My thoughts on writing tips found online and in published works (with some random thoughts thrown into the mix).

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Editing - The Hard Part

I have been a very lucky person, in that editing has always come rather easily to me. I had a proficiency for spelling in elementary school, to the point that my second grade teacher let me come up with my own list because the regular list was too easy. My mom would have me correct her letters and other written notes constantly and got annoyed when I would correct her grammar while we talked. I always had a passion for English classes throughout high school and, when I went to college, my original major was Secondary English Education. While I ended up changing my major quite a few times, adding another major and then dropping both, I always had English as the core focus. I finally settled on being a Creative Writing major, which allowed me to learn even more about editing and to really perfect my technique.

Now, Creative Writing majors usually want to be the writers. They want to make their own work, sell it, and get their own words out there in the hands of others. I never really had this dream. I played with it for a bit, but I never really was dedicated to this idea. Somehow, my head always knew that editing was my real destiny. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy writing my own work, but it's only a side hobby that I delve into occasionally, with no real intent on taking it further than my own notebook. Instead, I live for taking apart the work of others, of strengthening it, sometimes cutting it to pieces, and making it the best it could possibly be. I proofread and give structural pointers, but my most important job is to make sure that the reader can really connect with what they are reading.

With the level of excitement and joy I get from doing this, you would think I would be eager to do it all the time. However, I am like a lot of people, in that it's difficult for me to actually sit down and do the work. I think about it and my mind exaggerates how much work it is. I have to force myself to pick up the manuscript and a pen and get down to it. Once I get started, I am in love with it, but the initial "getting down to business" phase is hard.

After thinking about this recently, I have decided to ask if anyone else out there has this problem. Writers, does it take a lot of discipline to sit down to a blank page every day? Artists, do you beat around the bush before finally picking up your instrument of choice? If you do have a similar problem, how do you defeat it?

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I will admit it: I am addicted to blog subscriptions! I love receiving new posts in my email inbox and getting to read all my favorite bloggers' thoughts in one place. And it's so convenient! It also helps me with my own blog, because I can tag posts that I find inspiring or though-provoking and I can help promote other writers that I feel deserve some extra attention. It also clues me in to some trends that might help develop my own blog too.

For example, I have noticed that some blogs have themes beyond a general one (such as writing, editing, or a specific genre). They will have "Wacky Wednesdays" or "Week-In-Headlines Fridays". I sometimes consider doing this myself, but I can never figure out what I want to do. I don't want to copy someone else. I also can't post every day, my full-time job and my editing job keep me busy enough! But I think it would be interesting to change it up every once in awhile and do something like that.

Does anyone have any ideas to help me out?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bike Riding

This past weekend, I finally retrieved my bicycle from the basement of my parent's house. On Monday, I took it out to the local state park to ride on the 7-mile long paved trail. That first day, I went 2 miles, took a 10 minute break, then rode the 2 miles back to my car. Today, I went back out again. This time, I went 3.5 miles, took a 5 minute break, then rode back to my car for a total of 7 miles. I was amazed that it took less than an hour to ride 7 miles, including some nasty hills! I've been walking this trail for the entire summer, so I am used to a 4-mile trek taking a little less than 2 hours.

I now wonder why I didn't do this sooner. It's so relaxing to feel the wind against my face and the strain of my muscles as I pedal hard. I can feel the stress just sliding away and then disappearing, as if it never existed.  The sun felt so good on my skin! On that trail, I could imagine summer lasting forever.

Unfortunately, that's not true: summer isn't going to last forever. In fact, it's already over. It's autumn now, nearing the end of September and October is approaching fast. By the end of October, if previous years can be used as a reference point, we will have snowfall and below-freezing temperatures. My bike will have to be put away until spring and I'll be stuck inside at the gym instead of outside at the state park. (Not least of all because that trail is used for snowmobiles during winter).

For now, though, I am enjoying every moment I get to take a ride. I'm soaking up the nice weather and pumping the pedals as fast as I can. In my mind, fall is stretching on into the distance and I'm gonna make the best of it!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I'm Back!

Hello everyone! After over a month and a half of having no Internet service at my apartment, I am finally back online. It was an interesting journey, to say the least.

First, my downstairs neighbor (each apartment is one story of a house) moved out on August 1st. We had shared her wireless, which wasn't supposed to get shut off until the 15th. Needless to say, it got cut off early, and we were suddenly without access to the Internet two weeks before we had expected. It took a couple days for my fiance to decide what level we could afford and to buy our own router.
Next, I called to set up the appointment. Much to my surprise, they had an appointment available in a week, which meant we would be hooked up within the first two weeks of August. However, when the technician arrived, we found out we needed access to the basement. I called Mrs. Landlord, only to find out that Mr. Landlord had the keys and he was over an hour away. Reschedule #1!
Skip forward two weeks to the next appointment (at this point, we have been without Internet for a month). Mrs. Landlord shows up with the keys to the basement and all is fine and dandy. Until the technician decides he needs access to the attic too, which is locked. Mrs. and Mr. Landlord have no idea where the key is. Reschedule #2!
Skip forward another two weeks, to September 11th (no Internet for 6 weeks). Mr. Landlord unlocked the attic the day before and Mrs. Landlord shows up with the keys to the basement. Finally, everything goes as planned and we are readmitted into the digital world. Third time is a charm, I guess!

I have been online periodically by using the WiFi at the McDonald's in Walmart after work and by taking my laptop over to a friend's house, but those visits only lasted long enough to do the essentials (checking email and paying bills). Now, I am glad to be able to access the Internet whenever I please and to be able to recommit myself to this blog and for encouraging submissions of popular fiction for Grit City Publications. While I never stopped editing for GCP, I wasn't able to communicate with authors, which I missed a lot. I always enjoy chatting with writers, illustrators, and other editors, so please feel free to reach out and get in touch! I'm excited to jump back into the world of genre fiction and produce more awesome works that are perfect for your to-work commute, sitting on the lawn between classes, or relaxing before bed. Hello again!