First post of 2019: What’s ahead

I kept telling myself that I didn’t want to make any resolutions–I don’t really celebrate secular New Year’s Eve. But something that happened that made me reconsider. Continue reading

Advertisements

On the Brink of NaNoWriMo

Tomorrow is November 1st, aka the first day of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. I’m all set to go, but feeling very nervous. I’m G-d willing going to be trying out some new software, and I’ve got a partner and a couple online groups for support. And I’ll report back with progress in a week or so.

I’ve got a few tricks to help me out. My great friend, Devorah Talia, suggested an app to me. The app, called Toggl, is free, and helps monitor time spent on jobs. Not only is it helping me make my invoices for freelance editing jobs, it gives me a bit of accountability on what I’m working on. Since starting to use it, I can really see where I waste time, but actually how much time I’m productive, too.

Despite my big NaNoWriMo project, I’m doing other writing, too. I have to write two humor columns in November. And this evening, I spent a big chunk of time writing a dvar Torah to present in my synagogue on Shabbos morning to a group of women. It’s been a while since I’ve taught the parshah of the week, and I got very, very excited about my thesis. A long talk with my husband helped me formulate my ideas, he gave me an additional piece of evidence, and now I’m set to go. I’m hoping to get some feedback on an essay and rewrite it, too.

And I have a couple picture book ideas bouncing around my head, too.

Usually, I’m not exactly a font of creativity at this time of year. This is the season in which I usually start to fade into a hibernation that lasts until Tu B’Shevat, roughly at the end of January. I’m hoping to hold onto my energy and imagination long enough to complete some of these projects!

 

The Desire to Write a Sequel vs the Desire to Write a Story

I already posted once this week, so I’ll probably keep this one short, but I wanted to make sure I do my new little Wednesday thang so I don’t lose my groove.

I mentioned in my last post that while reviewing the proofs of my soon-to-be published middle-grade novel, I had an impulse to write a sequel. You know that old tune sung by Marlene Deitrich, “Falling in Love Again?” That’s how I felt about my characters on this weekend’s run-through. Continue reading

Writing Groups Run for Pay Are Useful…But Not the Same as No-Fee Writing Groups

After last week’s post, in which I explained how to set up and run writing critique groups and manuscript swaps, I got some feedback, and I’d like to address one of the issues that came up.

What to expect if you pay for a professionally-led writing group:

There are many writers/editors, who run critique groups for a fee – and I am among them. Usually, the organizer will do at least some of the recruitment for you, and they have genuine expertise. (Although I suggest you check on this – recently, I came upon a writer who offered advice – for a fee – to a person in a field of writing it turned out they knew nothing about. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a reference even if the person is a published writer of note. Not all writers know all fields of writing, and not all writers are good at running critique groups.) Good writing group leaders are familiar with the “writing group format” and may have a very gentle and efficient way of keeping participants on-task and well-behaved. They will often arrange the logistics of the location/conference call/whatever.

Interestingly, since participants usually pay in advance for a series of meetings, they are more likely to show up. I have a close friend who is a personal trainer, and she says her clients have the same attitude: If you pay in advance, you are more likely to show up, because you know your absence will cost you money, and yet you will get no benefit from that money. For a fledgling writer who really, really needs a fire lit under their tuchas to make them show up regularly for a writing group, this has a big advantage over a free model.

I know many, many people who have enjoyed and learned a lot in writing groups run by a paid professional. A really good writing-group-for-fee is worth the price you pay. However, I don’t classify them with lay-led, no-fee groups for a number of reasons. Examining these will help a writer decide which model will work best for them. Continue reading

A Copyeditor’s Rant

During my disappearance from this blog, I spent a lot of my time proofreading, editing, and copyediting.

First, while people tend to use the terms interchangeably:

  • A proofreader checks text for syntax, spelling, punctuation, and other similar errors and corrects them.
  • An editor may do the above, but also will consider the content of the piece, the order of sentences, meaning, style, how the author addresses the audience, and other, deeper issues.
  • A copyeditor deals with text intended for publication – for instance, in a magazine or a book, proofreads it, checks it for accuracy (for instance, are the names of sources spelled correctly?), and then formats the material according to the “house style” of the publisher.

As you can see, each job has slightly different responsibilities. Mostly, I’ve been copyediting the local publication I mentioned in earlier blog posts. In general, I love the job. The hours are flexible (so I’m free to take care of sick kids or errands), and I get to make other writers look good. I’ve developed great working relationships with several of the columnists, thank G-d.

But there are also annoyances. And – without naming names – I’m going to tell you about some of them, because many of the people who read this blog are also writers, and those who aren’t may still be in a position where they have to write something for public consumption. A little awareness about common issues might prove helpful to you.

Continue reading

I have been swallowed whole.

Okay, really, I’ve been swallowed in pieces. Work is swallowing part of me, and my kids (all home for the summer) are swallowing the rest. There apparently isn’t much left for blogging.

One little bit of nifty news is that I started occasionally guest posting for Jew in the City. My first two posts went up last week and the week before. You can find the first one, “When The ‘Less Religious’ Woman Was Frummer Than Me,” here; and the second one, “A Kiddush Hashem In A Most Unexpected Place,” there.

Between swim lessons and jaunts to local museums, I have editing and writing to do. Thank G-d, have four writing assignments to squeeze in the next few weeks. Between this, that, and the other, I’ll probably be blogging infrequently throughout the summer, but hopefully I’ll be back in good form in the fall.