Creativity and Connection

Today’s post is about our creative potential, in that I share an experience without my author-hat to encourage you to let go and get creative. And then, donning my author-hat, I hope to meet you in person at soon-upcoming events.

Creativity and Connection

Google searching the meaning of creativity resulted in this: the act of turning imaginative ideas into reality. [And] Creativity is characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions.

I believe that in each of us, we have this ability; an ability through our own creative hobbies to impress upon others the need for positive change in our communities, thereby encouraging others to act with us in making our world a better place for everyone. It’s a sense of connection; a sense of community.

The dictionary definition of hobby is: “A pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.” (Merriam-Webster).

The word hobby evokes an image of something you love to do, something you ache for and something you never seem to have quite enough time for. These creative hobbies could be most anything: singing, playing an instrument, sewing, knitting, woodworking, painting, drawing, or as in my case, writing.

When expressing creativity through hobbies, does this allow for more freedom, and a sense of free-flow relaxation and fun? –While the rest of us—those of us who perform music for money or audiences, or those of us who have published works—are we tied to commitment or promises? If there is a divide, there needn’t be. Rather, a goal could be to mesh our different venues and reasons for creativity.

Without My “Author-Hat”

Recently, I let go of my “author hat” and reveled in the freedom, relaxation, and fun of simple pure creation. It was with a professional singer who also took off her artist hat. In an online hang-out, several of us spent the evening in collaboration to write a song.

To start our jam/music/writing session, we “went around the room” sharing a few words of how we felt or what we were experiencing in our personal lives. This led to a list of words which got us started and led us to decide what the song would be about.

Meanwhile, our singer-friend strummed her guitar while we created the verses, lyrics, chords and melody. Sharing in part, below is from our created verses and lyrics which may give you an idea of the message we expressed through our creativity:

Music by Shelley Segal.

Stand straight,
Sit still,
Mouth shut,
Do my will,
So many voices say they know what’s best for me
Pressures reeling,
Watch me break through this ceiling
I am who I am,
I only have this time,
I have to make it mine,
And I don’t need your plans, Because I am who I am….

With My “Author-Hat”

My “author hat” will be going back on soon, as I look forward to two soon-upcoming commitments: Tongue & Groove Cincinnati, a Literary Salon and V-Day Hometown Monologues.

Tongue & Groove Cincinnati, a Literary Salon
Sunday, January 27, 2019
5:00 – 6:00 p.m. is arrival time and light snacks
6:00 – 8:00 p.m. is music and readings.
At the Clifton House B&B, 500 Terrace Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio
Limited Seating. Cost: $20 at the door.
Reserve your seat by email: tconner425@gmail.com

I’m open to ideas as to what excerpt from my memoir to read. If you plan to go and have a special request, let me know this week, and I will consider it. Also, I will have books for sale, cash price of $15.00 each.

-and-

V-Day Hometown Monologues
Saturday, February 9, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
Women Writing for (a) Change
In Silverton at 6906 Plainfield Road, Cincinnati, Ohio

Advance tickets required, available online, in person, and by mail. Proceeds will benefit victims of domestic abuse. V-Day is a global movement to end violence against women.
Event tickets available from Women Writing for (a) Change.

I won’t have any books for sale at this event, but if you bring your book, I will be happy to sign it. My monologue for this show comes from Chapter 3 in my memoir, Out of Chaos. Slightly reworded, it’s titled, “Alone in the Dark without my Candy.”

Events tab is where you will find event details as available. To keep tabs on me, be sure to pop in from time to time to see any updates. I hope to visit with you.

Resources and credits for this post

Music by Shelley Segal, found on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/ShelleySegal
V-Day: A global organization dedicated through activism to end violence. https://www.vday.org/homepage.html
Out of Chaos: A Memoir: Read more about my debut book (link here).

Please share about your creativity; I’d like to know more– your comments could inspire others.

If you like what I post, please subscribe to get notified of new blog posts, at a few times monthly.

-Elle-

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From 2018 to 2019: Inspired by memoir, focused on life today.

