Kick Your Negative Self-Talk to the Curb with the 10-Day Girly Thoughts Detox Plan

GirlyThoughtsDetoxCover-2Generally speaking, we women aren’t very nice to ourselves. Almost from our first days, we begin to internalize messages that we aren’t good enough—we are too much of some things and not enough of others. Those messages become such a part of who we are that we don’t even realize how ridiculous some of them sound.

Do any of these statements sound familiar?

  • I just need to lose five more pounds.
  • Age might be just a number, but I’m giving myself Botox treatments for my birthday.
  • Isn’t my five-year-old daughter adorable when she pretends she’s sexy?
  • I don’t need to worry about saving for my future—I’ll be married by then.
  • It’s my fault my husband had that affair.
  • I can’t take that meeting; my hair looks awful today.
  • I hate going out with those people—they always make me feel bad about myself.

Today is publication day for The 10-Day Girly Thoughts Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power by Patricia O’Gorman, PhD, and it’s a day I’ve looked forward to for some time.

I worked with Dr. O’Gorman on two of her previous books, so when she asked me to edit her book about girly thoughts, I jumped at the chance. Her goal for the book, which was inspired by the phrase she developed and used in The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power, was to shine a light on the damage women do to ourselves by internalizing these negative messages and then provide a plan to detox from them. What woman wouldn’t embrace that concept?

Negative messages surround us, and they contribute to the toxic self-talk that reinforces our negative beliefs about ourselves and have helped us form our identities as women. Consider the advertising that reminds you:ID-100264893

  • your gray hair makes you look older,
  • those extra pounds might keep you from getting a promotion, or
  • being too assertive isn’t sexy.

Then, as Dr. O’Gorman writes, “We take it one step further: We believe these messages. We internalize them. We monitor ourselves to ensure our acceptability by letting our girly thoughts, our toxic self-talk, guide us. And we shut our powerful selves down. We try not to be offensive in any way. We certainly try not to be bossy.”

As the epigraph in The 10-Day Girly Thoughts Detox Plan reads:

“It’s hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head.”

—Sally Kempton

Continue reading “Kick Your Negative Self-Talk to the Curb with the 10-Day Girly Thoughts Detox Plan”

3 Perks of Editing, Or What I’m Doing on My Summer Working-Vacation

Freelance editingMy editing life has been busy lately, and my apologies for the infrequent blogging in recent weeks. Hugs to everyone who has written to make sure I’m okay—and yes, I’m fantastic! Working as a freelance editor isn’t without its challenges, but it has some real perks, too.

Perk #1:

Freelance editing has its pros and cons, but the biggest pro for me is the ability to work wherever I choose. As many of you know, I live in South Florida, which is a paradise in the winter . . . but in the summer? Not so much. But lucky me—I am in the Pacific Northwest as I write this, and until the middle of August, I can pretend I don’t know anything about hurricanes! I guess the best label for my time away from home is “working vacation,” with an emphasis on the “working” part. And I’ve had a wonderful time editing many different projects in the last several months! Before I get to those, Continue reading “3 Perks of Editing, Or What I’m Doing on My Summer Working-Vacation”

An Editor’s Skill Set, Part III: Feedback

editor feedback

Anyone who writes appreciates how much work it is—in fact, the better the writing, the more likely that writer has spent many hundreds—even thousands—of hours working to hone his or her skills. Yet, no matter how experienced the writer, one skill in particular that must be honed (but is often undervalued) is the ability to learn from constructive criticism. Unless your writing is hidden away under lock and key, you need a thick skin: as a writer, you need to learn how to deal with feedback.

In this final part of a three-part series on an editor’s skill set (If you missed them, here are Part I: Research, Observation, and Brevity and Part II: Accuracy and Honesty), I’ll share my thoughts about how your resilience as a writer relates to the editing work I do.

Continue reading “An Editor’s Skill Set, Part III: Feedback”

An Editor’s Skill Set, Part II: Accuracy and Honesty

Writing requires a set of skills that took you years to perfect. Many skills I use in my work as a freelance editor are skills I have honed over the years, too. In Part I of this series, I discussed Research, Observation, and Brevity as they relate to the editing work I do for authors. Today I’ll like to talk about Accuracy and Honesty, two personal attributes that I consider important skills when writing and editing.

Accuracy

Many people don’t realize how much background work is involved in bringing a manuscript to publication. Copyediting (sometimes called line editing) includes fact checking, which can be a time-consuming process, especially for nonfiction work. Even works of fiction require fact checking; for example, if one of your characters plays basketball, I’ll check the spelling of terminology—three pointer or three-pointer? Consistency matters, too: If that character was 6’1” in one chapter and 5’11’ in a later chapter, I’ll bring that to your attention. As a freelance editor, I work diligently to be sure my client doesn’t publish inaccurate or inconsistent information, and that includes everything from the spelling of a corporate name (Wal-Mart or Walmart?) to correct citations (Wikipedia is not considered a reliable source for citations, by the way).

