Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Reread your last paragraph.

Every time you take a little break from your writing, even a toileting break, when you sit down again, reread what you had just written (at least the last paragraph).  If there are any obvious, glaring errors that you can’t resist the urge to edit, then do so, but don’t dwell on them. Rereading your work during initial drafting is not for editing purposes, but rather to help you get back into the train of thought so you can carry on writing.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Give yourself permission to not write occasionally.

There are days when we fell so run down that we can hardly focus. There are days when our minds keep drifting to the latest episode of our favorite TV show. Sometimes we want to curl up in a nice, warm blanket and just read. That’s okay. Just because you didn’t write doesn’t mean that you weren’t working on your stories. Sometimes, you need to do something else while your brain mulls around with the pieces, trying to make up the puzzle. Give yourself permission to not write occasionally. Remember that just because you’re not typing new words into that computer file doesn’t mean that you’re not writing. Inspiration can strike in odd ways.
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Words Can Cut Like Knives

As writers, we carefully craft our sentences to use the perfect word to say what is it that we want to say, creating the exact image in a reader’s mind. There are times when writers have been known to spend days to find those perfect words. Yet, there is one aspect of our writing lives where many writers don’t take the same care with words as they do their stories.

I’m talking about the posts that writers put on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. The rush to get the post out there can sometimes land us in situations where the words cut like knifes.

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Know the legal requirements for email lists

Many writers are now using email lists. It’s a great way to spread the word about your work, simply because you get into the inbox of your fans. However, there are legal requirements involved with using an email list. In the US, you have CAN-SPAM. In Canada, you have CASL. In Australia, you have the Spam Act of 2003. You are subject to the laws in your home country, hence, you need to ensure that you know exactly what your legal requirements are.

But don’t panic. You don’t need to be able to read legalese. There are many out there who have made it easy for you. Personally, I like the infographic from Bettina Specht. It breaks down all the sticky bits of the law into the different countries, including fines and what information MUST be disclosed in each email. Take a look at it. You might be in for a bit of a surprise.

Protect yourself.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Join a critiquing site.

Not everyone can find local writers who are willing to critique their work for a variety of different reasons. Some struggle to get critiques back within a timely fashion. One possible solution is to join a critiquing site such as Scribophile or Critique Circle. Both sites have literally thousands of writers on the sites, all willing to look at different manuscripts at the various stages of development. Critiques will range from extremely helpful to the vague, depending on the skill of the critiquer, but when you are in desperate need of feedback of that scene not working, this is just one option.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: If you don’t want a blog, then don’t have one.

There are many out there who believe that they should have a blog because they are a writer seeking to be published. When used correctly, blogging can be a wonderful marketing tool; however, readers don’t want to read something on a blog that you halfheartedly put together. You should never blog just because others told you that you should. The only thing that will achieve is a sense of resentment and failure when you don’t meet your blogging objective. If you are blogging because you feel you need to as a writer, then you should really do some homework. There are plenty of successful writers out there who don’t have blogs, and there are plenty of nameless writers who have been blogging for years and still haven’t gotten anywhere.

Don’t blog because you think you have to; blog because you want to.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Other eyes are necessary when editing, but not family.

There is only so much editing that a writer can do without seeking the opinions of others. Eventually, you will need to share your writing, but not with your family. Let’s face it, your family wants to support you, but unless they’re writers themselves, they’ll never understand. Instead, they’ll lie, tell you that your manuscript is perfect. They won’t be able to give you the help you really need. Critique partners NEED to be other writers, people not afraid to tell you that your writing is not working and potentially help you edit that rough draft into a masterpiece.
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How important really is grammar?

When I tell people that I’m a freelance editor (including other writers), they instantly assume that I’m a copyeditor, with a keen interest in working on the grammar and punctuation of my clients. I’m not surprised that writers often jump to that conclusion. Majority of editors that I encounter actually ARE copyeditors. However, what is the point behind looking at the appropriateness of a given word in a sentence when on page 152 the bad guys are setting up the bomb that will level the city, and the good guys find the bomb and disarm it by the end of page 154.

This may sound incredibly odd coming from a professional editor, but in all honesty, grammar takes a backseat to story and character.

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: There is no such thing as a perfect website.

Get used to the idea now. Just like your writing, not everyone is going to be happy with your website. There will always be those who find something to nit-pick about. If you try to create the perfect website, you’ll go insane. Accept it and move on.

That being said, do get another set of eyes to look at your website before you unleash it to the world. You may have chosen colors or fonts that you adore, but other might find the combination obtrusive and jarring. Some elements might disappear into the background, making them hard to read. You won’t know the truth about your chosen website design until you get feedback from others that you trust.
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