Happy New Year to my reading community. My journey through this past year has been one of hard work, and when daunting, you lifted me up with your encouragement.
Reading my newsletters, sharing in my journey through commenting on blog posts, and meeting up with me in person has been invaluable. At the end of this post, you’ll find a video highlighting this past year with you. And, please know that while I keep you in the know of new blog posts during 2019, my monthly newsletters are so-last-year.

The last month of 2018 was engaging. I attended a vigil in honor of National Homeless Persons Memorial Day. Drawn from personal experience, the homelessness plight is one I care passionately about and share about through my creative writing. On the weekend before Christmas, I participated in an author event. On Christmas Day, I shared my time with women at a shelter.

Recent Author Appearance

A Holiday Soiree took place at The Westin, Cincinnati on Saturday, December 22. It was a meet and greet event with local authors sharing their books.
At any time, you can see where I will be next by visiting my Author Appearances and Events Page, found under the tab, Media and Contact.

Recent Blog Posts

Christmas in the Community
Like me, many women at [The Esther Marie Hatton Center and Shelterhouse for Women] are also without the traditional family holiday gathering. This shelter is their refuge. It is a place with resources to regain strength, purpose, empowerment, and stability.
Christmas has passed but the needs of these women and others remain.


Homeless People are Dying Every Day: A Candlelight Vigil and an Excerpt from my Memoir.
Cities across America observe the annual National Homeless Persons Memorial Day on the day which has the shortest daylight hours. This year it was Friday, December 22. It is in memory of those who have died as a consequence of homelessness.

Many people in our communities are in need, whether struggling through homelessness or another difficulty. I hope you find my ideas and resources helpful as I blog about my journey to make our communities safe and inviting for everyone. Each of us may be limited in what we can do, but coming together in these opportunities, we, as a community make a difference.

From 2018 into 2019

As Year 2019 approaches, I looked back in our sharing through this blog. In January 2018, I was working diligently with my publishing house and shared with you my work-in-progress. Revisions on my end and editing on their end where taking off.

Excerpt from Persistence — Power — Positive Attitude…. (New Year’s WIP Update), posted January 13, 2018.

My publisher brought forth a few questions, “Why?” or “Didn’t this happen because of this?” There, I need to clue the reader in. This can be challenging. As a true story, the “whys and “why nots” can seem illogical. My homework is to show how chaos evolved into a new way of thinking or a new set of actions.

end of excerpt

I persisted to get my memoir ready for your hands.
Out of Chaos: A Memoir published in August 2018. This milestone has been momentous for me and I hope a life changer for others, too. Life is good today. Thank you for 2018. Together, we can make 2019 momentous and good.

https://youtu.be/Z54tFccRavI

Video from me to you: Sharing 2018 by Elle Mott. https://youtu.be/Z54tFccRavI

If you like what I post, please subscribe to get notified of new blog posts, at a few times monthly.

-Elle-

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Book Fairs: Here’s why to go by Elle Mott

Yesterday, local authors and readers got together to put on a book fair. It was the Local Authors Day Event in Northern Kentucky, held at the main branch of the Boone County Public Library in Burlington, Kentucky.

Big thanks goes out to Kelsey Shackelford, Community Events Liaison with this library, for her dedication and commitment.

It was not my first year to show up, yet my first year to come with a published book. Like before, this was an awesome time to connect with readers and writers, alike. Yes, I sold a few books. More-so, it was an opportunity for me to share my journey with others and to hear what they are reading or writing.

While I have given a few author presentations before, this was my first time at an actual book fair with my book. It was so meaningful to have my good friend, Lorene sit beside me.

For those who have read my book, this is the same Lorene from Chapters 24 and 25 in Out of Chaos.: A Memoir.  

If you are a writer and wondering what are the “perks” to have a table at a book fair, here are but a few:

  • To connect with others who also practice the writing craft
  • To better understand the writing industry
  • To listen; really listen to book buyers and readers

If you are a reader and wondering “why go to a book fair” here are but a few reasons:

  • To support those who are sharing their written works
  • To get a first-hand knowledge of books that otherwise could go unnoticed
  • To grab a good read, perhaps at a reduced price from the retail cost
  • To pick up gifts for birthdays and holidays
  • To get to know the author behind a book you plan to read
  • To get your book autographed (how can you do that at Walmart?)

