I have been known, on occasion, to dabble with growing a houseplant. And now that I’m between growing anything (I plan to again soon, with all of that free time I have) I see certain parallels between making sure something grows and blossoms, and crafting a story.
Just a couple of nights ago I found out that a former coworker of mine, Kimmy Pagnotta, is self publishing her own comic book. Which is incredible! And it also got me thinking about my own struggles with my story, The Autumn Mage.
Like growing a houseplant, writing a story isn’t difficult per se, but it does require dedication, continuing education, and giving it the best growing conditions possible. And while some days you may find yourself simply wishing it would grow itself, it can also instill a ton of pride seeing it growing from just a seed (an idea) to a mature plant (or finished book). It’s also easy to draw landscaping parallels between the two ideas. And since once upon a time I used to do a little landscaping myself, it’s easy to apply similar principals.
Trim the Dead GrowthThis one is always intimidating at first, because anyone who starts a new project has that feeling that whatever they write is perfect. It’s not. Whether you’re on your second draft or your 20th, if something isn’t advancing the story, it’s gotta go.
But it’s my favorite part of the story!
While I’m sure your creative genius is without rival, cut it. You can always recycle an idea later, but if it doesn’t help the story, it hurts it. When a plant has a dead limb, you have to hack it off with a nice, clean trim. Doing so allows new growth to take place, as well as reallocates resources allowing the plant to grow healthier. Same rule of (green) thumb applies here.
Prune the OvergrowthThis is similar to the first tip in both regards. With landscaping, trimming is more cutting off the bigger stuff that has to go, which in writing may be whole subplots, paragraphs, scenes, even characters. Pruning, on the other hand, is more of a pinpointed removal of smaller problems.
Pruning is done to plants to help aid its overall shape, like with bushes and shrubs, and to allow better growth with trees and the like. When too much growth is allowed to take place, branches and leaves can start blocking out the sun, which leads to a vicious cycle of the healthier overgrowth on top stealing away food from the rest of the plant. By cutting it away it allows the tree as a whole to grow better.
In the same vein, if your have unnecessary portions of a story, it’s only going to bore readers. It may be well written, but it only takes away from the meat and potatoes of the story. No matter how well you crafted it, taking it out will lead to a healthier body.
Feed the RootsMany amateur gardeners think that growing a plant is literally a Just Add Water!scenario. Unfortunately, like any living thing, that’s not enough. Sunlight acts as plant food, but more often than not they need a little help with fertilizer or other added nourishment.
Doing this feeds the roots, not the plant directly. Feeding the roots allows it to distribute the vitamins throughout the body, strengthening it as a whole. This is akin to having someone else edit your story. They’ll show you where you can improve, what works, and what doesn’t.
Find Your Own WayWhen you go online for tips on a subject, you’ll always find a message board where Expert 1 is arguing with Expert 2. The Internet is great for sharing information, but sometimes people confuse opinions for facts. While a little bit of the right advice goes a long way, you should also find techniques that work best for you.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for HelpEveryone starts somewhere, and everyone needs a little extra help or mentoring. Whether it be the employee working the garden center or a club or group online, it’s always a good idea to find something with helpful tips.
I am always available with writing and editing services! And if you’re working on a project and you’d like to feature it, just ask!
If you have any other writing (or gardening) tips to share, sound off in the comments below! I love hearing what works for others in their creative process.
If you enjoy my writing AND like to learn about traveling, I have good news: I’ve started doing some blog posts for Hotel Coupons and Drive the Nation. Drive the Nation is owned by Hotel Coupons, but has a different feel to it.
Hotel Coupons, as you might have figured out, is a great place to save money on travel. They do more than just find you the best price, like aggregated discount sites. They find last second deals and cancellations to make sure you get a great stay at the lowest price possible. Best of all, if you use their mobile app you can find local hotel price deals through geolocation. That means no more having to pull over on the side of the road to find the best hotel price, because your phone will do it for you.
You can find their coupons everywhere, from Denny’s, state rest areas, and even McDonald’s . They get to lowest prices so you don’t have to do the work, which makes them far more capable than Priceline or Kayak.
If you want to take a much-needed vacation and haven’t decided where, both Hotel Coupons and Drive the Nation have tips, tricks, and more about visiting major cities, as well as hidden gems all across the USA.
Most recently, I posted an article about visiting Knott’s Berry Farm and some fantastic places to see the Milky Way. I’ll be having more posts in the near future as well. You can visit my author page for Hotel Coupons and for Drive the Nation for easier access to my posts.
What’s been some of your favorite vacations? Do you like the typical tourist traps, or go off the beaten path? Let me know in the comments! And if you want me to write a guest post for your blog, just contact me!
So, unless you have absolutely no access to the Internet and no contact with any other living being, you’ve no doubt seen Pokemon GO blow up. Nintendo’s adorable pocket monsters have once again captivated the world, and I, for one, welcome our new cute overlords.
