Category Archives: Editor

Guest Post: 4 Top Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Writing by @BadRedheadMedia


Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Annie Spratt

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Annie Spratt

If you are a nonfiction or memoir author, one of the issues I hear from multiple authors (and experienced myself) is giving ourselves permission to write the hard stuff. Many people will never put pen to paper because sharing the intimate details of their lives or a particular experience is simply too terrifying a thought.

I’m here to tell you how to overcome that fear and start writing.

Let’s deconstruct.

Fear

What are you so afraid of? Most writers are terrified of sharing the truth of their experiences, for a myriad of reasons:

  • What will my family and friends think?
  • Will people judge me?
  • Will anyone believe me?
  • Will I lose my job?

And these are all valid. However, keep in mind that you can still write about your experiences and nobody has to see them. Just start writing. Get the words out. Journal, write a letter, share your story on your blog or as a guest post anonymously, whatever – just get it out of your head and down on paper. Nobody is watching you or hovering over your shoulder. Take those fears, lock them in a drawer, and put away the key. They’ll be there waiting when you’re done.

Vulnerability works in your favor when writing memoir and nonfiction.

An author told me the other day that she could write for weeks nonstop if she could just get over that fear of someone reading it, so keep this in mind: nobody has to read your journal or first draft. Do what I call the “word vomit” and simply release your mind dump. It’s so incredibly freeing. I’m giving you permission right now.

You’re an adult, and you are allowed to write like one. Own your story…which leads me to my next point…

Feel It

If, at some point, you take that word vomit and decide you do want to create a book out of it, the only way you’ll be able to connect with your readers is to dig deep into what you’re feeling as you write it. Harness your raw emotion. If you don’t feel it as you write it, we won’t feel it as we read it.

As I counsel my author clients (and remind myself): write what scares you.

Here’s my biggest tip as you write your initial first draft: do not self-edit. Those stories have been circulating inside you for years, waiting patiently for you to bring them out. Honor them and let them have their say.

write-what-scares-you-rachel-attribution

Structure

Real-life experiences (in my case, I write about surviving childhood sexual abuse and the after-effects) can be brutal, joyful, horrifying, and thought-provoking – often a combination of them all. Give your writing some kind of structure after your initial draft.

Once you allow yourself to write out your experiences, some kind of structure will usually emerge. Note: working with a professional editor helps immensely at this point.

In my own case, in writing my first Broken book, Broken Pieces, I discovered that surviving abuse isn’t a linear, chronological process. My editor and I decided that the best way to present the book was in pieces (as referenced in the title), so the reader would feel the same kind of frustrations and sense of discord I felt as I experienced it.

In the second book, Broken Places, I found my work centered more around mind, body, and soul, so that’s how we structured the book. I didn’t discover that until after I had written most of the book and released everything I felt. The lesson here: trust the process.

If you simply cannot move forward without a full structure, that’s okay, too. Everyone works differently. Nonfiction and memoir tend to be a more internalized process, so my advice here is to not hold back, whichever way you go.

Trust

Trust your voice. It may sound cliché, but the truth of it is, many people will give you feedback on your work but ultimately, it’s your name that goes on the cover of that book. It’s your work.

That said, I do believe it’s critically important to work with a professional editor (like Wendy, who’s awesome), or someone else who does this for a living; not Aunt Edna who used to teach English back in the day. Ask people to beta-read for you. Send out ARCs. Send your work to trusted critique partners.

Why is this important? Because readers, book bloggers, and book reviewers will buy, read, review your work, and leave reviews. You don’t want any surprises. Sure, not everyone will love your work and that’s okay, too – that’s their right.

Keep in mind, once your book is out there, you’re no longer invited to the party. Don’t take it personally – publishing is a business. Be professional and keep on writing.

 

The only thing stopping you from writing is some unknown, nebulous fear and it’s up to you to wrangle it. Remember, nobody will see what you are writing unless you allow it, but even you can’t see what you’re writing unless you start.

So, go.

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Rachel-Thompson1Rachel Thompson is represented by literary agent Lisa Hagan, and is published by ShadowTeamsNYC.

She is the author of the award-winning, bestselling Broken Places (one of IndieReader’s “Best of 2015” top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in both the Los Angeles and the San Francisco Book Festivals), and the bestselling, multi award-winning Broken Pieces (as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed).