 


I hope to see you at the next book fair in my greater community.

Until then, please share your experience in either shopping for books at such events, or as a writer sharing your book with others.


PS
This same day also saw me on Chanel’s Lit Blog in the Writer Spotlight.

Here, in interview style, I share about my writing craft and my journey.

You can read all about it by linking here:  https://www.chardypublications.com/blog-1/in-the-spotlight-today-elle-mott

If you like what I post, please join my reading community by subscribing to get blog post updates and my newsletter, sent monthly.  Link here.

-Elle-

 

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Writers Conferences–nuts and bolts….

Writers Conferences—the nuts and bolts—and what you can get out of going to one.

•You’ll connect with new writer friends. Those connections are valuable especially since you’re all going through the process.

•Your newly met friends may become your allies and accountability partners.

•You’ll clarify your book concept. Every time you practice talking about your book (not just writing it), you’ll get clearer about the direction you want to take.

•You’ll learn things you didn’t expect to learn. Sessions, lunch gatherings, and happy-hour mingling will present opportunities, which you didn’t expect.

Attending a conference:

Here in my greater Cincinnati area, I’ve been to several writer’s conferences, workshops, and the like, each of which garnered from our community. Last weekend, September 29 & 30, I stepped it up a notch by attending a conference which invited writers from all-around. Although, still here in Cincinnati, people came from as far away as California, New York, and Canada.

Given by Writer’s Digest, it was at the Renaissance Hotel downtown, with a friendly hotel ambiance that was comfortable, and plush. Before even hitting the check-in table, I met up with an online friend, Amy for breakfast, to meet in person for the first time—she lives in the New York area. Amy is an industry leader when it comes to teaching new authors how to promote our book(s) and I’ve been one of her groupies for more than a year.

When my book was hitting publication, I retained her marketing services for her know-how and action that I see she puts in to her passion. You see, an author is always responsible for carrying some, if not all the burden in marketing efforts. A publisher; most any publisher won’t do it all, nor could they even if they tried. My publisher is involved in the social media end of things, but they can’t walk with me in my daily commute to promote my book.

My breakfast time with Amy was not to talk business, but for us to get to know one another on a more personal level. I already knew we are the same age (by two months, I’m the older one)—we were in a group video conference on the day of her last birthday. Come to find out over breakfast, we have much more than age in common. It was an invaluable connection.

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With about 75 writers and authors in attendance, we mingled in the conference room, anxious for the 9:00 hour to start it off. At the front of the room was the podium. We took our seats, with many seats to choose from and four chairs to each table, all facing the front. Each table came with a carafe of water and a place to put our complimentary coffee. Through small talk, we encouraged each other to be proud of our published books. This could be seen as many of us pulled our book out of our tote bag (or attaché case or backpack) and laid it prominently on our table.

The conference opened with a presentation by another well-respected industry leader, Jane Friedman. She gave us her experience in publishing options and then how to proceed once published (the latter of which I tuned in to).

The weekend continued, all day Saturday and much of Sunday, with break-out sessions, guest speakers, and networking with fellow writers through lunch. Our break-out sessions spanned the gamut from readership connection to social media use to audio book consideration, and oh, so much more.  Even Amy had her share of leading workshops during these break-outs.

Key-note speakers were Zetta Elliott (children’s author) and Tobias Buckell (sci-fi author). With the conference focused on diversity, Zetta shared her journey with us, as an African American woman who writes stories which give a voice to the diverse reality of children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aside from the structure in these sessions and listening to speakers, it proved to be an awesome opportunity to meet others. I learned from other authors who are a step or more ahead of me, and I shared my experience with those who are where I was a year or so ago.

Overall, it was great to see a big picture of opportunities and choices available to authors in our writing careers. This big picture will carry me forward as I continue to learn and make informed decisions, which ultimately will benefit readers.

A writing conference comes with nuggets:

•The craft and business of your writing life is enhanced when joining forces with others.

•It keeps you abreast of the rapidly changing shifts in the industry so that you can make informed decisions for the best-fit path in your journey.

•Its uplifting and motivational to be surrounded by other writers. The writing process can be solitary. Being surrounded by other writers who are also going through the process is motivating.

