Saturday, February 28, 2015

Review: If I Stay

Like I mentioned in my library haul, I wasn't quite sure what to think of this book when I first got it out of the library. I didn't even know what it was about, I had just heard it was a good book.

If I Stay starts on a typical snow day in Oregon. Because Mia and her little brother Teddy have off from school, as well as her father who is a middle school teacher, her mother decides to call out as well. The whole family having the day off, they decide to go visit friends, family, and maybe do a little shopping while they're at it.

Piling into the car, the family chooses their music choices and heads out onto the road.

Only to get into a horrific car crash not long after.

Their parents are dead on impact. Teddy is severely hurt and Mia is in critical as well as in a coma. Now Mia needs to decide whether she still wants to live, or whether she's going to give up and move on to be with her parents...

I admit, I almost didn't finish this book. After the violent car crash, I put the book down and didn't read it for a few days (it didn't help that, at the time, we were getting quite a bit of snow here, so then all I could think about was car crashes).

But after a little bit, I rallied my courage, and picked it up again. And I'm glad I did, because whole it is in a way an extremely heartbreaking book, it is also rather beautiful.

The format, mostly told from Mia's point of view as she lies comatose, is interesting as it switches between present day in the hospital and the past. The entire story takes place over a period of about 24 hours, but Gayle Forman brings in pieces of Mia's middle school years and well as earlier in high school.

As Mia is fighting her battle to decide whether to live or die, it made me think of all the decisions we have to make in our lives.

There is quite a bit of profanity in this book. It would have been just as good without it. There was also something about Mia's boyfriend which I didn't like. I felt like the author did a very good job portraying Mia and her feelings though. She was someone I was rooting for the entire book long.

I just learned there's a sequel as well! Another book for me to add to my list

If you prefer just to get your own copy, instead of borrowing from the library, you can get If I Stay *on Amazon in print, audiobook, or Kindle format.

 *This is an associate link, meaning if you purchase through it I get a referral fee but it costs the same as if you had just gone and ordered it through Amazon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Why Don't You Quit?

Getting discouraged when you're trying to write is common. It's common whenever you're trying to do anything which is awesome.

But I've asked myself that question over and over when I've felt especially like what I was doing didn't matter any more: "Why don't you quit?"

Why do you keep writing?

What's keeping you from giving up?

You've probably asked yourself the same questions, whether about writing or about something else you're trying to do. Why bother trying, when it's so hard?

So why don't I quit? Why do I keep writing? What's keeping me from giving up?

I keep writing because I have a story to share, several stories that keep bubbling themselves up inside me like hot springs.

 I don't quit because I know, no matter how crazy it may sound, I have something important to tell the world.

And the fact that someone, somewhere, needs to hear what I have to say, even if it's only one person, keeps me from giving up.

Helping that one person is important enough to keep writing.

I'm writing specifically about writing, but if you're striving towards something else, just replace writing with whatever it is you're working for, because the same thing applies.

No one writes like you do.

Your writing springs from something inside you that refuses to be silenced.

Your writing can change the world.

People go on and on about not getting discouraged, how you shouldn't ever feel like you want to give up, but I think that's nonsense. Allow yourself to feel it. Embrace the fact that, sometimes, like anyone who does something amazing, you want to give up.

But don't give up.

There's a world of difference between feeling discouraged and giving up. Galaxies between wanting to quit and actually walking away from it.

Instead, find out why. Why can't you quit? Why are you still writing? What's keeping you from walking away from your dreams?

Because when you know your why, why you continue to do something which at times you hate doing, it's so much easier not to quit next time you're discouraged. And let's be honest, there's going to come hundreds of more times when you want to tear up the notebook and burn it.

So why don't you quit?