We have 361 days ahead of us to change the world...one word at a time, one smile at a time, one moment at a time.
I know that seems daunting to think of, but seriously, we can do all three. Writing gives us the chance to not only express our thoughts and feelings, but it gives us the opportunities to change others with the words their eyes see.
I've declared for this year that my word is PERSISTENCE...persistence in my personal life to overcome disability obstacles, persistence with my writing by planting myself firmly in a chair and typing every day...and persistence in making my world a better place--through a kind word, smile or small gesture of caring.
As an editor, I also have the ability to make your manuscripts better, to bring out the best in you as an author. I do have openings and would love to discuss with you how to perfect your work of art. Let me know how I can help.
Today is the day before the day before the day. How's that for a sentence that makes no sense and breaks every literary rule? In the midst of the craziness at the malls, in the midst of the honking horns and traffic, in the midst of squabbles and unrest... I hope you can find some humor in your family time, if that is how you celebrate. If you celebrate in quiet reflection, may your heart and soul be refreshed. If you celebrate the birth of Jesus, then I pray you allow the wonder of that day so long ago to infiltrate your being.
It's been an incredible year as an editor. Thank you so much for your faith in me to make your manuscripts the best they can be. I look forward to working with you in 2019 on more projects. From my home to yours...a very Merry Christmas and bountiful New Year.
Has it really been that long since I've paid attention to this blog? Almost a year to date since I've written anything. So much has happened and I apologize to my clients and readers that nothing has been posted here for that amount of time.
Fifteen years ago I was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. I was working a 60 hour work week and that came to a screeching halt when I couldn't figure out why I was so brutally fatigued all the time. I spent 6 weeks moping, for lack of a better word, while I processed this new thing that was taking up residence in my brain and spinal column and affecting all parts of my life.
Soon my new normal included reduction in work hours, play hours and insomnia from the massive doses of steroids to keep the flare-ups at bay. Years have passed and I've found many new normals as I move through life one step at a time.
In 2015 I made the difficult decision I could no longer work my retail job as a floral designer...a job I'd held for the better part of 20+ years and one that I dearly loved. It moved me into a new realm and had me asking...what's next?
So, I began reading. The more books I read, the more it convinced me the world needed an editor who cared enough about author's manuscripts to say something when things were poorly written. Having a strong background in English in both written and spoken word, and experience with copy editing, I set out on a new journey last year to help authors turn their manuscripts into perfection...one word at a time.
I'm into year two of that journey now, and thank all of my clients who've put their trust in me to help make their works of art better. I'm thankful for the repeat clients and the new referrals. 2019 will be even better!
If you know of any authors looking for editing/proofreading services, I'd appreciate your kind referral...or if you are seeking someone who can help you, please contact me. January has some open dates, and I'm booking for February and beyond.
I'm blessed by so many and so thankful to have this in home business that allows me to rest when I need to. Thank you to my editing clients...and to my readers, too. I wish all of you a very Happy, blessed Thanksgiving!
Ah, yes, writing styles...
How many remember penmanship classes in elementary school? Remember...those hours of sitting and tracing letters over and over until you went cross-eyed? Those lined sheets of paper you had to copy what you'd just traced? Those teachers who forced you to hold a #2 pencil a certain way, hold your hand a certain way, place the paper a certain way?
We use pen/pencil until high school years, when we have the option of taking a typing class. My typing class my freshman year began with a Royal manual typewriter, similar to the photo. We really built up finger muscles and dexterity because of pounding so hard on the keys!
Typing II my Junior year of high school saw an upgrade to the IBM Selectric. It was my favorite typewriter! I loved watching the little ball as it struck the paper...then when we had the correctable tape...wow! Were my documents without error? probably not...but it was what we had at the time.
Can you imagine how long it would take to do a manuscript today using one of these instead of our computers?
Transition us... computers! IBM desk top computers. This is a photograph of the very first keyboard. Technology at your fingertips. I don't know about you, but it took some getting used to to stare at a huge screen (back then they were huge) and have this keyboard attached to it with what looked like a coiled telephone cord! It was only the beginning!
Ta-da...no more big monitors...we are in the age of the laptops and streamlined desktops with flat-screen monitors. I no longer have to sit at a desk to type, but can grab my laptop and head for my favorite chair/ottoman or the recliner and get to typing. My wpm have drastically improved over the 45-65 wpm I did on the Selectric in high school.
Where am I going with all this, you ask? Well, think for a moment...if you were in high school in the 60's and 70's, all you knew was the typewriters. If you were in school in the 80's, computers were just beginning to make the scene in classrooms. Today, each elementary student has a "notebook" or "iPad" and are trained to type. Penmanship is obsolete, which in my humble opinion is a shame.
