Write to Wrap Up Your Week

on 28 August 0 Comment

I’m passionate about teaching people to write to help them take stock of their lives and to find their greater purpose beyond themselves. I’ve found that recording what has happened  in my life reveals God’s handiwork. Journaling helps me remember His goodness and clarifies my next steps, especially in these seemingly crazy times.

I’m still asking Him about how my roles as wife and professional writer and editor intersect with His larger purposes, but I do know that each time I write, I get a step closer to finding out. This process of inquiry can be just like a hiking adventure. You never know what’s around the bend until you get there.

If I haven’t journaled daily (and I haven’t this week), I at least like to ask myself a few questions, to help me record my journey. I ask myself different questions at various times, but here’s a few that I think might spark reflection. My hope is that you may be inspired to write down the answer to at least one of these questions.

What sticks out in your mind as something that you came across as inspiring this week? I saw a post with a quote that I haven’t thought about in several years, but at one point was top of mind:

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” ― Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC

If you could only remember one thing, that you want to remember about this week, what would it be?

Hands down, it was the feeling of absolute freedom I felt after I made the decision to go climb on the rocks to the waterfall. Looking up the water dripping down realizing how big God was to enable me to safely get under the tallest water fall East of the Rockies was mindboggling. The experience was metaphorical because it showed me that when I pushed myself, doing my part, God multiplies the blessings The flow went from a light showering to a heavy downpour. I believe He is going to do that in our lives.

Writing in a cafeWhat happened this week that made you smile?

  • Holding my 6-month-old granddaughter at church, thanking God of all he’s done in my life in the last three years. Who knew being single and 41 that I could be a grandma in just three years? Wow—I never would have predicted that!
  • Meeting Wes and Olivia, a sweet couple in their 70s, who inspired us to stay in shape until we are in our 90s. They, like my husband and I, met later in life. We talked with them about our love for God and creation and had a wonderful time with them on the trail. Here they are. You can read more about our encounter on my husband’s blog, Hiking With Your Honey.
  • Watching my amazing husband take care of me as I have been sick—I thank God for him.

What took place that made you cry?

Being too sick to see my friends who are visiting from out of town, and not being able to keep up with regular exercise.

What work projects did you make progress on?

I finished editing two books, recorded an online class, wrote 6 blog posts and finished interviews for a writing deadline next week.

Were you able to reach out with notes to people you love like you promised yourself (and others) that you would do at the end of last week?

I invited six friends to get together, sent several text messages and notes.

Did you learn something new this week?

I refreshed my skills on Adobe Pro to use it for editing, and I practiced recording a class, speaking with more enthusiasm.

It’s your turn now. Happy recording! 

If I can help you process your thought to write a blog, article or book, I’d love to talk with you. If you have written something, and if you would like to have an objective content evaluation, please feel free to contact me.

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Why Writing Can Be Like Scrounging In Your Pantry

on 14 August 0 Comment

You’re depleted. Your resources are spent. Your low on time, energy, money, creativity. And yet, you have a deadline. Or a promise to yourself. What do you do?

You scrounge.

I’m scrounging today. I didn’t have the umph in me to do my planned blog topic—I’m fighting a cold or bug of some sort, and am slightly miserable.

I’m also scrounging for food in my pantry. Going to the grocery store just isn’t happening for another day or two. I’ve had soup the last two nights for dinner—you know, the soup you buy to stock your pantry but aren’t really going to use unless there is an emergency.

Well, Lord, protect us from a real emergency because I have dipped into my food reserves.

My husband loves scrounging, because it helps our food budget, and leaves more cashola for our hiking adventures together. You can read about the fun we have seeing various wonderlands at hikingwithyourhoney.com.

Sometimes, food scrounging produces really good results. My husband marvels at the creations I come up with sometimes…last week it was gluten-free pasta with tuna, pesto and cheese.

But the important thing is that scrounging produces results. You now have something to eat. When you sit down to write—even when it seems like you have nothing—something still comes out. Now you have a piece of writing.

