Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

Everyone Has a Story: Owen B

Today’s mini-interview is with Owen, who is a teacher who makes the world a better place by helping students become successful adults through finding their voice as writers. Today he shares one of the goals he’s working to accomplish and his guiding life question.

(If you’re interested in being interviewed for this blog or have someone in mind for me to interview, please let me know or leave a note in the comments section.)

Photo provided by Owen B (http://everyonehasamrb.tumblr.com/)- Used by permission

Photo provided by Owen B – Used by permission

Name and blog:
Owen B; Hey Mr. B! is where I blog intermittently about education.

What is one of your dreams for your life?
It’s the dream of every teacher to make a difference in the lives of our students. It’s my belief that in order to help students become functional and (dare I say it?) successful adults, they have to master 3 C’s: communication skills, critical thinking, and confidence. It is my dream to find a place where, as an educator, I feel like I can be effective in helping students find their voice as writers, and using that as a vehicle for teaching the 3 C’s. I feel like that’s my contribution to making the world a better place.

What is something on your bucket list?
Well, writing a bucket list, I suppose! I’ve never been the kind of person to create lists like that – I believe in setting small, achievable goals like “get a master’s degree” and “find the perfect Christmas present for my wife.”  I do have ideas about things I would like to experience and accomplish, though. One of those things getting a book published. I’ve been writing novels with National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo.org) for 11 years now, and I’ve finally managed a rough draft that I think is worth revising.

What is the best advice you ever received?
Ok, story time. In college, I got a job working for the on-campus gym. Now, I’m pretty bookish. I’m short, chubby, and the last time I played a team sport was middle school soccer. Most of my co-workers were athletes for the university. Not only did we move in different circles, but we interacted with our peers in completely different ways.

Luckily, though, the guys there liked me. They took the socially awkward blunders of a guy raised in a household of women with mostly women-friends as the innocent mistakes they were. Whenever I did something stupid, they would paw me down like bigger dogs teaching the puppy how to run with a pack.

I was excited to finally have some guy friends. I was telling my therapist about this development, and she stopped me midway through it.

“That’s really wonderful,” she said. “I’m really glad you have these guys to help you. But remember, the advice they give you is based on what they were raised to believe about how men act. You get to make the choice, today and every day, about whether that aligns with who you are. Ask yourself: What kind of man do you want to be?”

To this day, that is my guiding question.

Thanks Owen, for sharing your time and stories with us!

Readers: Do you want to be interviewed, or do you know someone I should ask for an interview? Let me know.

Will you consider joining with me in supporting children’s literacy and healthy self-expression through storytelling? My goal is to raise $1000 for National Novel Writing Month, a non-profit that organizes the event by the same name. Learn more at my fundraising page.

I’m attempting 3 goals at once, and you get to help

Yes, that’s right, ladies and gentlemen. Step right up and watch me attempt to complete 3 goals at once! What’s that? You don’t think it’s possible? Okay, you’re right, it’s not possible without audience participation. What? Don’t pick you? Maybe you’ll reconsider when I tell you what the goals are…

  • Win NaNoWriMo
  • Raise $1000 for a cause I’m passionate about
  • Get at least one list item sponsored

Here’s how they’re connected:

NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month, which is a free worldwide event where participants attempt to write 50,000 words during the month of November (achieving this goal = winning). Last year, over 340,000 people participated (myself included), a huge number, especially when compared to the 21 participants in the first annual event in 1999.

When I found out about the event in high school, I instantly loved a) the idea (publish 3 books is on my list, and this would greatly help with the writing process) and b) the boldness of the goal (dream big!). I’ve participated on and off around other commitments (mainly, school), and this will be my 5th year participating (not sequentially). Hopefully, 2014 will also mark my first win.

The event is organized by a non-profit (by the same name) that helps with literacy and creative writing education by providing free curriculum, workbooks, tools for classrooms, guidance for community leaders creating literacy-focused environments, and encouragement to all writers at any age to share their stories.

As an organization, National Novel Writing Month believes that everyone has a story worth sharing, and they try to help people share those stories. It is very in line with the Everyone Has a Story series that you all enjoy on this blog, so I hope that you will consider participating in the second and third of the three goals I’m attempting this November.

Your donations (tax-deductible and collected through my event donation page at Classy.org) will be counted toward my $1000 goal. Each of you who give any amount count as NaNoWriMo sponsors, so the third goal will be complete if the second is. And each donation (along with your kind words) will encourage me to keep writing to reach the first goal.

You have all been so supportive by reading my blog, leaving wonderful comments, participating in interviews, giving me encouragement in real life, and voting for me in the Big Blog Exchange this summer (didn’t make it, but I’ll try again next year!). Would you please consider donating even $1 toward my goals and to help increase literacy?

I know this is the time of year when everyone from public radio to junk mail flyers want you to donate to their cause, but I’m asking anyway, because I already know that you’re interested in reading about people reaching their goals, and that you enjoy when ordinary people share their stories with you. With your help, National Novel Writing Month can help people realize their stories are important and can provide encouragement to share those stories with the world.

If you truly cannot afford even $1, please share my donation page with other people on social media and in real life. Raising awareness about an organization like this will help them reach their goals.

And, of course, stay tuned for updates about progress as I attempt these three goals, as well as more interviews, stories, and resources that you love.

🙂 Shelly