Sodaro's Stories

October 11, 2017

Closure

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:39 pm
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Yesterday, I was standing in a classroom at a university…which at a time not too long ago, was the ultimate dream…to get my PhD and teach future teachers…pass the torch and help those who came after me…that was the goal for such a long time…until it wasn’t.

When I quit teaching in April, I felt good about my decision to focus on being an author. I felt a peace about my decision, which always lets me know I am on the right path…but there was a small part of me that wondered, if I was misreading the signals, making a mistake, if I would have regrets.

Yesterday, I stood in the classroom and waited for 3rd and 4th grade tiny humans to come for their sessions about poetry…and I also waited for that tiniest of twinges that I was supposed to be back in a classroom, and all I felt was that I was an author, about to talk to (and hopefully inspire) future authors. There was no longing, no love lost sickness, no ‘how could I walk away from this,’ in fact there was nothing but closure. That chapter of my life is closed…and my soul is at peace.

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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.

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.

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.

October 24, 2016

Balance

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:29 pm
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So after being dizzy for the last couple of weeks, I have really come to appreciate having balance (I have also enjoyed standing up without vertigo). Had my health screening and Blood Pressure is perfect as always, so that is not the reason for the dizzy…but I do know what caused it.

Teaching full-time is not a 40 hour and out kind of job. You grade until you are “done,” you explain until they get it, and you care…well you just end up caring all the damn time. I haven’t figured up how many of my Facebook friends are previous students, but I know it is a pretty high percentage. The care doesn’t stop just because they graduated or the class ended. And that’s fine. It’s been my whole existence for the last 19 years, my identity, my calling.

I am in a transition phase of my life, where the teacher me is not the be-all, end-all of my existence and the author me is coming in to the light. This has been and is an amazing journey where I am rediscovering Michelle (as opposed to Ms. Sodaro) and I am learning how to do both…which is where the balance comes in and where I have failed the last couple of months. I have tried to cram in a full-time author life into my weekends and have caused myself to not have any down time and to feel horribly guilty if I spend time with friends or binge watching on Netflix during the weekend. This is not healthy.

So, I am going to try (again) to have author time every evening, thus lessening the pressure on my weekends and allowing me to hang out and chill like “normal” people do…and one of these days, maybe I will even try dating again…but one step at a time, folks.

December 8, 2015

Bird by Bird

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:44 pm
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Chances are, if you have talked to me about writing or have read my blog for a bit, you have heard me sing the praises of Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Hands down one of the best books I have read about writing, and one that can be applied to anything we want to accomplish.
Take things Step by step, bit by bit, day by day, and yes, of course, bird by bird.
My author life is forthcoming. I KNOW this as certainly as I know my full-time teaching career is in its final years. People ask me how I can say I KNOW this (it’s hard for people to see because it’s not tangible yet…it’s okay. It will be. Just watch, and don’t try to keep me down or hold me back just because you can’t see what I see).
As I am thinking about the gradual transition from teacher to author, I keep getting completely overwhelmed by everything I need to do to get my author life where it needs to be. There is just SO MUCH to do and my full time teaching career keep me pretty busy all by themselves. And I just get overwhelmed…and then I remember to breathe.
What makes Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott one of my all-time favorites is that she reminds me, I don’t have to have my ENTIRE author life set up today, but I can do something today to work toward setting up my author life. I can do something every single day to work toward that goal.
I can write or edit on my lunch break (thus reminding me to actually take one).
I can blog or reach out to other authors.
I can write in the evenings and on the weekends.
I can create a newsletter and a webpage.
I can read a book and write a review.
These are just a few things from my list (are we really surprised I made a list??) of things that I can do to work toward my author life.
I don’t have to do everything on my list in one day; however, I can do something on my list every day.
And then I’ll get there…bird by bird.

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