For the handful of people who don’t know, Pokemon GO is a new smartphone AR game that superimposes Pokemon onto real life Google Maps. Using the game’s classic Pokeballs with non-traditional game play has lured millions of rabid trainers outside, socialization, and actually making people healthier. Is Pokemon GO going to be a fad? Abso-freaking-lutely. Don’t get me wrong; the game is a lot of fun. But something that comes in this fast often leaves just as quickly
That said, inspiration can strike anywhere and from anything, and this week throwing imaginary balls at cartoon rodents actually taught me something about being a freelance writer and editor. In fact, it taught me 5 somethings:
Lack of Story Doesn’t Mean Lack of Quality
The Pokemon franchise has historically had very little story or plot. It’s always been “Hey, kid? Wanna Pikachu?” The game quickly gives you a rundown of the basics and then sends you on your merry way. Whether you finish the game or not is up to you. Whether you complete your Pokedex is up to you. The game really doesn’t care. They already have your money
The app has even less of a story. You have one single human character who tells you what is happening (sort of) and then the rest of the time is spent frantically spending your monthly cell data chasing after Pokemon. But just because there isn’t a story doesn’t mean it doesn’t enthrall people.
It’s okay if something you write is bare bones. People think that all writing...
As I’m trying to build up my client list for my freelance business Write Now I’m coming across a lot of confusion in regards to what editing is. At first it catches me off guard; what do you mean you don’t know what an editor is? But the more I think about it, the more I understand. So today I want to clear up some confusion.
The snarky answer is an editor edits. But the term “editor” is thrown around a lot and encompasses several different areas of editing. There’s audio editing. Sound editing (which is different from “audio editing”). Film editing. Journalistic editors. But with story/book/manuscript editing, that’s a whole different animal.
In short, all of these types of editing have similarities. They all take an original work, fiction or non, and help make it better. They remove the parts the audience doesn’t need. They improve the flow of the story, or reword it (scene or text or track list), and they make the project as a whole stronger. And just like with film or music or sound or even news articles an editor take an author’s story and makes it better.
This always puts the first-time writers into a weird situation. They either think that an editor isn’t necessary because, hey, I’m such a good writer and this book is going to be amazing! I don’t need anyone to edit for me! Or they think that they don’t need to do any editing at all, and that it’s 100% the editor’s job to do so.
First off, you do need to put your work through at least two rounds of your own editing. This does two things: finds the “dumb” mistakes (missing words, missing periods, misspellings, etc.) and allows you to see what mistakes you as a writer consistently make which helps you be more aware of them in the future.
A lot of new writers feel that writers write and editors edit. Shipping off an unedited copy of your work to an editor is going to do two things: enrage them and have them charge you more for the additional amount of work they need to do. The expectation of a good editor is that you’ve already, at minimum, proofread your piece. If they are handed a project that is nigh unreadable they are going to drop you.
So what specifically does an editor do? That’s really up to what you need and their skills. There’s three sort of “main” types of editing, although different kinds exist as well. There’s developmental editing, where the editor advises on how the story/book should be changed, often with rewrites. Line editing, which is what most people think of with editing, which is proofreading and fixing grammar, mechanical, and spelling errors. And finally copyediting reviews the project for incorrect information, consistency with word choice and hyphens, etc., and also makes sure that your characters and story are consistent chapter to chapter (did the main character have red hair in chapter 4 but now in chapter 10 has blonde hair that we never saw her dye?).
Editing is a huge undertaking and is often intimidating for the writer. You’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears (so many tears) into your story and now you’re shipping it off to an editor like it’s summer camp. That’s why when choosing an editor you need to make sure that they respect you as a writer and that they will treat your project as if it were their own.
As a writer myself I understand how important your story is to you. And when I edit, I edit as if it were my own writing. I take your story seriously and make sure it becomes as strong as possible. I am currently accepting submissions for editing stories and manuscripts. For more information please visit my site Write Now. I offer prompt quality service you can trust!
I love being a freelance writer. I truly do. There is very little I do not like about the job, and even those things are very minor annoyances at best. It is a job I enjoy doing and it’s work that I am proud of and passionate about. I honestly can’t see doing any other type of work that would make me this enthusiastic about working.
And as you’ve been expecting, there’s a “but” to that sentence: the signed written agreement. People get weird about having to sign a dated agreement. Clients act as if by signing a piece of paper that literally says “I am going to write the thing and then you’re going to pay me” that I’m somehow tricking them into purchasing a car.
The signed agreement is necessary. As a freelance writer I am my company. I am my boss. I am my employees. The work I do is in a Word document and then emailed. My works does not leave much of a paper trail and every transaction, even from those I have worked for already in the past, carry with them the small possibility of someone getting over on me.
I have not even seen the majority of my clients. 99% of my job is done via receiving an request from my website, discussing the terms over email, and then me completing the job. It’s a fast process; I would venture to say much quicker than hiring someone to perform a service at your house even. In a matter of hours I have the job done. And if I don’t have something in writing holding them responsible for payment, what’s to guarantee that I’m getting paid for my work once I hit “send”?