Honestyeditors-honesty

Fitting hand-in-glove with accuracy is honesty. Sadly, sometimes writers don’t understand their obligation to cite an idea that came from somewhere else, and instead they write as though a concept is their own, original idea, or worse, they copy a phrase or paragraph and change a few words here and there to “make it their own.” If you don’t know how to properly present someone else’s words or ideas, I can help you do so.

Many nonfiction authors use chapter opening quotations in their books, so I verify the accuracy of those wordings—and the spelling of the contributor’s name—whenever possible. (If I had a dollar for every time I saw Mother Teresa’s name spelled Mother Theresa . . .) Continue reading “An Editor’s Skill Set, Part II: Accuracy and Honesty”

An Editor’s Skill Set, Part I: Research, Observation, and Brevity

Unless you have a young child who is learning to read, you probably don’t give much thought to your ability to read . . . but that skill took years of training and practice to develop. Writing requires another set of skills that took years to perfect—first printing, then learning cursive, and finally for most of us, learning to type.

I also find that many skill sets I use in my work as an editor are skills I have honed over many years of writing and working not just publishing, but in every career I’ve had. I’d like to talk about three of those skills in relation to the editing I do for authors, and I think you’ll agree they are basic skills for every writer, too.

Research

editor's skills
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Confession time: I still miss library card catalogs. (I know you’re laughing at me, but I really do!) There was something so satisfying about flipping through those cards, finding just the right connection to the information you were looking for, and zeroing in on the book or encyclopedia or microfiche that promised to hold the secret treasure.

Continue reading “An Editor’s Skill Set, Part I: Research, Observation, and Brevity”

Hiring an English Major to Edit Your Book Is Cheating Yourself

I belong to a listserve of freelance editors, and I find the topics of conversation interesting and often thought-provoking. One recent  hiring an english major to edit your booktopic that elicited many comments was about pricing the work we do.

The initial post was by an established and well-respected editor who wrote, “I recently was asked about my rates by someone at a local company who was looking for writing and editing help. She balked at my quote . . . Her response: < … we can find English majors for $10 to $15 [per hour] and many of them are quite good. >”

I get it; no one wants to spend more than necessary for anything—goods or services. I mean, if I can buy a knock-off designer widget that looks just like the brand-name widget, isn’t that a better value than buying the real thing just for the brand name? If I can get my next-door neighbor’s artistic son to design my book cover, isn’t that a better value than hiring an expensive professional cover artist?

And if I can get an English major to edit my book for a few hundred dollars, isn’t that a better value than hiring a professional editor? Continue reading “Hiring an English Major to Edit Your Book Is Cheating Yourself”

Readers for Writers: Beta Readers, the Superheroes of Your Writing Team

boy-superhero-flying-around-books-black-whiteIf adding “Published Author” after your name is one of your goals for 2014, you’re probably itching to polish the NaNoWriMo manuscript or a WIP that is marinating on your hard drive  and send it out into the world.

But don’t just run a final spellcheck and pronounce your work ready for publication.

If you are serious about publishing, your first readers should be beta readers.

And just what is a beta reader?

Think of beta readers as superhero partner/readers for your WIP. Correctly employed, your superheroes can save you time and money. How? I’m glad you asked! Continue reading “Readers for Writers: Beta Readers, the Superheroes of Your Writing Team”

Film Groupies Make a Difference: Support The Red Suitcase on Indiegogo

Have you ever learned about a project and felt instantly compelled to be part of it? That’s how I felt when I heard about The Red Suitcase, a mother/daughter road movie in development about a 66-year-old woman who, with her grown daughter’s help, has to find the courage to start her life over. The film is based on a true story about the filmmaker’s mother, who suddenly found herself alone and penniless after her husband of 35 years walked out of her life, and it stars Kathleen Chalfant and Harris Yulin

Writer/producer Dana White writes,

It makes me angry that many women today, as they grow in years, are becoming more and more marginalized from our mainstream culture. My film is an attempt to both entertain (there are heaps of laughs and adventures in this film by the way), and to illuminate what I feel is a dark corner of America, where a good many women struggle, disposable and forgotten. I want to shine a light on that to people, and do it in a way that they’ll enjoy. And that THEY may have to pick up the pieces themselves one day too.

I first heard about the project from author Dorothy Sander (Aging Abundantly: A Little Book of Hope) when she asked me to proofread the updated version of her book  (one of the thank-you gifts for contributors at Indiegogo, which you can check out here). As I learned more about the film, the importance of its message for women really touched me. I made a small contribution, and I also want to help spread the word about this important film.