Conferences gives us the venue to invest in our dreams….

Like the protagonists in the books we read or write, we too have turning points in our journeys. A conference is our way of accepting the challenge and rising to the call. It means we are willing to invest in our dreams, learn all we can, teach others through our experience, and do the action.

If you are a writer, what are your thoughts? Have you ever attended a conference? Did your first conference change your outlook and attitude? What were some changes you saw in yourself after going to a conference?

If you are a reader, curious about my writing life, what are your thoughts? Have you ever attended a conference for your craft or profession? Did your first conference change your outlook and attitude? What were some changes you had after going to a conference? And if you knew your favorite author attended conferences, would this influence your opinion of that author?

Please join in the replying comments below. As writers and readers, we come together; it’s a “we thing.” -Elle-

 

 

 

 

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No longer in Chaos (Author Presentation)

Thank you to Tri-State Freethinkers (TSF) for asking me to share my journey at the September meeting.  TSF is a community involved, social, educational, and activist group. Speakers include local experts and organizations about the science of our world, experience of those from different backgrounds & causes that could use our help.  I was the first of four speakers on this night.

I discussed my debut book, a memoir: “Out of Chaos”.

Yes, my book is published and available for your reading. What is my book about? Well, that’s why I stepped up to the podium on this night at the TSF meeting. Through this group, I have had ample opportunities for volunteering. These volunteering commitments have given me a way to show my gratitude for life today, a life out of chaos.

A recent volunteer commitment took me to the Freestore Foodbank in downtown Cincinnati, near me, here on Liberty Street. It’s a choice pantry, laid out much like a grocery store. Volunteers are needed for keeping shelves stocked, bagging food, and helping customers. On that day, I was a runner. My job was to help load groceries into people’s cars or to help them gather their bags for their walk home. As we’d walk out together—me pushing their shopping cart to their car, it was easy to chat. One woman kept saying she was sorry for being so needy and for almost forgetting to get diapers.

I let her know there was no need to explain or be sorry. I’ve been there before, on the edge, wondering if I’d survive. I know what it is like—that raw empty feeling inside our gut, breaking down our mental and emotional cognition when having to depend on others for our very basics.

Yes, sometimes, I feel as though it’s an effort to choose to volunteer rather than hang out at home. But, I know that all I have to do is show up. From there, any inconvenience is uplifted as my happiness to get out of myself and be a real part of the community shows its face.

When we step up to volunteer, we make a difference in people’s lives. I know this. During the times I needed help, help was at times tough to find.  When I did get help; that help helped me help myself.

No matter what hardships we endure—or what mistakes we made—no matter where we go wrong or where society fails us, we can survive. And more than survive—by doing the action, we can make a life which gives us inner peace, a sense of belonging, purpose, and meaning.

 

A recap of my volunteering thus far with Tri-State Freethinkers:

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How about you? What difficulty have you faced and what has helped you to overcome such a troubling situation? Please share in the comments. Community is a “we thing.”

Together, we can and will make a difference; a positive difference!  -Elle-

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WIP Update: This Book is Happening!

Publishing my debut book is  exciting and a little scary. Have you ever created something only to wonder if people will like it?  Coming August 9 it’s aptly titled, “Out of Chaos: A Memoir.”

It is my true story of living in chaos, what happened to throw me into that chaos, what I did about it, and now, who I am today. At times, my story is dark and harrowing, yet I promise, it will end on a bright new way of living.

My book is finished, yeah! This journey has involved plenty of hard, yet creative and fun work in collaboration with my publishing house. And questions–oh, so many questions I’d bring to the table when I’d get ideas or wondered “why this way?” The entire publishing team was ever so patient, open to my ideas, and happy to talk about anything with me.  Last Friday, I saw this book’s fruition when I approved the latest proof. This book is happening!

Through my writing and publishing journey, I’ve met numerous supporting and incredible authors. Heartfelt gratitude goes out to my new friends and to my publishing house.

My two writing groups, one on-line, and one here locally in my community have also been invaluable.

No way, could I have gotten this far alone. In all of life, in our community endeavors, and in our own personal aspirations, it is a we thing.