Rachel’s work is also featured in several anthologies (see Books for details).

She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), Feminine Collective, IndieReader.com, 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly,

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and the live weekly Twitter chats, #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish (Tuesdays, 6pm PST/9pm EST), and #BookMarketingChat, co-hosted with author assistant Melissa Flickinger (Wednesdays, 6pm PST/9pm EST).

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Author Contact Information:

Author Site: rachelintheoc.com
BadRedhead Media Site: badredheadmedia.com
Twitter: @RachelintheOC
Twitter (Business):
@BadRedheadMedia
SexAbuseChat:
@SexAbuseChat
BookMarketingChat: @BkMarketingChat
MondayBlogs: @MondayBlogs 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRachelThompson
Facebook (Business): https://www.facebook.com/BadRedheadMedia
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+RachelThompson/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/rachelintheoc/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/rachelintheoc/
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/rachel-thompson/24/784/b95
Goodreads
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4619475.Rachel_Thompson
Author Newsletter: 
http://eepurl.com/j9oaH
BadRedhead Media Newsletter: 
http://eepurl.com/koN8r
Full-size Author Photo Link: http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o158/Froze8/RachelThompson_

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Filed under Editor, Emotion, Guest Post, Life, Memoir, Nonfiction, Real Life, Writing, Writing Tips

More Practical Tips from a Grammar Goddess


In the past I’ve referred to myself as “Grammar Nazi” and “Grammar Police,” but I much prefer a recent moniker given to me by one of my talented authors: “guru goddess of editing and formatting,” which I’ve shortened to Grammar Goddess. This title implies benevolence and forgiveness, so it suits me quite well. (Stop laughing.)  And it flows off the tongue better than the other terms. Now I just need to create a logo. 😉

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s continue my “Mind You’re Grammar” series. Part I is HERE and Part II (Deux) is HERE. And HERE is a related post about why you shouldn’t be the only editor of your own work. If you haven’t read them already, go ahead and do so. I’ll wait for you to catch up.

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By Amador Loureiro

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Amador Loureiro

 

All finished? Ready for the next lesson? Here we go then.

  • “They both” and “We both.” When there are two people in a scene and both are doing the same thing, there’s no need to say “they both” or “we both.” There are only two people. The “both” is implied by “they/we.” Like so: “We decided to go to the movies.” Instead of: “We both decided to go to the movies.” You can USE “both” in this case, but it’s redundant, and if I’m your editor, I’m going to edit out that word. Just so you know.
  • “With his hands raised in the air…” Yes…of course…”raised” implies they’re in the air. If he’s going to hold his hands straight in front of him, you would say “With his hands held in front of him, palms facing me…” or some such. Or if his hands were hanging down by his sides, you would say, “His hands were relaxed, his arms hanging at his sides.” See the difference?
  • Awe vs Awww. I see this SO often, my fingers literally itch to edit…even Facebook posts, which is where I see it most often. Since the “e” is silent in any case, I understand how it can be confusing. That’s why I’m talking about it. 🙂 Awe is an expression of reverence. Aw (followed by how ever many ws you want to add (Awwwww) is used to express disgust or disbelief, sentiment or approval.
  • Flea vs flee. I know they sound the same and there’s only one letter difference, so it can be tricky, but a “Flee Market” is so much different than a “Flea Market.” The latter is where you purchase new and gently used goods that other people want to get rid of. The former is a market that I imagine only law enforcement would be interested in attending. (I don’t know why it’s referred to as a “flea” market, since, as far as I know, no one has ever tried to sell actual fleas at a market before.)affect
  • Affect vs Effect. Sneaky words. Only one letter different, but it can make or break the meaning of a sentence. Affect is a verb. Effect is a noun. Like so: “Together, we can affect the world.” And: “The law goes into effect at midnight.” And because the English language just CAN’T be that simple to understand, there are exceptions for both words. Affect can be a noun: “The suspect displayed no affect when confronted with his victims’ accusations.” And effect, when used with an object, can be a verb (this is usually political terminology): “We will effect those changes next week.”

Got all that? Are there any words and/or phrases you have difficulty with in your writing? Feel free to ask questions or leave comments. 🙂

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Filed under Editor, Literary, Literature, Proofreader, Writing

Being Thankful Isn’t Just for the Holiday Season


Photo source: Unsplash.com/Chelsea Francis

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Chelsea Francis

We’re now fully involved in the holiday season. Thanksgiving was a few weeks ago, and Hanukkah recently past. So I thought it would be a good time to list the things for which I’m thankful.

