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You Want to Read My What?????!!!!!


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I get nervous when someone wants to read my work. Yes, I have been doing this for over 30 years and yes, I still get nervous. Every now again that nervousness seems justified because I will come across someone who doesn’t actually enjoy my work and are very verbal about it. For instance, I took a writing job recently writing about rumored car showcases. The articles tout all the rumors about new cars that will be coming out in the next few years. While I am enjoying the assignments I have been saddled with an editor who is very obviously young and likes to use big words to tell me how much he personally doesn’t enjoy my work. This morning he actually wrote the following line in a review of one of the articles I had written that he is rejecting:

“Considering the number of reviews and test drives that are to be found on the internet, a nebulous inaccurate unsubstantial set of words based on an barely intelligible inarticulate collection of dribble posted in November 2013 is not acceptable.”

Seriously….“a nebulous inaccurate unsubstantial set of words”…amazing. I have rubbed this young man the wrong way and I can only ascertain from his need to use words like “nebulous” that he is young and somewhat full of himself. I am trying to not let it bother me….but it does to some degree. Although I could let this assignment go I am now determined to stay in order to see just how many other big words this little guy knows. It’s gone from annoying to amusing for me.

People like this young man however attribute to my nervousness when I submit any type of writing. To some degree it is a good thing because it will forever keep me humble and remind me that there is still work to do on refining one’s craft. On the other hand it does cause me to want a drink after submissions. (I fight that urge) My point is that we, as writers, can’t allow that nervousness that we ALL have to stop us in our tracks. You have to submit and then push on to the next assignment. Take any criticism for what it is, someone’s somewhat educated opinion of your work, use what you can and toss the rest. Use nervousness as a tool to help not hinder.

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2014 in Writing, Writing Tools

 

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Recommendation


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Posted by on September 10, 2014 in Writing

 

Just a Minute!


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As many of you know I went through an ordeal two weeks ago that knocked me off my schedule. Recovering made me have to push projects back and rearrange things last week and, to some degree, this week. I would be lying if I said that it didn’t suck. I’m now behind my own schedule and I hate it. What I hate more is the lack of motivation I feel in catching up.

Going through a major life change or event can make procrastination look even more inviting than it usually is. Because I have had no choice but to pull back on work it makes restarting that much harder. Don’t get me wrong, procrastination in its purest form is the bane of every writer but usually it is easier to combat; throw in some life altering thing and suddenly procrastination becomes that lonely beer in the fridge that you know you shouldn’t drink…it’s lonely…it needs you.

So what has been the lesson for me this week? You have to just force yourself past the urge to sit staring at a blank screen. No amount of waiting is going to help you catch up on all that work. I have to make a list, a to-do list and then I just start knocking things out one at a time. I also stick to my schedule. I have my writing schedule set up in blocks of time. When my schedule says that I am writing from 8-10, that’s what I do and at the end of that block of time I move on to the next thing no matter where I am in the writing. If I don’t do things this way the writing takes over and my clients suffer. I have to stay focused on the task at hand.

If you find yourself behind, don’t give up. It is easy to feel buried and just grab the remote control but if you choose that route, the behinder (as my son would say) you will get. It is best to make that list and start knocking things out. Forward momentum is the name of the game folks. You will catch up, I promise.

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Inspiration, Writing, Writing Tools

 

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A Good Ghost Writer is a Must


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You want to write your story but you aren’t a “writer” per say. Lots of family and friends have been telling you for years that you need to get your story down in book form because it is so incredibly interesting. Still…how do you find someone who can help you get that story out? My answer….very carefully….

As a life-long writer I see the importance in story. I believe that we all have one and that everyone should be able to tell that story if they feel so inclined. I also feel that there is absolutely nothing wrong in hiring a ghost writer to help you with that task. It’s still your story…you just need a little good old fashioned know-how. I don’t do plumbing but if I want my pipes fixed I’m definitely going to call a guy who knows his stuff.

Hiring a good ghost writer is important if you really want the story you tell to be yours. I have seen a lot of writers over the years try their hand at ghosting and it is not as easy and one might think. There are some hardcore “musts” that you ghost writer has to have in order to be able to work with them.

  • Time – Hiring a ghost writer who is overwhelmed with other clients is never a good idea. Hire someone who only takes on a few projects at a time.
  • Experience – Hire a ghost writer who has ghost written, not a writer who thinks they can pull it off. Ghosting takes a unique set of abilities such as listening, reporting and compiling someone else’s story without trying to make it their own. Too many times I have heard stories about how a ghost writer came on-board and suddenly the story took off in a different direction. A good ghost writer will tell your story, not their version of your story.
  • Tier payments plans –I am a huge believer in tier payment plans. If your ghost writer has set up their contract write the contract will tier the payments at important points in the project. Part down, part on first 50 pages, part on first draft delivery and the rest on final draft; this way both writer and story teller are invested in the project.

These are just a few of the things to consider when hiring a ghost writer. Something as precious as your story should not be left to a hack or someone who doesn’t care; it needs to be done right. You need to have a connection with the person telling your story…without it your story will not be what you envisioned. Take your time and find the write ghost writer…in the end it will be worth it.