Often, I was asked, “Why don’t you self-publish?” That’s the route many in my local writers group have taken and have been quite successful at doing so. Success means different things to different people, and mostly, I see my fellow authors who have self-published happy with their decision.

The idea of that (of self-publishing) seems overwhelming—I don’t have the skill set in this laborious and complex world. Creating a great book cover while meeting industry standards, perfecting interior design, expense of editors, worrying about metadata and distribution—oh how exhausting to ponder. And then, there’s distribution—I want my book available most anywhere and yet so many places are out there; some I’ve never even heard of. Time was also an issue—I work full-time, writing on my lunch breaks.

My publishing choice has proven to be perfect for me. I’ve gained insight, learned plenty and have felt my fears in publishing lifted as someone else (my publishing house) has done the heavy work garnered from my vision.

You may ask, “What came before yesterday’s finalized proof?”  

  • Ringing in the New Year, I expressed my Persistence, Power, and Positive Attitude to bring this book alive. (Link here).x
  • In late March, it was how I got through developmental editing. (Link here).x
  • In June, it was copy editing; it was my motto of Inspired by memoir, focused on life today. (Link here).

Look for my debut book in paperback and e-book, releasing August 9. “Out of Chaos: A Memoir” will be available on Amazon, Kindle, iTunes, Sony/Kobo, and Barnes & Noble Nook, to name but a few. Incoming reviews (from readers like you) will determine the distribution path into brick-and-mortar bookstores and libraries.

Closing this post, a shout-out with a big “thank you” to you for following my writing journey and encouraging me to keep going.  -Elle-

 

 

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WIP (Work in Progress) Update, Inspired by memoir, focused on life today.

In March, I posted a WIP Update that my first round of editing was finished. That was the developmental editing. Since then, I’ve been inside a whirlwind of excitement to get my book ready for you. (Read that post, here.)

WIP UPDATE

Copy editing has been completed. Working with Emily Hitchcock from my publishing house, we did a line by line reading, sometimes jumping back a few chapters, or even forward. Word usage, grammar, and in essence, making my story the best it can be for you. Emily also came to the rescue for fine tuning how I’ve named chapter titles. Moving forward, proofreading will be done.

In the meantime, also from my publishing house, graphic designer Cate Labish is handling the book cover. Cate and I have collaborated well in this. I picked the picture. She’s putting it together. The front side is done. Soon, Cate will have the back cover done too.

 

Publishing my debut book is not only exciting, it is a little scary. Have you ever created something only to wonder if people will like it? My story is not a cozy one. My story is aptly named, “Out of Chaos.” It is my true story of living in chaos, what happened to throw me into that chaos, what I did about it, and now, who I am today.

Today, life is good. With my good life comes a freeing feeling. I’m okay if someone finds my story not to their liking. I am hoping that my story will make a difference in someone’s life.

An excerpt from my book explains why I wrote my story:

….to show that no matter what mistakes we made, what wrongs we did, or what hardships we endured, we can make a right-about face. A change of heart and action makes it possible to become a contributing member in society. This change gives us peace, a sense of belonging, purpose, and meaning.

 

I suppose that’s how and why I came up with my phrase, “Inspired by memoir, focused on life today.”

 

-Elle-

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Reading Journey

Reading Journey

My writing journey today is about my reading journey—and perhaps, yours, too.

Admiring friends as they keep up with their Goodreads reading profile, I ticked this to-do item off my list today, and plan to keep up with it.

‘Having read several good books, anthologies, and literary journals lately, Goodreads is the hang-out for connecting with readers and writers. It’s a place to discover the next great book to read and why. You can follow my reading journey on Goodreads.

 

Here are some reasons for reading:

1. (To) Change When writers impart motivational, spiritual, and cognitive thinking skills to us, we become stronger to overcome personal challenges.

2. Exercise Brain Muscles (Yes, our brain is a muscle!)

3. (To) Feel for Others Feeling empathy for what the character is going through gives us greater socialization skills.

4. Imagination Other people’s stories can open a whole new world for us to envision places, people, and ideas that otherwise could remain dormant.

5. Information Gathering Becoming familiar with other places, people, and cultures, we become a little bit more familiar with our world.

