its March publication date. It may be closer to the end of March, but it will be out next month (wow…if saying NEXT month doesn’t light a fire, I don’t know what would). I am putting some final touches on the story for the fictional Kansas City Royals…then it is off to my fabulous reader…then final read through and cover (by my fabulous artist, Amanda Fugate).

Hat Trick was the first one in the series that got written. I have talked to other authors about this, how I knew the end of the series before I knew the beginning and some of them think it makes sense to know where I am going to know how to get there…to others I am a crazy person, and why wouldn’t I start at the beginning? It wasn’t actually a conscious plan. I was watching the hockey game, saw the super fan…and JD was born…Then Ty skated up to him, Chris came with his baseball glove, and Josh with his football. I love it when my characters introduce themselves to me right from the start…makes it so much easier than when they play hard to get.

January 20, 2017

End of a road…

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelle sodaro @ 6:04 pm
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I find myself standing at the end of a road…I decided in May of last year that my teaching career needed to come to a close. I had been questioned about my integrity one too many times because my percentage of adults who didn’t pass my course was too high…the implication being that I am a “bad teacher” when the truth is in fact I am a very good one…one who feels the sting of every single “F” I have ever given out…did I not do enough? Could I have pushed harder? Did I push too hard?

I have cried at every graduation I have been to…every graduation except the one I attended last year…last year I just felt numb. My 20 years in the field have put me through every emotion possible…every emotion except numb. I have never been numb…and to feel it at one of the greatest days of the year in the education world…I knew there was a problem.

The world of education is changing. It has changed over my 2 decades in the field, of course, but the changes I see now are not ones I can bend toward, as I have done for countless other changes.

12/31/17 will be my last day as Ms. Sodaro, my last day as a “teacher,” my last day in this role I have played for twenty years of my life.

Last month I self-published my 6th novel. I am going to self-publish 4 more this year. Clearing projects off my plate. Making room for new ones.

I don’t know yet how I will pay my bills in 2018…I know I will have a job. I know that it will be 40hours a week. Clock in. Do my job. Clock out. Go home and work on what makes me feel alive. One day I will pay my bills with my books…and until then I will do whatever I have to do.

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