Monday, February 27, 2012

What's So Important About Grammar?

Did you know grammar is vitally important to your writing?  Good grammar is essential to good writing. If you never want to have your work published, then good grammar won't matter. But, if you're looking to get published or sell books via self-publishing, good grammar is a must.

Grammar Girl can help you out with this. Follow her famous blag to get the best tips and the latest grammar information so your writing can be the best it can be!

If you plan to self-publish, or e-publish, hiring a viable editor is essential.

Remember, when writing for publication, you are not writing for yourself; you are writing for the reader.  Keeping the reader in mind through using proper grammar goes far in helping sell your work. I've compiled a list of some things good grammar accomplishes for your writing:

Good grammar:

  • Keeps your writing fluid
  • Prevents the reader from backtracking
  • Keeps your thoughts organized for the reader
  • Frees the reader to concentrate on your plot
  • Gives you credibility as a writer
In closing, good grammar can't be replaced with clever antics.  But, keep in mind that good grammar is always trumped by dialog, so opening lines such as you find in "The Color Purple" ("You better not never tell nobody but God")  are fine to use, as long as the story, itself, is written in proper grammar.

Get to know Grammar Girl; she's a great help, or get a copy of a high school English book to remind you of the grammar and punctuation rules so your writing will be at its best!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Write To Write

Lately I've seen a regular theme in the writing blogs I follow and that theme is simply that the best avenue to writing is to write. John Steinbeck once said, “I have written a great many stories and I still don’t know how to go about it except to write it and take my chances.”  He knew that the "secret" to writing is to write.

Writing is a process.  In the past two weeks, I've sold two articles (one just this morning!) and they were alike in that they both required a lot of thinking before I actually wrote them down.  I don't have the luxury of a certain time of day I can set aside for writing. I have eight children and am still home schooling my youngest two, so their needs come first.  Even though five of my eight have grown and left home, they call, text and email frequently to talk to their mom, so I'm still in demand in their lives.  (I'm so glad!)  Anyway, I say all that to emphasize that my writing does not have a schedule or predictable time-table. I have to write when time allows.  The rest of the time, I do my thinking.

Thinking is part of the pre-writing process.  Many times, I'll think on something for a few weeks and when I finally find time to sit down and write it down, it comes easily. I sold an article two weeks ago that took a total of 20 minutes to write, but weeks to think about.  It sold on first draft, but, in my mind, it wasn't really first draft at all because I had thought it through so long and thoroughly. 

Pre-writing is anything you do before you actually write.  It includes but is not limited to:

Getting the idea
Taking notes
Talking to others
Gathering information

There are no rules for pre-writing. It is as individual as we are. Do what works for you. If cooking helps you think, by all means, cook to your heart's content! Examine your style, determine what works for you and just simply do it. Pre-writing is recursive; you will return to it again and again throughout the writing process.
If you are thinking about your writing project, you are already in the midst of the writing process for that idea.
  You have already started!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Four-Step Plan

While I am a creative writer and relish in the creative process, I have found the necessity of having a plan for my writing.  To earn any type of money through writing, a plan is essential.  Part of my new E-Publishing 101 class will features details of how to put a plan together. Here's a sneak peek:

Success at e-publishing requires a plan.  These 4 steps are a great way to help organize a plan for your own road to success:

1. Have a goal.  Without a goal, you will not have a focus and without focus, your dream can die.  Whether you prefer making a long-term goal, or a series of short-term goals, a goal is vitally important to your success.

2. Have a set of principles by which you operate.  This is helpful in deciding which projects you will undertake, how you will invoice, and payment options you will agree to. A set of principles protects you from being taken advantage of, from taking on more than you can handle and even from taking on things that will ultimately compromise your time, energy and/or family obligations.

3. Have a written business plan.  I can't emphasize this one enough.  A business plan is vital. It can change daily if you need it to, but having a written plan will help you keep your focus, help you remember your goals and help you stay on task. Create a plan, write it down and keep it where you can see it at all times.

4. Have a network.  Not one of us is an island.  Without others, we will disappear.  Establish a network through which you can receive and give feedback,  Whether you choose a group of friends, social networks, a formal group of writers or just a bunch of guys you get together with for coffee, get a network going and keep your writing active within that network.

There's your sneak preview for today!
Keep writing.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Students Inspire Me

I must say, my writing students are so creative, so motivated, so energetic and so eager to learn and practice their writing skills that I am totally inspired by them!  As a matter of fact, I'm so inspired that I'm starting a blog completely dedicated to writing.  You might wonder why I've not done that before and I would wonder the same thing.  Why haven't I done this before?  All I can say is, I'm doing it now.

Thank you to my students!

What inspires you as a writer?  Does routine inspire you, knowing your time is predictable and dependable? Or are you inspired by a whimsical thought that you just have to write down?  Are you a creative writer or a writer of facts?  It doesn't matter what kind of writer you are, as long as you're writing.  Some people I know are actually inspired by editing and revising their work.  Others just like to get it written, then hire someone else to edit and revise.  What's your style?

Speaking of editing, that's my tip for the day - have your work edited before publishing.  Whether you're self-publishing, using a POD method or even a Vanity Press, you simply cannot adequately edit your own work. A good editor is money well spent.

Till next time...........