Monday, September 27, 2010

When Taking a Break is Bad

I love breaks.  Breaks are good most of the time.  But if you're like me, sometimes breaks can go on for a long time.  For me, most breaks relate to my writing.  I've always heard that if you're stuck, take a break.  Or if you're so frustrated with your WIP that burning it seems like a good idea, take a break.  And that's great advice.


When the break that's supposed to last for a day or so stretches into weeks or even months, then you've got a problem.  I know all about that.  I finished my first draft for my first WIP at the beginning of August.  And it took me 11 months to do it.  Yep, you read that right.  Eleven. Freaking. Months.

I'm not even finished.  I'm in the middle of Revisionland, and I've started to find myself succumbing to those old urges again.  It's hard to figure out what needs to be cut or what needs to added, so I tell myself I'll take a quick peek at The Black Hole of Time Suck (AKA Twitter).  Or I'll check my email.  Repeatedly. Then there's all those blogs I need to catch up on....

Folks, it's a vicious cycle.  Sometimes, I don't even get my writing done for the day because of some serious procrastination.  Not. Good.  And when I'm hit with the "I'm a hack writer" days, the writing break seems to stretch on forever.

Now I do have one suggestion for breaking the "writing break" cycle.  My CPs and I have Smackdown sessions that have helped me become really productive.  It's simple...we get on Instant Messenger (or you could use Twitter) and we set a time like 30 minutes.  That 30 minutes is for writing.  When time's up, we check in and give a status update.  Works like a charm for me.

So do you have any ways to break those "too-long writer's breaks"?  What's the longest writing break you've ever taken?

Monday, September 20, 2010

You Shouldn't Read That!

Well, Banned Book Week is almost here (September 25 - October 2).  We're less than a week away and some more books are being challenged. One of them is Laurie Halse Anderson's book Speak.  It's being challenged by a professor in Missouri because he thinks it's soft porn because of two rape scenes. I'm not going  into all of the details, but really....challenging a book because of rape scenes?  Yeah, the guy has the right to have his own opinions, like everyone else.  But I'm completely, totally, one hundred percent against someone trying to force their own opinions on other people.  Namely, trying to have a book banned and removed from school libraries because they don't think the content is appropriate.

As a parent, that ticks me off.  Nobody should have the right to tell me what my children should or should not read.  EVER!  Parents should have the right to decide for themselves what is appropriate for their OWN children.   In fact, I've never read Speak, but I plan to buy it now because of this.

Furthermore, I started thinking of other banned books.  I knew of some books that had been challenged (The Harry Potter series), but I was curious about others.  Boy was I surprised.  The following is just a few of the books I read when I was in middle/high school. I love all of these books, and all are on the banned/challenged books lists.

Are You There God?  It's Me, Margaret
Then Again, Maybe I Won't
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Handmaid's Tale
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
On My Honor
Lord of the Flies
The Color Purple
Bridge to Terabithia
The Dead Zone
How to Eat Fried Worms
The Goosebumps series
A Wrinkle in Time. (The book that made me think I could be a writer one day)

So what do you think about book censorship?  Are there any books on the banned/challenged lists that you love?

** If you have a Twitter account, you can follow more of this discussion with the tag #SpeakLoudly.