As a child, I read a lot on my own – I was pretty regular at the local library as my mother, a preschool teacher, highly encouraged reading. As I got older, however, my time reading got less and less until high school when the only things I read were for school. I’ve heard a lot of people complain about terrible books they had to read, but for the most part, I didn’t have too many bad experiences. Perhaps it’s because I grew up a reader and reading long books wasn’t torture for me. I’m not sure. There were a few gems amidst the many books we were assigned to read, so here are my five favorite books I was forced to read by teachers (in no particular order).
Everyone always writes posts about books they loved and they gush about the prose and the characters and everything about them. Of course, I have books I have loved but I also have books I have absolutely detested every minute of reading them. Here are my top five most hated books in no particular order:
Everyone needs a vacation. I think a lot of us need more vacation time than we get, even if it’s just a week at home doing nothing. Me, I don’t usually get much allocated vacation time, and the time I spend away from home is usually hardly a vacation. This weekend, I went to Scottsdale, AZ but it wasn’t for a vacation. It was for a rabbit show (which is definitely no kind of vacation considering all the work involved). On the other hand, since I used to live in Phoenix, going back there feels like a mini-vacation no matter what I’m doing.
The scariest thing about actually being a writer is letting other people read your writing. When you first start writing, you think it’s fantastic and everything you write is gold! Fast-forward five years to you rereading what you wrote and thinking it’s the worst piece of crap since the first time your puppy took one on the floor. The best part about writing is that you’re constantly growing and improving with every person who reads your work, so even if their comments don’t make you jump for joy (okay, and sometimes they make you die on the inside), it’s helping in the long-run.
Putting yourself out there is the hardest and the most important thing you have to do. Opening yourself up to critiques is scary, letting people read the things you wrote, that you slaved over for months or years, is terrifying. It’ll take you farther, though.
Today, in fact, I have an event to attend in which I’ll be talking about writing and possibly even reading aloud to people (reading your own work aloud? What is this? The Torture Chamber?). I’m generally not that great in front of groups, and you’d think I’d be better after being a teacher, but not so much. Taking this step, however, could lead to bigger and better things, or at least, a book sale.
I’ll admit I am not one to step out on a cliff very often. I haven’t sent my novels to publishers because I’m afraid they’re not good enough. Someday, I hope to write one that I deem “good enough” for the pros to read and hopefully not just toss back on the slushpile. It’ll be terrifying when I do, but I know it’ll be for the best. Most writers dream of being traditionally published, of being stamped with a “verified” writer stamp across their forehead, as though the gatekeepers in publishing have deemed them worthy. Worthiness is all in the eyes of the beholder.
So I’m still here, taking small steps, but steps nonetheless, to get somewhere in my writing career. I’m putting myself somewhere – maybe not out there yet – but somewhere.
I have a problem – and the first step is admitting it, right? I push my characters too hard to be what I want them to be. I feel like this isn’t just my problem – many authors/writers have this problem when it comes to endings. When I sit down to plan a novel, or even if I just have an idea, I usually have some idea of how it’s going to end – who’s going to end up with who, etc. By the time I get to the end, however, my characters aren’t always the same as I envisioned them back at the beginning, and that puts a crink in my plans.