I love to write. I still hand write letters and send cards to friends. And, while it may surprise you, I outline my stories and do character bios on paper with pen.
Remember, if you have a manuscript and it needs sprucing up...get a hold of me and we will make it perfection...one word at a time.
Wishing you all a fabulous December and Christmas.
We as authors/writers string words together with the hopes that someone finds what we do appealing enough to spark their interest to the end... however, those sentences must be flawless. If they aren't, we authors/writers know it. If there are mispelled words, if there is poor grammar or poor punctuation, it trips up the reader...and if there are enough of them, the reader won't finish the book.
There are hundreds of sites that offer writing prompts and help with story beginings. There are also pay sites that offer the best in editing and publishing. As a writer, you NEED that second set of eyes...sometimes the third and fourth sets as well. We like to think what we write is flawless, but in reality, there are stupid mistakes we all make that we as the writer don't catch (even on the twelfth read-through.)
If you do not have an editor, proofreader, or beta readers--please consider finding one or all. It really helps when you have beta readers who love what you write. They are all about reading your manuscript before anyone else, and if you promise them a signed copy of the paperback, they will bend over backwards to help. There are hundreds of editing services and independent editors out there, including me. As my tagline says...achieving perfection one word at a time...is what we all strive for.
Challenge yourself to learn more about good grammar and composition by taking a class at a local community college, or one of the many courses offered online through YouTube videos. We are never too old to learn and when we develop the mentality that we are, we are sorely mistaken.
With pen in hand and/or fingers on keyboard...may your writing muse allow you to put down the words in sentence form that will be the most incredible, magical masterpiece you've written.
There are many different forms of art--painting, drawing, writing music, performing music, writing stories, throwing clay, making jewelry, verbal storytelling, photography. The possibilities are endless.
Have you created a story based on a song? A painting? A piece of blown glass? A photograph? May I challenge you to do so? Choose whatever medium you want. Look at it...no, really look at it. Look at its layers, look at the creation time, imagine the artist's mood.
Recently, I was challenged by my co-teammates in #OurAuthorGang to create a story by looking at a photograph. I looked over the photos and one popped off the page. I began a sentence, which soon turned into a short story about the photo. This is a great exercise in impromptu writing...a time when you just write. You'd be surprised what your soul will pour forth from your fingers.
Here is my photo and story.
There’s a chill in the air and the heat from the fireplace feels wonderful…especially after spending most of the day outside doing chores.
I don’t mind milking the cows or tending the chickens. After all, it is food for the table.
I think it’s going to be another harsh winter. We lost several head of cattle last year because of the frigid temperatures. There’s only so much coal you can burn and someone needs to be awake twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to assure the barn doesn’t catch on fire. We only have ourselves, and of course, my brother Billy. It’s a challenge to take turns staying up all night.
Lance is doing the best he can, I know that. Poor man, he works from the dark of morning to the dusk at night. When he’s not outside tending to the animals or making repairs, he’s inside working on the financial aspect of keeping this place going.
Me, well, I keep the home fires burning. I make sure his clothes are clean and there is hot food on the table. I take care of the dog and cats and try to get a bit of sewing done so I can take it into town.
Jenny and Mick run the general store. Jenny’s said that my dresses are some of the finest she’s seen and she goes on lots of buying trips for fancy fabric. She says if she could take them into the city, they’d bring top dollar. I don’t know about that. It would be nice, though, to have some extra money. I just like to sew. She wants me to use some of that fancy lace fabric for something she calls overlays. She’s willing to take me with her the next time she goes into St. Louis.
Lance and I have been married for ten years now. Seems like yesterday when my Daddy and Momma walked me down the aisle. It was a lovely early spring day, and we had the wedding outside at my Grandmother’s house in her fabulous garden. The trellis of roses smelled divine as we stood under it reciting our vows.
We’d thought by now we’d have several children running around. That’s not the case. Doc says I can’t have kids, something about my female parts not being developed properly. Lance says it’s alright. So long as we have each other, that’s all that matters. I still wish I could have a baby or two to cuddle.
Lance and I usually sit in the rockers in front of the fireplace after the dishes from dinner are washed and put away. He plays his guitar and sings such wonderful songs to me. Sometimes he just plays music. When he does that, I read or work on my ever-growing stack of mending. Can someone tell me how there can be so many holes in a pair of socks?
