Monday, April 30, 2007

Student Arrested for Creative Writing Essay

If you haven't already heard about Allen Lee, I'd be quite surprised. Since the 18-year old student's arrest, there have been varying opinions about the response to Lee's essay - media hounds and bloggers alike have expressed their views on Lee's predictament.

You can read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

To make a long story short, Allen Lee, an 18-year old senior attending Cary-Grove High School was arrested because his English teacher, the school board and the police deparment felt the content of his essay was disturbing enough to warrant an arrest.


I have issues with this. Why? Well, not only was Lee following directions for a class assignment, where his teacher specifically told students not to censor themselves, but now I wonder how other students' will feel when told to express themselves through creative writing. Will they feel afraid, as if anything they say in a creative writing class can be used to arrest them?

As a writer, I am very concerned about the future of freedom of thought. While I can understand that what Lee wrote was inappropriate for a classroom setting (especially given in the wake of the VTech shooting,) I do not believe the school's reaction to his words was appropriate.

While people have chosen to play the race card, I will leave that discussion to others. I choose not to delve into that side of the debate. However, I am more than open to hearing your comments about Allen Lee, and the issues surrounding his classroom assignment.

Please feel free to leave a comment. I look forward to opening up a discussion about this recent event, as I feel it touches on an issue that is relevant to all writers.

Phew... can you imagine what a young Stephen King might have gone through had his work been subject to such harsh critique?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Writing Question of the Week: Becoming a Writer

Happy Monday, fellow freelancers. I hope your weekend proved enjoyable!

This week's writing question: When did you actually decide you wanted to be a writer? Did you suddenly have an Aha! moment, where everything seemed to fall into place - or was it more of a gradual process? Perhaps you've always known you wanted to be a writer, and managed to take the leap.

Whatever the answer might be, I want to hear it! Please feel free to leave your comments below - I'll love reading each and every one of them.

Best Wishes to All,



Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Writing Question of the Week

It's only Tuesday, and already I feel exhausted. I can't imagine what the rest of the week will be like!

However, I digress.

This weeks writing question: Do you consider your writing a profession or a hobby? What differentiates a career-minded writer from a hobbyist? I'm interested to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

Happy Tuesday, everyone. I hope the rest of your week proves productive and enjoyable.



Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Power of Words

As writers, words are our lifeblood - our reason for being, essentially. Words are what allow us to inform, entice, excite, entertain or otherwise elicit emotion from our readers.

We are so wrapped up in words, in fact, that perhaps at times we forget to notice when words have become no longer our friend, but our enemy.

Words are powerful.

I am a firm believer that words are more powerful than any physical action one could possibly take against me. Truthfully, I'd rather be physically punched in the gut than be the recipient of a vicious verbal attack. Why?

Because words can hurt. Emotionally. Deep down to the very core of your being. I don't like that.

Starting today, I am going to make a conscience effort to watch how I use my words around other people. Words are my life, but I'm choosing not to use something so powerful to hurt another person knowingly and/or voluntarily.

Perhaps, as writers, we should all strive to do the same?




Wednesday, April 11, 2007

How to Stick With Writing - Even if You Think You Don't Want To

Let's face it - we all have those days where we just don't feel like writing. Try as we might, we can't seem to get our brains to focus long enough to hash anything out.

There are some days where I do everything in the world to avoid writing, and I'm sure I'm not alone!

However, writing is my passion. There's nothing else in the world I'd rather be doing - unless it's one of "those days" mentioned above. But when it comes down to it, I LOVE what I do.

The following article will attempt to examine several different ways writers can stick with it, even through the rough times. If being a writer is your true calling, the following tips might benefit you.

  • Figure out WHY you want to write
Why do you write? What are your underlying motives behind your desire to be a writer? Every writer has a reason (or two, or three...), and these reasons can help keep you going through the times times.

Determine why you wanted to become a writer in the first place. Write the reason (or reasons) down, and put them in a safe place. When you're feeling frustrated, reflect back upon why you chose this career path and you just might find your passion restored!

  • Determine what you want to write about
A writer without a niche to specialize in automatically gets lumped in the "general content writer" category. With that being said, if you're in that category you probably aren't having as much fun as you could be, writing about topics you enjoy.

So, figure out what topics you like to write about! Which topic(s) do you have the most experience and/or interest in? If you actually enjoy the subject matter you're writing about, it makes the job much easier to handle.

  • Find support
Whether you join a local writers group or have a close knit group of friends or family you talk to on a regular basis, it's important that you surround yourself with people who are supportive of your writing endeavors.

I know for me, writing was a career I'd dreamed about since I was a child. Even when people told me my dreams were pointless, because I gathered support from elsewhere, I was able to ignore the other comments and focus on my goals.

Surround yourself with supportive people, and your dream doesn't have to vanish down the drain.

This seems like basic common sense, but if you are serious about being a writer; if it's your dream career choice, and you can't imagine yourself doing anything else, then giving up would be the absolute worst thing you can do.

Every job has its ups and downs, and a writing career isn't an exception to that. If you persevere and dedicate yourself to your dream, then your dreams can never die.

It's natural to be frustrated and tired of writing. By keeping the above tips in mind, I hope you can determine whether writing is your career goal... or something that's worn out its welcome.

If you have any additional tips for writers who are ready to give up, please leave them in the comments below. I am very interested to hear your thoughts.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Writing Question of the Week: What Inspires You?

I want to know what inspires you. I want to get into your head for a moment, and decipher what, exactly, drives you to write.

Are you inspired by daily events? By magazines, newspapers, or television shows? I'd love to hear some feedback on what sets the writing wheels in motion.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. I'd love it if you share your thoughts.