So if you need to “scrounge around” to write, how about asking yourself a few questions:

  1. What have you been doing for the last hour—and are there any lessons you can glean from it that apply to what you are writing about? (That question was the source of inspiration for this blog).
  2. What momento in your house reminds you of happy memories? Tell a story about it and include universal, relatable human emotions.
  3. What activity makes you feel really alive? Why does the activity make you feel that way?
  4. What product or service are you consistently telling your friends about? Why do you share about it? What does using it make you feel like? Can you draw any parallels to your writing topic?

If none of these questions tickle your fancy, Google potential writing topics or writing prompts. You’ll find hundreds of ideas, from upcoming holidays, to current issues, to travel locations, to leadership and so much more. So, maybe it’s time you do a little “scrounging” of your own.

If you would like to skip the scrounging and let someone else brainstorm with you and give you concrete ideas for a writing project, please contact me. I’d love to help you.

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The Various Types of Editing

on 10 August 0 Comment

I would venture to guess, based on my relatively small sample size of conversations I’ve had in nearly 20 years since I first took editing classes in graduate school, that, unless you have ever worked in the field of editing, you may surmise that an editor is merely a grammar geek and a spelling nazi.

You would be right that an editor possesses those traits, but saying that grammar and spelling is all an editor does would be akin to saying that a general medicine doctor only has understanding of the skin, rather than the whole body.

You have choices in the field of editing, just like you do in the medical field. You can choose an editor who does everything, like a holistic practitioner; or, you can choose a specialist. And, sometimes after you get a general assessment, you may be referred to a specialist.

So what types of editors are there and when do you need which one? I’ll try to summarize that here.

 First, there is a content editor. Like a holistic practitioner, this editor looks at your document in its entirety, evaluating if your content is relevant and in the right voice for your target audience. A content editor assesses your table contents, chapter names, and the flow of the book. A content editor also identifies potential questions and points out extraneous information that interferes with clarity. This content editing process is also referred to as substantive editing in the traditional publishing world. Many content editors are general content editors, but there are also two other types of content editors as well.

 A technical editor is also a content editor, but more specialized.  If the material is highly technical and intended for a technical audience/teacher of that technical field, then a technical editor is a good choice. If however, you want your technical product to be understood by a nontechnical person, a general content editor may be a better bridge and representative of your audience.

An expert/industry editor is also a content editor, just in a certain academic field or industry. If an industry is also technical, like medicine, an industry/expert editor can also be a technical editor. Sometimes it is wise to choose an editor with expertise in the subject matter you are presenting. If you are publishing in an academic journal, or if you are on a really tight deadline and your readers will also be experts or within your industry, you may need to choose an editor in the field of expertise. The danger here though, is that if you are looking to explain matters to someone outside the field, that audience may be better served by a general content editor who is expressly checking to see if someone without the expertise can understand it.

Tonight, for example, I had the opportunity to get an editing job that was far outside my expertise—that opportunity was actually the source of inspiration for this post. I realized that I would have had to study extensively to understand the material on a tight deadline. It was better for my client to go with another editor, who had expertise in the subject matter in this instance.

 Sometimes, it also serves authors well to have different types of content editors. You just need to determine which person will take the lead.

A copyeditor comes in after content editing is finished. After the author or editor has helped write the missing pieces and the author agrees to the cuts that are made, a copyeditor goes through the material to check transitions, sentence structure, word choice, subject clarity, verb strength and much more to make the work as concise and as clear as possible on the sentence level. So, in our doctor analogy, this editor is the specialist who looks over each part carefully.

A proofreader finalizes the work prior to publication. After a copyeditor checks to make sure the sentence structure is correct and that the text flows from one sentence to the next, a proofreader checks for grammar, spelling and style.

Can one person do all these processes? Absolutely. Can one person do all these processes at one time during one read?. No. But that is a topic for a different post.

 

 

 

 

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Write to Process Information

on 07 August 0 Comment

Do you have an important decision coming up like a job change, house purchase or college selection? Writing can be an effective way to evaluate and sort out information.

What’s a great way to start? That’s easy-peasy! A pro and con list!