Dr. Patricia O’Gorman immediately saw the connection between this film and her book, The Resilient Woman, and wrote:

Using a crisis to consciously grow is the first step in my book The Resilient Woman. And that is what this extraordinary film—The Red Suitcase—is about. It asks, ‘How do I separate myself from the life I’ve lived? How do I move forward from the script I have followed, the one that told me what was expected of me as a woman, as a dutiful wife, as a mother, to see what life can hold for me now?’”

Barbara Torris wrote an inspiring piece about the film and how there really is a dearth of films out there about issues and life which reflects her reality:

I did one of those Google searches this morning using the words movies about older people and every movie that came up starred men like Clint Eastwood. Surprisingly, when I added the word women the search engine came up with older women/younger man relationship movies . . . all those icky cougar stories. But movies about older mothers in trouble and a daughter finding a way to move on with their lives? Probably not many. 

So now WE have a chance to help a movie get produced. This one is worth our attention.” 

Dorothy Sander echoed much of the same sentiment in her popular blog, Aging Abundantly: 

Good films have gone the way of manual typewriters . . . These are important films, but most will probably never see the light of day because the funds run out before they can be completed. The Red Suitcase is one such film . . . spread the word and show your support.”

Eileen Williams of Feisty Side of Fifty interviewed us on her radio show as well as wrote a wonderful article about The Red Suitcase:

The story weaves unexpected revelations, humorous adventures, and colorful characters together to create a tale that’s dramatic, funny, and heart-breakingly honest . . . If you, like me, are aching to see our own faces reflected back to us, this is one way we can take action.

Dale Carter did a piece on us on her inspiring blog, Transition Aging Parents:

I applaud Dana for embarking on such a grand endeavor to bring the depth of her story for everyone to enjoy and reflect upon.  For now, take my advice and check out Dana White’s new film.”

Photographer Robbie Kaye (@BeautyofWisdom) has been relentless on spreading the word on Twitter with her thousands of followers. Her new book Beauty and Wisdom has just been released on Amazon. You can also get it as a gift with a contribution to the film.

Visit The Red Suitcase campaign, and please consider making a donation—even just $1 or $5 will help—and help spread the word about the campaign through your own Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, and other social-networking connections. Thank you for your support!

Happy Writing,

Candace

 

If you enjoyed reading this, please subscribe to my blog and never miss a post! It’s easy: Just enter your email address on the right side of this page. And please know that I’ll never sell, share, or rent your contact information—that’s a promise!

Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help, and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here.

For more great writing and publishing information, check out  Change It Up Editing and Writing Services on Facebook, where I share interesting articles and links about writing and publishing.

 

3 Things You Should NOT Do with Your NaNoWriMo Novel

The end of November is fast approaching, and with it comes the end of NaNoWriMo. The blog posts I’ve read this month have been filled with frenzied accounts of growing word counts and even some samples of WIPs, and for anyone who isn’t participating, November can make you feel like the kid who nobody wants on their team.ID-100211589

I’m an outsider.

No, I didn’t participate in NaNoWriMo this year. But I’ve been right there in spirit, and I hope my comments on some of your blogs have been helpful. (That Week 2 slump is a killer, isn’t it?)

But the end is in sight, and those of you who will “win” NaNo are already intoxicated by the sweet smell of success.

Those who won’t make it have nonetheless learned some valuable lessons about writing, yourself, and your approach to writing—so truly, there is no such thing as NOT winning NaNoWriMo because whether you make that 50,000 word count or not, you’re a better writer now than you were a month ago.

By the way, I agree with Chuck Wendig’s comments about the language of NaNoWriMo, specifically “winning” and “losing.”

This isn’t a game of Monopoly, after all. It’s not a race in which one competes.

It’s writing a book. If you finish your book on December 1st, or January 3rd or May 15th, you still won. Because HOLY SHIT YOU FINISHED A NOVEL.

The goal is to write a book whether it takes you one month or one year—failing to complete 50,000 words in a month that contains Thanksgiving and the ramp up to Christmas should never be regarded as a loser move.”

So whether you’ve already finished your first draft or you expect to do so sometime in 2015, here are three things you shouldn’t do when you cross the finish line:

1.   Don’t throw anything away.

Is your 50,000 word first draft ready for publication? Of course not—but neither should it be deleted from your hard drive. Yes, there are allegedly writers who do that, but please do NOT become one of them.

Even if you’re a writer who believes the act of putting your butt in a seat for 30 days and churning out the bones of a novel is enough of a reward without having to ever read what you wrote, please believe that you’ve written some gems.

Okay, maybe you’ll delete some—or most—of those 50,000 words, but save them in a separate folder. In a month or two you may reread a well-turned phrase you’d forgotten about and will have a brainstorm for an entirely new scene . . . or character . . . or novel!