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2014 in Business of Writing, Writing

 

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Don’t Write through the Pain


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Last week I was stricken with a pain in my stomach that was unlike any I had ever experienced before. It was so bad that it actually drove me to the floor at one point. An ambulance ride later I found myself sitting in a hospital staring emergency surgery in the scalpel. I fussed with the docs…yes it hurt, yes I wanted it fixed BUT I have so much work to do! I think there were points when at least one of those doctors wanted to throw things at me because, as she put it, I was being ridiculous.

After the “you-have-no-choice-because-you-could-die” speech from not one, but six, surgeons I finally gave in and let them cut me open. By Friday the surgery was over and I was already being a pain in the ass because I wanted to go home and get back to work. The nurses would sweetly pat me on the head and smile, nodding that I would be able to go home soon. They humored me because they knew that when I did finally get home I was not going to just hit the keyboard. They knew I would be in pain, my body trying to heal itself. They also knew that I would just have to see for myself…..they were right.

It’s been 5 days since the surgery and I am slowly getting back into it. I complain to my spouse about not feeling up to task and I’m told, geez, it’s only been five days. I know that I need to allow my body to heal but I also feel the giant tug of responsibility towards my readers so I have fought every step of the way. That is, until this morning…

This morning my 13 year old daughter hugged my head as I sat at my desk trying to find a comfortable position. She giggled as I twisted this way and that, grimacing and making the noises of a small hurt animal. She waited until I had given up on comfort and said, “you almost died…I think your readers would understand if you took a week off. Besides, how are you going to write anything good if between every word you are writing, ow, ow, ow…..?” I called her a smart butt and sent her off for her first day of school but then I had to admit…she’s right.

We writers really tend to push ourselves because we work for the hardest boss on the planet…ourselves. We think that the whole world is going to fall apart if we aren’t working forgetting that we are the ones actually creating that world. I have to take the time this week to heal and I would encourage any of you who get sick to do the same. Winter is coming and cold and flu season is headed our way so even if you don’t find yourself staring at a bunch of masked men and women with sharp instruments there still may be times when you will need to allow your body to heal…do it. You owe it to your writing.

 

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
 

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Desperately Seeking Inspiration? Stop it Right Now!


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So days it just won’t come…. Here I sit at my keyboard this morning and I realize that no matter how hard I try, inspiration just isn’t going to hit. I have drank an entire pot of coffee, paced between the living room and my office, played with the dog and admonished the cat for once again trying to knock over a plant and still….nothing.

Let’s face it…for the writer…there are gonna be days like this; days when you are non-motivated to put any words onto the page. A lot of writers will tell you to “force it”, make yourself sit in your chair until the words are squeezed out. I simply don’t agree with that advice, in fact, I think it is among the dumbest things you can say to a writer at all.

Inspiration is inspiration…an elusive beast that we all pray for and almost never shows up at an opportune moment. Some of us writers have been blessed with frequent visits but no matter how blessed you are, there are still times when inspiration hides and no amount of screaming “Marco” will get a Polo. My advice? Deal with it by simply walking way.

Go for a drive, a walk, donuts…something to get your brain completely away from the concept of writing. I think that there are times when we over work inspiration and he/she gets tired and needs a beer so he/she disappears for a while. It’s okay if inspiration is taking a snooze; maybe it’s a sign that you need one too.

If you force yourself to write your writing will sound forced and no one wants that. Forcing a story is a great way to offend your readers. In my experience writing is a natural act and forcing your brain to write is as unnatural as it gets. So if inspiration has left the building and is hanging out with Elvis you go find something else to do. It will return…it always does.

 

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2014 in Inspiration, Writing, Writing Tools

 

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An Honor to be Considered Reprint able & Helping a Fellow Writer


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Today I had something extraordinary happen. A young person from Vietnam wrote and asked my permission to translate some of the articles I have written here and post them on their new website to help writers in their country…I feel humbled.

I gave my permission of course because I believe that it is important that people from all walks of life have access to the information they deem important and helpful. I am always ready to help a new writer or group of writers do what it is that I love so very much. To be asked if someone can translate what I have shot out there is an amazing feeling.

Having said all of that, I want to add this….if you can help a fellow writer, do it. Writing can be a tough, lonely occupation. We see writers all the time who deal with depression and I believe that the main reason why is because of what we do. Having to live day after day with a million voices in our heads, all that emotion running to and fro…it’s enough to weigh on anyone. For me personally, having other writers to talk to helps a lot; I have writer friends as well as online groups that I can spend time with and those connections are important. They keep me sane.

It’s always funny to me that no one really questions when fellow computer geeks or office workers go out for a drink or hang out together but when it comes to writers; they look at us funny. The bottom line is that everyone needs support and we are no different. As a writer you should want to support as well as be supportive. Reach out this week and talk to a fellow writer; spend some time connecting. It’s important.

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2014 in Writing, Writing Tools

 

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