As you write, you may also find that you:

  • Identify how you feel as you write the words.
  • Get in touch with your instincts.
  • Debunk a false perception about a situation, because the outcome of a situation may seem better or worse than you initially thought when you write everything out.
  • Confirm that your first impressions are accurate.
  • See additional benefits or challenges of a potential action than you might have initially considered.
  • Determine if there is a “middle ground” or intermediary step that might be better than either of the options you may be considering.

Sometimes, writing leads you in a completely different direction that the one you started on. Your path can seem tangential, or make you ask yourself, “Where did that come from?” In the end, though, those detours can end up being valuable information when you ask a follow-up question: “How does this idea relate to what I am considering?”

People who write consistently will tell you that this shift in direction happens all of the time.

For example, on Sunday, we heard a pastor at church share that as he prepared for his sermon, he knew that he wanted to talk about Jacob, one of the biblical patriarchs, but he didn’t know why or how that topic would fit into the theme of the sermon series.

He wrote down every idea that came to him. Three times. On the third try, he saw the connection he was looking for. The result was a powerful message that fit like a glove into the theme of the sermon series. Like this pastor story teaches us, writing helps us process information by finding the missing connections in what we are looking to share.

For me, faith is paramount to my life. Writing my thoughts helps me see if they are in line with Scripture. I also check for repetitive themes and words as guideposts in decision making.

I’ll often write about something for a designated times period—say a couple of days or a week. It really depends on the magnitude of the decision. As I journal, I see how answers to different questions may point to a similar answer.

In addition to looking to God’s Word, I also share my processing writing with my husband. He gives me additional insights or asks questions that I may not have yet answered. As I discuss situations with him and others like trusted mentors, friends and colleagues, I record their thoughts as well.

What about you? Have you discovered that writing helps you to process information or make a decision? If so, please let me know with a comment.

If you are a writer or if you have a story you would like to get out, let me help you take an idea to a blog, article or book. If you have already drafted something an are looking for content evaluation, I’d love to help you. Please feel free to contact me.

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Why Write? Here Are 11 Reasons to Get Started

on 31 July 0 Comment

“I can’t write…or I’m not a writer.” I hear those declarations all the time when I tell people that I’m a freelance writer and editor.

I’m sorry, but those statements just aren’t true—in fact, they are lies.

You learned to write early on in life—in kindergarten if not earlier.

But a legitimate objection that I’m more sympathetic to is “I’m not sure that writing is a wise investment of my time.”

So, why write if you don’t have aspirations to be a professional writer?

I’ll give my best stab at answering that question in a new blog series that explains the benefits of writing for everyday life. The list below is a bird’s eye view at each reason. Subsequent days will clarify each reason in more detail—and I’ll likely find some more reasons along the way.

 Without further ado, here are 11 reasons to write for everyday life:

Write to process—in my view nothing helps gets the myriad thoughts out of our brains into a sortable pile of ideas to process and act on as well as writing does.

Write to heal—if you are hurt over an offense, nothing starts the healing process better than just writing down why you are mad or heartbroken.

Write to generate ideas—This one seems simple, because most of us have been in a brainstorming session as part of a work or classroom project. And brainstorming is certainly more effective if you can view the ideas.

Write to create momentum—I’m sure that you have noticed that if you just start something, other action follows. This phenomenon definitely happens when you write. You don’t know what might happen. It’s like falling dominoes. Until wind comes or you knock one over, they all stay in the same place.

Write to communicate—This is obvious, but worth stating. How many times have you been at a loss for words, but later when you are not under the stress of a moment, what you wanted to say to comes to you?

Write to alleviate tension—Related to the last point, if you have had a heated verbal moment with someone, writing out your thoughts and later editing them can help you put an emotional situation into perspective.

Write to manage—Writing down everything that I have to do really helps me not only to organize, but as a manager, it helped me organize how everyone’s role fit together.

Write to clarify—Sometimes, as a manager, if you give verbal suggestions or ideas, following up with something in writing can help you clarify what you said. It helps you reiterate what you said in another way to ensure the most effective communication can occur between you and the receiving person.