The fire is dying slowly, the sign another day is ending. I’m sure we’ll awaken to a new foot of snow. But that is tomorrow and tomorrow has its own adventures. Right now, it’s time for Lance and me to head to bed and snuggle down under the heavy wool quilt. We’ll hold each other until we fall into a restful sleep and Lance will once again be up before the sun to care for our land and provide for our needs. I sure do love that man.
We all have memories--good and bad--of teachers who made us read books/assignments, negative reading experiences, negative writing experiences, positive publications, no reviews, some reviews. These memories can serve as stepping stones that better our careers, better us as a person.
One thing I caution over and over, write what you know. You will find it easier to put words on the paper if you know your subject. It's easy to formulate characters, what they look like, different aspects of their person. It's not so easy to sit down and put those thoughts on paper.
If you don't know your subject matter, your writing will show it. You will come off as ill-informed. Your sentences and paragraph transitions will not be good, nor will your character development or storyline.
Please, research what you are writing about...research it until it becomes part of you. Eat, sleep, and drink your research, then do it time and again until you believe what you read and it bleeds into what you write. Your story will thank you for that. You become a credible author, one readers long to read.
Take the time to read and ingest what you write. If it doesn't seem believable to you, how is it going to be that million dollar seller? How is it going to keep the interest of your readers? Readers long to have my creations in their hands, you say. Granted, there are some readers who follow authors so closely, they will read anything and not comment on how poorly it is generated. Don't be one of those authors. Be an author of credible, well-thought out stories with strong characters. Be that million seller.
May ushers in Spring, blooming trees and bulbs, new life, and so much more. It's the month to honor women/mothers, celebrate the accomplishments of high school and college graduates, remember those who've given their lives while in military service to our country.
With all of this happening, who's writing? Admittedly, things do seem to slow down about this time of the year in the literary world. Never fear...it will gear up again in June as new beach reads release and authors start thinking about holiday books.
Paper and pen (or computer and blank screen) are your friends. I encourage you to do character bios and chapter outlines...remembering to use the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How method. The more information you can get down, the more solid it will be. Soon you will find you have a strong foundation to build your story, create your fictional world.
Just a reminder to those of you still looking for an editor...I do have openings in June, July, and August, but slots are filling up fast. If you'd like to get on my calendar, please contact me as soon as possible so I can reserve time for your manuscript.
Looking foward to meeting and helping you create a stellar manuscript.
Until next month, keep writing!
I've read numerous posts lately about different sites closing and new ones springing up. I guess in our literary world, this will be the norm. The most recent is that Createspace will eventually be phased into the KDP avenue of Amazon. My thoughts on this are mixed. While I'm all for progress, I'm not sure this is progress...and again, if it works, why mess with it?
For those who are looking for editing or proofing of your manuscript...I have openings in May, June, and July. My prices are reasonable and I have excellent references upon request.
How can I make this newsletter more user friendly? What type of content would you like to see here in this space that would be helpful to you? If you have any suggestions, please, leave a comment. All comments will be answered and suggestions considered for implementation as topics here in the blog section of this newsletter.
Remember...I'm here to help you produce the best manuscript. I will answer your questions and hold your hand (to an extent) through the process to your formatter and publication. All you have to do is contact me.
Until next month...
This year began with a rocky start. The world, as a whole, is questioning everything, including purchasing books. Sales are down across the board in all genres. Why? No one knows. We as authors mustn't let this get us down. We must continue forward with our works in progress, marketing our stories, meeting our readers.
We get caught up in the "what if I'm not good enough" syndrome and it snowballs. Sometimes it's difficult to not buy into that mentality, especially when your sales are down. And, another aspect, is when other authors are doing well and you aren't...another side to the not being good enough.
How do we fix it?
Remember, you are not on a hamster wheel...you are an individual, and you write because you have stories to tell, not because of any other reason. Yes, it would be nice if we could all get rich from our writing, but realistically, that rarely happens. We need to rejoice in our little victories and we need to congratulate our author sisters/brothers when they succeed instead of feeling slighted.
Personally, I believe for sales to happen, we authors need to be visible. We need to have an online presence, since that is where 3/4ths of the population do business, but we need to be out in public with our readers/potential readers, too.
I can't stress this enough...we need to put out quality products: error free and well formatted content, Our book covers should reveal an aspect of the story on the pages, not look like every other cover out there. Yes, naked-to-the-waist-6-pack-well-built men are hot...but not on every book cover. Please use some thought designing your cover. If interested, I can share with you cover artists who will assure that your covers are unique to what you write.
I can help with the content of your manuscript. I have editing openings for April and May and I would love to help you make your manuscript the best it can be. Please contact me and let's do this! I'd appreciate you sharing with your friends. As always, my intent is to help you produce your perfect book...one word at a time.