Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Preview, An Excerpt

My new book, Writing for Publication (Book 1) will be available via Kindle and Kindle apps by the end of this week! I'm excited to have made this much progress since we're in the process of moving. Here's an excerpt from the book, a teaser:

There are specific keys to overcoming the inevitable failure of being a writer. These few ideas can have a huge impact on your writing, and on your success as a writer. 

        Appreciate your own talent. If you know you are a good writer and you have something valid to say, appreciate that in yourself. Self appreciation comes across to others as confidence. Appreciating and having confidence in your talent is not boastful or prideful, it’s honest and real.
        Don’t let rejection slow you down. Realize and accept that rejection is part of the job of writing for publication. If you accept this, it will not surprise you when it happens. It’s a given, par for the course. It truly cannot be avoided. What you need to do is file the rejection away and keep writing without missing a beat.
       Keep writing. Famed author Amanda Hocking did this.  When she took my class, she had a thick file of rejection letters and they kept coming even during the time she took the class. What did Amanda do as a result?  She wrote more books.  By the time she self-published, then e-published, she had 17 finished books. Now, because of her e-publishing success, she is an international sensation with book and movie deals that scream her success.  She started out failing.  She kept writing. She saw success. That’s a simple formula. It will work for you, too.

      Much more to come!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Stop "That!"

Tip for the day for writers:  

Stop using "that" as much as you possibly can. 

I like to remind myself by saying, "That sounds flat."

Here are a few samples which illustrate my point:

Actually, this sentence is a perfect example. I could have said, "Here are a few samples that illustrate my point."  By choosing "which" instead of "that," the sentence flows better, sound more intelligent and helps the reader focus on the subject at hand, all which are benefits to any writer.

Anything you do to ease the reading of your work will benefit you, as the writer, the most.

Consider these examples:

"I will vote for the candidate that most closely shares my view."
"I will vote for the candidate who most closely shares my view."

Using "who" instead of "that" in this instance gives credibility to the writer's understanding of a candidate being a person and not a thing, since "who" or "that" in each instance refers back to the candidate they intend to vote for.

"Fear is a strong word that often comes out of misinformation."
"Fear is a strong word, often resulting from misinformation."

In this instance, "that" can be totally left out, making the sentence sound more intelligent, flow better and really focus on the point of the thought the writer is trying to get across. More words don't usually mean better writing. Less is better.

In your next writing project, take a look at "that" and see if you are overusing this common word.
Think of ways you can use "that" less.

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Get Real!

The title of this blog is not a joke nor a flippant statement on my part. Being real is ever so important to one's work as a writer - and really to one's credibility whether they are a writer or not. Being real, not exaggerating oneself and presenting oneself as honest to the core is everything in the writing world. Absolutely everything. It's also everything in the world of education.

I've been doing some editing for a man lately.  This man has a legitimate Ph.D, which he rightly earned. (Not all who claim to have a Ph.D have it legitimately. Many colleges, even local community colleges, reject claims of such a higher degree if they are not legitimate. More on this in a minute.) This man I'm editing for is a good writer, has a great handle on the English language and has some vital things to say. The problem is, he misrepresents his Ph.D by putting "Dr." in front of his name. While this may seem acceptable, the reason it is not is simple: the title "Dr.," in written form, has been reserved for medical doctors only.

When I first saw this title on his work, I immediately thought his Ph.D was not real; or essentially not legitimate. I interpreted his mistake as ignorance and this level of ignorance is usually associated with those who do not come by their accomplishments legitimately. Such was not the case with this man. Upon questioning him, he already knew using the title "Dr." was a bit on the risky side, yet he used it anyway. His reason was simple; he wanted to distinguish himself from another writer of the same name.  My response to him was simply that while I understand the need to distinguish himself, doing so by deceiving his readers is a mistake his writing career will not recover from. I made sure he knew his readers would assume he's a medical doctor and allowing them to make that assumption is deception. I warned him that he would lose all credibility as a writer should he proceed with that as he's published.

The rule of thumb is that if you are a Ph.D, you list your name as:

Jane Doe, Ph.D.


Dr. Jane Doe

Immediately, when people see "Dr." they assume medical doctor. This assumption is widely accepted in the writing world, as well as in education. When someone finds out Jane is not a medical doctor, they either think she's a liar or ignorant.......and neither of those is a good way to be perceived!

Get real.  Be real.

Only represent your real accomplishments. Only list what is true about yourself. If you got your Ph.D through a for-profit university, it's likely it will not be acknowledged in most colleges, thus it's not appropriate to claim. Most colleges check these things; you will be found out. It's best to be real and up front, saving yourself the impossibility of trying to overcome such a disaster in your career. Most people's careers will not recover.

So, just get real. Be real. Stay real.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Go Ahead, Set that Goal!

Happy 2013!!  What a great year this promises to be! Starting a new year, or even a new day is like waking up to a clean slate, or in my case as a writer, to a new word document!  Either way, opportunity abounds each and every day. One sure way to take advantage of those opportunities is to set goals. Setting a goal or a number of goals gives focus, validity, and clarity to your writing.

Being the creative type, I sometimes find goal setting confining. To combat that, I keep my eyes on my end result, asking myself what I want to accomplish and how it can be accomplished. I have found that even non-specific goals, such as a goal to be more consistent, can carry great influence. It's easy to take a non-specific goal and make it more specific with a plan.  Even if you're a free-lance writer who does not earn your entire income from writing, you should have a plan, a business plan, for your writing.


Your next step, after setting a goal and making a plan, is to take action. Go ahead, set that goal! Make that plan! Now get up and make it happen! It's your goal, it's your plan, it's you who has to take action. Below, I've outlined one such goal setting/plan making/action taking idea:

To blog more consistently

Set weekly blogging goals.
Brainstorm for fresh ideas daily.
Research trends to stay current.
Work to keep content fresh
Write ideas down daily.
Keep new and interesting pictures ready to use 
(I use all my own photography on my blogs.)
Read. A lot.
Network often.
Market wisely.

Well, you're reading the first result of my action!

Have you set  writing goals for 2013?  I have many more than just this one. I hope you set many goals for 2013 and work to accomplish every one of them. Join a writer's group which will help keep you on track. If there is no writer's group in your area, start one. I did that here where I live and it has been a great help to me as well as my fellow writers. 

Happy New Year!
Happy Writing!