Friday, October 19, 2012

I'm Here, But Not Really

So, you may have noticed that I missed a few weeks' worth of posts.  Yeah...about that....

Photo from
I've been knee deep in a book drive for my other blog* for half of September and all of October, and though I love that we can provide such a wonderful collection of books for one library out there, it does take a lot of work to get everything together and the logistics figured out.  That's my first excuse.

The other knee has been plunged into planning our Regional Conference** for SCBWI.  Though this year we opted for a plot intensive instead of a true conference as in years past, so you'd think it would be less work.  Yeah...right.  Excuse #2.

I am also knee deep (I have a lot of knees) in the middle of a revision for an upper MG manuscript*** that I love to pieces.  Unfortunately, Excuse #1 and Excuse #2 have pretty much stolen any writing time I've had the last month or so, and I need to get back on track and Get. This. Manuscript. Finished.

So, because of this, I'll be shutting down this blog temporarily and pulling back on my other online projects through the end of this calendar year.  I'll still probably check in online occasionally, so I'll be here, but not really.  The best chance to see me online will be Thursday night at the #MGlitchat sessions, though I may not be able to get to all of them, either (it's a good thing we have 8 hostesses for the chats, or I'd be in trouble).  And, as always, if you really want to reach me, drop me an email at elissadcruz at gmail dot com.

So, until next year, dear readers!

*This is not an attempt to get you to stop by and vote on who should receive our collection of books.    Okay, it really is.

**This is also not an attempt...oh, who am I kidding?  I totally want you to check out our amazing Plot Intensive with Cheryl Klein, and maybe even sign up to come.

***This is not an attempt to get you to read the manuscript.  I mean it this time.  Maybe if it sells to a publisher someday, then I might attempt to get you to read it, but you're safe for now.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Friday Reads, Monday Edition: Bird By Bird

I spent the weekend tucked away in the mountains of Idaho at the SCBWI Utah/S. Idaho's Novel Revision Retreat (I'll attempt to blog about that later this week/month, but don't hold your breath--I spent a good chunk of the time doing dishes and driving people around), so this Friday Reads is coming to you a few days late.  And since writing was on my mind this weekend, I figured I'd share a non-fiction title our faculty member, Senior Editor Kendra Levin from Viking Children's Books mentioned as one that speaks to her.  It spoke to me when I read it for the first time years ago.  I hope it speaks to you, too.

Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
by Anne Lamott

For: Adults

Genre: Non-fiction, Writing,

Published: 1995

Description from Barnes and Noble: Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird is an inspiring and humorous look at the spirituality and sometimes dull reality of writing and the writing life. Lamott offers practical and honest suggestions on how to beat writer's block, find inspiration, or tackle a project that seems overwhelming, all of it wrapped in her warm and often hilarious viewpoint. With lessons in craft, art, and even life, having Bird by Bird on the shelf is like having a fellow writer and friend on hand for whenever you need motivation, inspiration, or even just a chuckle or two.

Why I Liked It: There are times when writers need  more than practical tips about craft.  This book left me inspired to keep pursuing the writing life.  Though the tips are amazing as well, it was the pep talk from Anne that gave me the courage and determination to keep going at a time when things in my own writing life looked bleak.

From the book: "Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'"

Priceless advice, and only one of the gems hidden in this book.  You'll have to take the info in this book bird by bird, I must say.  You might as well buy a copy now, because you'll keep coming back to it again and again.

Do you have any other books about writing that you like?  I have a list of favorites, of course, but I'd love to hear about yours.  Leave me a comment if you have a title to share.

And happy weekend weekday reading!