All too often we talk about what’s wrong with the world, because, let’s face it, most of us believe we have ideas to make the world a better place. And so many of those ideas are REALLY good ones. And sometimes, we even have the opportunity to implement those ideas and the world DOES become just a little better.

And you know what? That’s one of the things for which I’m thankful – the great ideas that make our world a better place in which to live. Things like feeding the poor. Whether it be domestic food banks that operate on a consistent basis, or charitable foundations that raise money to feed our fellows in third-world countries. All are equally worthy of our gratitude and support. You never know when you’ll be one of those people in need of such a service.

I’m thankful for The Salvation Army bell-ringers who appear during this time of year dressed as Santa and his Elves, urging us to be more charitable than usual during the “season of giving.” Without The Salvation Army and those bell-ringers who give of their time to raise money for the destitute, there would probably be MORE people in need during this time of year.

I’m thankful for my job. Working for the government – at any level – can be a chancy thing. Politics and all that. But despite the often prickly politics one must be wary of and learn to navigate with care and agility, I enjoy the challenges and benefits of civil service. The government is the best employer I’ve ever had, bar none. It’s much more secure than the private sector, and turnover is less of an issue. For instance, I’ve been working for this particular government agency for more than a decade. Longer than any other previous employer. We’ve had our differences of opinion and I’ve butted heads with a few people, but overall, I’m very thankful to be working at my agency.

The Garfinkles: Hayden (my kiddo), Heather (SIL), Bill (dad) holding Haleigh (niece), Pam (mom); Kevin ("baby" brother), Asher (nephew), Steven (oldest younger brother), Me.

The Garfinkles, 2015: Hayden (my kiddo), Heather (SIL), Bill (dad) holding Haleigh (niece), Pam (mom); Kevin (“baby” brother), Asher (nephew), Steven (oldest younger brother), Me.

My family has been one of my biggest blessings. I’m so fortunate to have supportive, loving parents, and brothers with whom I (usually) get along. Then there’s my lovely, vertically-challenged, hyper-energetic sister-in-law (who often makes me tired just looking at her) – my baby brother’s wife – and their 2 children. My nephew and niece are stinking adorable and I love to spoil them.

My son is a blessing…when he’s not being a brat. He’ll be 15 next month (!!!!). He’s in that awkward stage between childhood and manhood, without the steady, loving guidance of a father. I try to be both mother and father, but am aware that I often fall short. He lives with ADHD and Asperger’s and his mother suffers anxiety and depression and para-menopause, both with strong-willed personalities, so we tend to butt heads a lot. What a pair we are! I pray we survive his teenage years and my para-menopause-ism with our sanity (relatively) intact. And you know what? Based on the moments of brilliance and maturity he sometimes displays, my kiddo is going to be awesome some day. 🙂

Almost 10 years ago, I went under the knife – for my eyes. Lasik ROCKS! I’m thankful that my resulting 20/15 vision still holds up. Lasik surgery is guaranteed for 10 years; 2 months away from my 10th anniversary of this procedure, my eyes are still going strong. Hopefully they’ll continue that way for another 10 years. (Fingers and toes crossed!) Don’t know if I’ll be able to afford this surgery again any time soon…even with the help of insurance. Of course, reading glasses would probably look kinda sexy on me right about now. 😉

This is Gravity.

I’m so blessed to be an integral member of Gravity Imprint, and Booktrope as a whole. I joined Booktrope as an author in 2013, and have never regretted that decision. Since 2014, when I began taking on proofing and editing projects at Booktrope, I’ve honed my editing skills even more and met some fabulous people who I’m honored to call friends. Almost a year ago now, I was offered the opportunity to be an editor/proofreader for the new Gravity Imprint. I accepted, and wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. We’re a close-knit, supportive group, directed by the inimitable Rachel Thompson. (I’ve always wanted to use that word in a sentence.) 😉

As much as I have to be thankful for during the holiday season – when there’s actually a little bit of breathing room to stop and count one’s blessings – these are gifts that truly do keep on giving all year long.

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Filed under ADHD, Anxiety, Blogging, Booktrope, Editor, Family, Gravity Imprint, Life, Proofreader, Thankful, Writing