From Writing

5 Things Writers-of-Color Should Look For In Their Book Editor

I recently attended a Northwest Editor’s Guild event called “Authors on Editing,” during which three writers spoke about their experiences working with editors. I gleaned a lot of useful information from the panel discussion, and it’s always great to meet other editors. But as great as the event was, I couldn’t help noticing what was not said, and the editors and writers who were not there. If you’re a writer of color, you know what I mean. That’s right. This room was almost entirely white — except for me and, even though I’m a Latina, I look white — and there was not a single mention…

The Self Publishing Revolution…

  https://soundcloud.com/guardianbookspodcast/self-publishing-revolution By now, every writer — and probably ever reader — knows that the publishing world has undergone a radical makeover in the last ten years or so. Thanks to Amazon and a variety of self-publishing platforms like Lulu and CreateSpace, writers no longer have to rely on “the big 5” to get their words read. But there are pluses and minuses to every revolution, and this podcast from The Guardian presents a great overview of all of it — featuring interviews with self-published authors as well as agents, editors and big-time publishers. If you’re curious about how the…

Eliminating the Headache of Writing Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Manuals

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are step-by-step instructions that act as guidelines for employee work processes. Whether written up in numbered steps or formatted as flow charts, effective SOPs are complete, clearly written, and based on input from the workers who do the job. When employees follow the SOP for a particular job, they produce a product that is consistent and predictable. If creativity is key to your business functions, SOPs may not work for you. Strict adherence to standardized rules can restrict creative flow. However, if your goal is to produce the same product over the long term and increase…

On The Necessity of Turning Oneself into a Character

A few weeks ago, I reread a series of online newspaper columns I’d written in 2011. The writing was clear, informative and grammatically sound, but it was also …boring.  Around the same time, I picked up a copy of “To Show and To Tell” by Phillip Lopate*. In this book, dedicated to the craft of “literary nonfiction,” Lopate writes that nonfiction authors must not shy away from revealing their authentic selves, regardless of how flawed, weird, or even dull, they believe themselves to be. Ultimately, he writes, even when the subject is not memoir, it’s the writer’s unique perspective, their…

Sitting Down To Write

The first step towards writing anything is deceptively simple. It’s sitting. But it’s not just any sitting. It’s sitting in front of a blank page or screen — the prospect of which can be intimidating. While there are people who can sit down and get right to business, for others it can take time.   If you are one of these people, do not fret if you find yourself: Straightening out your desk, living room or kitchen Watching Netflix Making a cup of tea Lighting a candle Throwing out the garbage Even experienced writers can dismiss such puttering as mere…

Facing The Monster

If you are not discouraged about your writing on a regular basis, you may not be trying hard enough. Any challenging pursuit will encounter frequent patches of frustration. Writing is nothing if not challenging. – Maxwell Perkins Whether we’re seasoned writers or inexperienced newbies, there’s no question that facing the blank page, or even a page we’ve already written, can feel like facing down a monster. Creativity is a major area of stress for most, if not all, human beings and few things are as sensitive as offering up our creative babies for feedback. At times, it may feel like…

Editing Brings Out Your Writing’s Clarity and Power

I’ve always loved exploring the deeper meanings hidden in art, movies and books. Themes pop out, patterns emerge, and I find connections that elude other people. I first used this gift as a film student, and then as a screenwriter, helping peers discover what they were trying to say with their scripts. Later, this gift also made me good at reading tarot cards. Without even thinking, I could fill in the blanks, and tease someone’s life story out of a series of seemingly unrelated symbols and images. I love stories, I love language… And I love editing. Editing calls on…