2.    Don’t begin editing your manuscript.

You’ve spent plus or minus thirty days with this manuscript—and if you outlined in October, that number goes up. Believe me, now is NOT the time to begin editing. You’re too close to your story, and let’s face it—you’ve had an exhausting, emotional month.

Do a happy dance, pat yourself on the back, announce to the world (or at least your Facebook friends) that YOU DID IT, and then put your manuscript away for a while.

For how long? Opinions vary on this one, but long enough that when you open it up again, the story feels new and fresh in that “I can’t believe I wrote this” way. That might be a month or a year, but it shouldn’t be tomorrow. Give yourself some time away to gain a little perspective, and you’ll have more clarity once you being to edit and revise.

Taking a very rough first draft and molding it into a saleable novel will require some ruthless revising and self editing, so give yourself enough time away to gain perspective. As Chuck Wendig writes, “Repeat the mantra: Writing is when I make the words. Editing is when I make them not shitty.”

Award-winning indie author Jade Kerrion knows firsthand how valuable those revisions can be:

NaNo novels are rarely much good at the end of November (but then again, what first drafts are?) However, given enough editing, they can grow into gems. My 2010 NaNo novel became Perfection Unleashed and went on to win six awards. My 2011 NaNo novel, Earth-Sim, picked up 1st place in Young Adult Fiction at the 2013 Royal Palm Literary Awards, and my 2012 novel, When the Silence Ends, took 2nd place in Young Adult Fiction, 2013 Royal Palm Literary Awards.”

Impressive, huh? And notice the awards were won long after she finished NaNoWriMo each year.

3.    Don’t stop writing.

If you’re like most NaNoWriMo authors, you’re pretty excited about ending November with 50,000 words—maybe you have the first draft of a novel, maybe only a third of a longer manuscript, but nevertheless, you’ve written a bodacious number of words in thirty days, and you’ve accomplished something pretty spectacular.

So why quit now? You’ve proven to yourself that you can make the time to write every day, so wrap your mind around that new reality and keep writing.

Should you continue with the same manuscript? Begin a brand-new story? It doesn’t even matter, because you are a writer, and writers gotta write. I love the way author Abbie Plouff put it:

For me, this has been an invaluable month dedicated to writing and storytelling that put me back on the right track. It has shown me that yes, even when life is hectic and crazy, I can still carve out time to work on my writing. The habit of writing—finding time to work every single day, thinking about my novel when I have downtime, and other planning exercises has been invaluable.”

Writer Kathera has a different point of view:

50 K word goal accomplished but the story is not finished yet so I can’t stop now. I’m in the middle of a chase, and I want to find out how it ends. Theoretically I know the outcome, as I am following the outline, but something unexpected may happen, who knows?”

And Chuck Wendig offers:

It helps to look at your NaNoWriMo novel as the zero draft — it has a beginning, it has an ending, it has a whole lot of something in the middle. The puzzle pieces are all on the table and, at the very least, you’ve got an image starting to come together (“is that a dolphin riding side-saddle on a mechanical warhorse through a hail of lasers?”). But the zero draft isn’t done cooking. A proper first draft awaits. A first draft that will see more meat slapped onto those exposed bones, taking your word count into more realistic territory.”

In my book, every writer who even attempts NaNoWriMo should be congratulated. And although I know it will be a few months before those drafts are polished enough to make their way to an editor, I’m already looking forward to the day when that happens. For an editor, the thrill is in peeking under the hood, so to speak, and helping to polish a novel that was only an idea in your head a mere month ago. I can’t wait!

Happy Writing,

Candace

If you enjoyed reading this, please subscribe to my blog and never miss a post! It’s easy: Just enter your email address on the right side of this page. And please know that I’ll never sell, share, or rent your contact information—that’s a promise!

Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help, and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here.

For more great writing and publishing information, check out  Change It Up Editing and Writing Services on Facebook, where I share interesting articles and links about writing and publishing.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Wrapping Up the Details: Step 10 of How to Write a Compelling Nonfiction Book Proposal in 10 Easy Steps

nonfiction book proposalI’ve been blogging tips for writing a nonfiction book proposal, and here we are at the last step. As we’ve been discussing, the purpose of a nonfiction proposal is to sell an agent or editor on the concept of your book. Writing a nonfiction book proposal is all about marketing yourself, your writing, and your idea. Each section of your proposal answers the questions, “Why will this book stand out in a sea of other books about this subject?” and “Why are you are the perfect author to write this book?”

Over the previous few weeks I’ve covered each part of a proposal and offered specific ideas for what should be included and why. Today I’ll focus on tying up some loose ends by giving you tips about details that can be the difference between a proposal that’s ignored and one that agents and editors can’t wait to read. Continue reading “Wrapping Up the Details: Step 10 of How to Write a Compelling Nonfiction Book Proposal in 10 Easy Steps”