Write to garner a response—If you threw out an idea verbally, whether it’s a get-together idea, a potential project or something else, people may not be able to answer on the spot because of needing to run the idea by others or checking schedules.  If you write something and you very clearly and consistently say, “Please let me know by X date or time, if you don’t mind,” then many people will honor that request—whatever the answer.

Write to remember—It’s amazing how quickly we forget an idea, a feeling, a special moment, a conversation or an experience. Writing can produce a permanent record of your life. When I look back and read my journals, I’m amazed at how much I have forgotten. It’s so interesting to see how far you have come, or how themes seem to repeat themselves. As a Christian, I believe God is speaking into my life, guiding my steps. And I marvel at what He says. But, that is the topic of another blog series.

Write to help others—Your experiences will inspire or equip others who may walk a similar path to yours at a later time. People who have gone before us have taught you along the way—why not pass on your lessons?

If you love to write, do you have other reasons to add? If you have a story to share or if you feel compelled to write, but don’t know how or where to start, feel free to contact me. I’d love to help!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Write? Write to Go on a Journey

on 24 July 0 Comment

My husband and I spend much of our time on weekends hiking. When we were hiking over the last few days, I was struck at how writing is like hiking. Here are some thoughts.

You start out with an idea—knowing you want to have a new experience. So you choose to go on a hike to explore. You pick a hiking location—that’s like picking your topic. You may have chosen the hiking location based on features you want to see, like a waterfall, majestic mountain or cave. Similarly, you pick your writing topic to further explore that topic. You may do research, or just pull together ideas from your experience or from thoughts swirling in your mind.

You have done some planning—like selecting your gear for a hike, with proper shoes, rain gear, a hiking stick, or for me, in summer, a cool cap (a bandana that is especially made to keep you cool). In writing, you may have outlined to plan what you write.

Sometimes, however, you don’t plan—spontenaity finds you. You are driving along on the way to do something else and see a sign that compels you to stop and take a look. Sometimes the surprises and delights that are unplanned make the most amazing memories.

This spontaneity also happens when you write—and sometimes with great success. One of the most read blog posts I have ever written came out spontaneously in about 20 minutes with no planning. I had just been praying about the turmoil in the world and the words from my heart gushed out in Write Notes to Those You Love. And Send Them.

Or, your planning process forgets a key component. In my case, on our hiking adventures one weekend, I didn’t bring a swimsuit—and I ended up drenched from head to toe in all my gear. Why? Because I couldn’t pass up exploring close to a waterfall and fully experiencing it just because of a challenge or shortcoming. It made it more difficult to hike out, and because I was wet for so long today I am a bit under the weather, but the exhilaration of letting the water drip on me and me looking up at the highest waterfall West of the Rockies was well worth it. (You can read more about this adventure on my husband’s blog, Hiking With Your Honey. 

In the writing realm, don’t prevent the text from flowing just because it wasn’t planned or you weren’t prepared to go there. Sure, you might end up cutting it. Sometimes, however, what flows will shape an entire piece—and change your title. If you do end up editing out of your current piece, it isn’t wasted. Just save it in another document and finish that piece of writing at another time.

Regardless of how much you plan, you never know what’s going to happen until you start—and continue. You don’t know what you are going to see until you step on the trail. As you wind around a wooded trail, you can sometimes only see a few feet in front of you. Every turn and step yields a new view. Similarly, in writing, you don’t know where your text might take you. Some of the ideas that you think are important may turn out to be less important, and some of the ones that you thought were supporting ideas may turn out to be the focus of your piece.

In hiking, you never know what details you will see, nor do you know what a new trail will look like. Many times, the same trails look completely different as the seasons change. Likewise, your writing interests and styles may change.

All of the twists and turns of writing—as in hiking—are all part of an amazing journey. Embrace it!

Are you looking for help along the journey? I’d love to help you with content planning, cowriting, content evaluation, copyediting, promotional writing or other editorial projects. Feel free to contact me!

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