Over the last few years freelancing has exploded into a huge market. But many people, maybe even yourself, are still skeptical about the merits of hiring out their work to a stranger. And that it understandable; for every good freelancer experience there's a few not so great ones out there. But as a quality freelancer myself I'm going to give you some reasons why you should try my services.
Sometimes your boss just piles on too much onto your plate. You keep looking back and forth from your to-do list to the deadline reminder blinking on your phone and you break out into a cold sweat. You keep muttering how you wish there was two of you.
There can be! You can hire out some of your work, just as your company does, and meet your deadlines. You just have to make sure the person you hire is skilled, knowledgeable, and isn't happy until you're happy. Lucky for you, I am one such freelancer. Don't hire someone just because they are the cheapest; hire someone who is going to exceed your needs.
Peace of Mind
When you hire a professional it lets you rest easy knowing that the job is going to be completed on time and done right. There's no stressing about deadlines or issues with the quality; just a job well done and on time. Don't lie awake at night thinking about all the work you have to get done tomorrow; hire it out to a freelancer instead!
Better Quality Work
Maybe you've been tasked with something outside of your wheel house. Maybe you're more of a math person but your boss wants you to help write the monthly newsletter or send a professional email to a potential new client. If you aren't confident in your writing, don't sweat - hire me to write it instead! Let someone else give you the confidence to hit "send" knowing that it's going to be professional and high quality.
You Need a Second Set of Eyes
People generally don't understand the value of proofreading until someone points out several mistakes in an email that was sent out to the entire company. Or when a client asks why there are so many misspelled words in their proposal. Mistakes like this make you look less professional and educated and it will cost you clients and your reputation. Even if you're happy with what you've written, it never hurts to have someone else proofread it. Hire me today and take the guesswork out!
Hiring a quality freelance writer saves you time, stress, and money and helps improve your work. There is no better way to improve your own writing or subbing your work out than by hiring a fast professional writer to meet all your needs. I am currently accepting submissions for all writing projects.
As you know recently I’ve really been pursuing freelance writing through my company Write Now (and I love every minute of it). But looking around I feel like there’s still a lot of misconceptions about freelancing and freelancers, especially in regards to the writing field. I know it’s a little weird to read a job post where someone like myself is offering to proofread for you. The knee jerk reaction there is “it’s just looking for typos. I can do that myself”. Yes. Yes you can. But you know what? You will never see things as objectively as a second set of eyes. So today I want to tell you about four things involving the freelance process.
1) There’s a lot of competition.
It seems everyone and their brother is a freelancer nowadays. And it’s honestly refreshing; in a way it’s like the good ol’ days where everyone used a local service provider rather than a major company for everything. It keeps prices competitive and it gives you the client a better variety than hiring someone in-house and being stuck with them if they aren’t quite what you were looking for.
I recently found a client who asked if I was willing to provide a little further revision even though we’re past the due date, as well as do more work for her. I told her I would be thrilled to because I prefer to find a client that I like and keep them happy rather than hunt down a new lead. She loved my honesty and she can’t wait to send more work my way Wednesday.
2) You get what you pay for.
The downside of a bustling online freelance market is many clients want to pay the cheapest possible price. I understand that; working online there’s no travel costs. There’s no discussing things over a lunch or a cup of coffee. There are no physical inventory items being chewed up as it’s all typed out on a laptop. There are plenty of ways we cut costs doing what we do.
However, there are also a lot of freelancers from overseas who took an introductory English course and are offering to write your big academic research paper for $2. I’ve seen it time and time again where the client has already paid to have it written and then has to hire someone else like me to fix several pages worth of information. And the client is upset and angry because they are essentially paying twice to have the same paper written. Do yourself a favor, find someone professional who charges a fair price and use them. Someone like me who is a native English speaker with a Bachelor’s and lots of experience writing. You’ll save yourself a lot of headache later.
3) It’s a little intimidating at first.
You are discussing a job and pricing with a complete stranger via email. You are sending over documents/resumes/papers/manuscripts to someone you don’t even see, and I’m telling you how much it’s going to cost. Yeah, there’s a certain degree of anxiety on both sides that goes into discussing projects with potential clients.
It doesn’t have to be scary though. If you find someone who knows what they’re doing they will not only understand your needs but know approximately how long it will take to complete. I make sure both parties involved sign a dated agreement just to cover both of us. A good freelancer isn’t concerned with coming out on top, they’re concerned with developing a new business relationship.
4) Know what you want.
Nothing is more frustrating to both sides than when I give a price and begin work only to have the client tell me that they either got the project mixed up with another or the scope suddenly changed on them or they just simply felt like changing it. Prices were discussed, work was started, and now we’re both annoyed.
A good freelancer will keep his cool and roll with the punches. A good client will understand why they would need to adjust the price. Open and honest communication is key to making sure both sides get what they want.
I am now taking project submissions.
I have experience in writing academic research papers, proofreading and rewriting resumes, emails, and fliers, and rewriting training templates. I offer my services for academics, professionals, and creative writers. I am working on a novel of my own and I understand the writing and editing process. I am experienced in all three areas and I would love to write for you today!