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Friday, November 25, 2011


This will be an unusual post from what I normally write here. I have been very busy in the past two months with a great number of recitals, symphony services, new puppies and training, Thanksgiving preparation, end-of-semester preparation, and the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I apologize for not posting more in this past month, but I had a daily goal of writing 2,000 words for the NaNo project, and I had a few tough weeks back there trying to squeeze in everything else at the same time. So sorry I have not been as active on the blog as usual.

First, let me say how touched I have been to read your many notes and comments to me. It is sometimes a very lonely life as a writer, because there are so few opportunities to interact directly with readers. I do not receive very much reaction or many comments, so I have not developed the habit of checking my comments very often. Imagine my surprise to check things today and discover so many lovely comments from so many people! How very sweet of you all to take the time to write to me! You have given me a precious gift of encouragement and renewed enthusiasm. More posts to come!

Second, I want to offer my thanks to you for allowing me the opportunity to stand on a soapbox and preach about good (and bad) teaching, parenting, and learning. I do have a message about the importance of all of us becoming and being the best that we can be for the sake of our children, and I appreciate that you have been supportive of my efforts to "get the word out."

Third, I really do encourage you to write to me either as a comment or as a personal email. Your comments and emails to me provide me with ideas and prod me to think of new and interesting ways to solve many of the problems we face together. I am thankful that you take the time to let me know what you would find helpful to discuss in future blog posts.

Fourth, I am also open to guest posts, interviews, book reviews, and the like. If you have an idea, a contribution, or some news to share, please let me know. Dr. Suzuki was never one to limit his instruction or materials to an elite group of teachers, so I am personally sure that he would bless our continued exploration into the realm of teaching materials and ideas, whether they bear the Suzuki "stamp of approval" or not. Send me your thoughts and we will take it from there.

Fifth, I am proud to announce that I successfully completed the NaNoWriMo 2011! I finished and uploaded my novel for validation at midnight November 24, 2011 (or should I say November 25?). I successfully completed over 50,000 words written in November on the project. Actually I was over the minimum, and I actually have one little section more to add. I have a few more days until the final deadline to add that material, but officially I have "won" at this point. I am very proud of meeting this goal, and I spent some time this morning contemplating the various lessons I learned from the experience. The biggest thing I learned is that carpal tunnel is a serious issue! We really need to be conscious of how we hold our wrists when we use our computers. This is a serious topic for a future blog post, I assure you!

So there you have it. I have been really busy, but I am coming to a place where I can resume my regular posting. I welcome your ideas about future posts. I have been working my way through book 1, but I am perfectly willing to jump around to another place as folks direct. I have had a request for new or beginner mom tips. Let me know.

NaNoWriMo Winner's Badge 2011

Oh, for those who are interested in what my NaNo writing project was, I was writing a book about how to set up and run a music teaching studio. Since the NaNo rules require that the work be fiction and my writing project contemplated nonfiction, I was stumped about how to participate in this November ritual, which is something I have always wanted to try. I discussed my disappointment with some writing friends, and they slapped me around a little bit. I refused to cheat, because I would know that I was cheating, and that just is not who I am. Then someone reminded me of Truman Capote's creative nonfiction genre, that got me thinking, and there you have it! I found the solution to my dilemma.

I have titled the book "The Music Studio" for now as a working title. I created four characters in various stages of teaching experience and life in general, and I let the book unfold each day in 2,000 word increments. I found the experience exhilarating in how the story took shape. Each character brought unique perspectives and problems into bas relief, and I was able to address in writing each subject area. I came up with more ideas for the book than I had originally planned to use. I was also surprised to see how much the book and the characters in the book depended on the inclusion of various goal setting exercises. There are many, many different ways to set goals, and I realized while writing the book that many of these goal setting tools were more appropriate at various times in our lives. I had not thought of goal setting in that manner before, but the fictional component of my story brought this aspect to the forefront for me.

Of course, now I have a mass of words to edit. I hope to spend December doing just that.

Happy Thanksgiving (one day late)! Enjoy those leftovers and a nap or two.

-- Paula


  1. Hi Paula,

    Happy Thanksgiving! It sounds like you are busy with some exciting writing projects!

    I have commented once before, and wanted to ask about how you handle the delicate subject of instrument quality with parents. I occasionally will have a parent determined to buy an 'E-Bay violin,' much to my dismay. I have been able to discourage the purchases so far, but with how tough economic times are, I understand it can be tempting for parents to want to save money by buying a lesser quality instrument.

    Have a great day,

  2. Hi, CG, consider it done! I have posted a new article about this topic today. Thanks for the suggestion. As I get older, I am less "delicate" about this topic. If a parent ignores my advice, I think that says a lot about the parent and how difficult they might be as a practicing partner as well. Don't you agree?