6. Learning at one’s own Pace With self-help, how-to, and craft and recipe books, we are in control of our own hands-on-approach.

7. Morality Building How characters approach their challenges gives us an opportunity to discern our own choices.

8. Self Esteem By becoming more informed in various life situations, we become more confident in ourselves.

9. Stress Reliever Even as stories heighten our sensory impulses, this same story can envelop us, letting us become relieved of any current concerns.

10. Vocabulary Builder Whether it’s words in our native tongue, conversations found in other cultures, slang, or a new way to verbally express a concept, our choice in which words to use when communicating expands.

Imagination and Information Gathering are likely my top reasons.

xxx What are your reasons for reading? Any other reasons you read? Please share.x

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Resources:

 

Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/

My Goodreads profile (link here.)

For a more in-depth and comprehensive take on using Goodreads, check out this free PDF: “Make Use Of: an unofficial guide to goodreads for readers and writers” by Nicole Dionisio. (Link here).

The Importance of Reading by Tawni Fagan and Nicole Holley. This 3-minute video found on YouTube is as relevant today as when it was posted.

From my library to yours, happy reading! -Elle-

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Community of Stories

Annually in the spring, the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), here in Cincinnati, offers a creative writing workshop, Community of Stories (preregistration required.)

Yesterday was their fifth annual event of Community of Stories and my fourth year attending. Setting aside writing rules, this event’s focus is to share our diverse perspectives and life stories. It joins a cross-section of our community as we come together as one with hope, support, and encouragement.

Under the guidance of writing mentors, we divvied up into small groups, each with about ten people. We had groups in poetry, fiction, and I participated in the memoir group. Comprised with many students from its school and area high-schools, this event is open to the community.

Our day encompassed writing prompts, quiet time for writing, then sharing our writing with open discussion. I’m amazed how these young students can make a first draft look like a third draft. My writing feels choppy to me if I compare myself. Rather, I realize my writing is but a jumping off point for me. More so, I learn so much from these students. Their views of our society and community, their hopes and dreams, and their desire for growth in themselves and others is an inspiration to me.

Following this group time, we all came together in the school’s auditorium. Those who wished to, shared their writing from the podium.

Each year following this Community of Stories event, SCPA publishes a chap book. Those who wish too, have their writing included in this literary journal. And each year, we wait patiently for this journal, which comes out in print shortly before our next annual get-together.

My contributions to the Community of Stories literary journals include:

2015

A Community of Stories: Seeds of Change

“Sun Catcher.”

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2016

A Community of Stories: Dream of Change

“Who?” (fictionalized memoir).

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2017

A Community of Stories: On the Wings of Change

“Transformation is About Becoming Who I Am” (reflective essay).

(and)  “Forest” (poem co-written with Isa Walker).

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2018

A Community of Stories: Speaking Our Silences

(Editor’s choice, to be determined).

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A big thank you to those who shared their day with me! -Elle-

 

 

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WIP (Work in Progress) April Update

First round of editing is finished.

With my editor, we tackled these issues:

  • Scene development. Welcome to my world, my reader-friends.
  • Parting with poetic language. Readers, what’s your take-away?
  • And showing the progression from chaos to a new way of thinking or a new set of actions.

Persistence — Power — Positive Attitude, a January post put forth what I was up against. My editor’s guidance in this editing process has been invaluable in my persistence. It has given me confidence. (Thanks, Brad!)

 

Going in to April, the copy editor with my publishing house is now working with me. This is the fine combing through word after word and phrase after phrase, while paying attention to comma and period placement, and so on and so forth. Yes, tedious. I don’t envy her job. (Thanks, Emily!)

 

Following copy editing, there are more steps ahead of us. I’m not going to future trip. Rather, I’m happy to say we are getting my book ready for you. A well-known quote by Aristotle goes like this: “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

 

Aristotle was an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist. Today, I am somebody. I did something to become who I am today. Criticism fell, and I pushed forward. Had I sat still, my life would have stayed in chaos and this book would not be happening.

 

Why I wrote my story:  People told me to get my story out in any way I could. That got me started. When recalling memories to put on paper, I couldn’t forget that when life was incredibly difficult for me, people said, “Keep the faith” or “It will be okay.” Read more, here.

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