Monday, February 25, 2013

The Right Tools

I love to bake. I love the fact that I can take a bunch of seemingly random ingredients and turn them into something tangible and delicious like a loaf of home made bread, brownies, a savory dinner or a pizza pie! A key to baking well is having and using the right tools. We just moved across the country and I'm happy to say that my new home has a fantastic place in it to have a baking station. I was unable to do that in my last kitchen and it was always a challenge. Now, with my baking station, I can whip things up quickly and easily on a whim if I want. Today, I found a recipe for "Gobs" aka "Whoopie Pies" and decided to make them while my boys studied in my home school. They turned out great!  My baking station, always at the ready, made quick and easy work out of baking up the wonderful treats. My favorite baking tools include my wonderful Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer, my Pampered Chef microplane, parchment paper, my vintage mixing bowls and my home made vanilla extract. These five things have enhanced my baking a great deal and made it even more fun.

My writing isn't much different. What are my essential writing tools? Are they always "at the ready" to assist me in my writing endeavors? What about you? Below is a list of my greatest writing tools. Have you inventoried yours lately?

* Great Ideas
   Writing starts with a great idea, whether it comes from observation or personal experience. Start with your great ideas and see how far they will take you. Don't be afraid to write it down.

* Your own method
   Your method is your comfort zone for making your writing happen. Famed author Danielle Steele uses an old-fashioned typewriter rather than a modern word processor for her books. I love my word processor, but when I'm developing an idea, nothing beats writing it out on a legal pad with a soft pencil. This method helps me capture the mood of what I'm writing, which assists in complete development.

* A love of reading
   Reading makes you a better writer, so read, read, read to your heart's content. Read a variety of genres, not just your own. Read, then write.

* An objective opinion
   Find someone you trust to give you an objective opinion of what you write and ask them to give you honest feedback. You can offer something in return so you're not taking advantage of that person if that is an issue, but by all means, get a trusted, objective opinion on your writing.

* Write
   Writing is the best way to improve and hone your writing. Write a journal. Write an article. Write a note to someone. Write a how-to book in one weekend and e-publish when finished. Just write. And continue writing your way to success. 


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Seeing Your Work in Print?

It's been too long since I posted on the Total Writer, but we just moved across the country, so blogging had to take a back seat. However, I have thought of all my fellow writers, my writing students and others who read the blog, so know you were not forgotten!

Just yesterday in the mail, I received copies of my latest articles published by Regular Baptist Press. I've been a regular writer for RBP for over 25 years and have thoroughly enjoyed the process. It never fails, no matter how many times I see one of my articles published, I get a big smile on my face. It makes my day. My two latest:

Writing articles is a great way to stay fresh, get published, keep your name out there in front of potential readers and stay in practice as a writer between major projects. If you haven't before, I strongly encourage you to write articles. Search out different publications which might be looking for writers and start submitting your work. You might just be surprised at the response you get.  I submitted an article to RBP 25 years ago and I'm still a regular contributor!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Revision, Revision, Revision

Revision is a necessary tool for successful writing. We write, we edit, we revise. Then, we revise again. And again. And again.

Sometimes, our content needs less revision than our title, however. This was the case with my new e-book, Writing for Publication.  I wrote, edited, revised, had an outside editor look at it, revised again, rewrote part of it and updated other parts. After all that was done, I created a title page, using my own photography as I always do on my e-books, and uploaded the project to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. I waited a couple of days, then did a search for my e-book. Clicking through to page five in the list of books on writing, mine simply did not show up. I gave it another day. Nothing. My e-book still did not show up in any searches!

So, I had to rethink my project and revise once again.  This time, revision involved my title and book cover. I spent a little time searching for writing e-books and made notes on what was showing up in searches. My original title, Writing for Publication, was buried in medical writings and newspaper column advice. I didn't check past page five because page five is deeply buried enough on Amazon to know it was never going to be found through a general search.

My new title, Write, then Publish. Today. with the subtitle (A Guide to Writing for Publication) has shown a much better search result. I'm glad I revised the presentation and title. It was work. It took time. But, it was necessary to make sure my e-book was easy for readers to find. I created a new picture by revising my original one, too.

Revise. Revise. Revise.
You will never be sorry you did!