Try These Writing and Editing Processes… Your Time Is Money

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In the long run, separating the writing and editing process, setting a timer just to write, and avoiding distractions can end up saving you time and money.  We’re all busy and try to multitask everything we do, but sometimes it just doesn’t pay to try to combine doing everything at one time because we end up going back and starting over again. When I write, I find I need my brain’s undivided attention!

Write First; Edit Second.

One common trait many writers and authors wrestle with is disconnecting the writing and editing process.  I struggled with this for years; if I knew something was not correct while writing or typing, I immediately went back and corrected it so I wouldn’t forget to change it later, but realized at some point that I was losing time, and let’s face it, time is money. After years of doing this, I finally started writing the article or blog, etc. and then editing. “Letting go” of this was excruciating for me, to say the least! My advice: Put all your thoughts down on paper or type them on the computer and then revise the grammar, duplication of word usage, incorrect spelling, etc.

Wait to Write Your Introduction.

Introductions are hard to write so if you struggle with your introduction just start writing your first key point from your outline and then after you write your chapter, article, blog, etc. go back and compose your introduction.

Set a Timer.

I’ve mentioned this before in different “writings” but it’s a great habit to start no matter what type of business you are working with; i.e., coaches, speakers, lawyers, Fortune 500, etc. When you determine the length of time you want to write, set a timer and write. You decide the amount of time – 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 60 minutes – it’s up to you, but during this time, until the buzzer sounds – write. Focus on writing; no checking email, making phone calls, checking Twitter or Facebook, cleaning off your desk, etc. Write.

Keep Moving.

What? I mean keep writing even if you want to edit as you are writing. This is one habit I have really worked on; however, it’s a struggle, but I have found that if I keep writing and edit later, I do save time. I have a system for notes or information I don’t want to forget about; I highlight the area and mark it with bold letters. You could try this or write a note to yourself or use {brackets} to record your notes and come back later and edit the material.

DD – Duck Distractions!

It’s difficult enough to write when you aren’t interrupted, but constant interference can play havoc with your writing progress. Some helpful hints to DD:

  • Tell people you are writing and need to concentrate; give them the hours you are not available.
  • Turn off Skype, Twitter updates, your cell phone, office phone ringer, etc.
  • Find a quiet place – a place you can close the door, or perhaps a go to a quiet park or the beach.
  • Put on a pair of headphones – people will think you are listening to something (even if you aren’t) and less likely to disturb you.

I post tips and suggestions on Facebook and received the following comments from two people:

Introductions: Michelle Campbell from Forte Virtual Support Solutions:

“This is a great tip, Colleen. I always do this. I rarely start from the beginning and finish at the end. I jump around from section to section and point to point, especially when I get inspired to discuss a particular point. It’s much more difficult to write if you force yourself to stick to an outline you create.”

DD – Duck Distractions: Patti Cooper from Big Sky Social Media Management:

“I find it very difficult to concentrate when working from home, there’s always someone around. I usually just go in the bedroom and close the door. But the headphone idea is a great one. I’ll be trying that now, thanks for sharing!”

What steps do you take to Duck Distractions?

My tip for you – keep moving along when you write, and edit when you have finished your article, blog, chapter, etc. See what happens. You might find you are more productive and the system works better than editing as you write.  What are some of your tips and tricks? I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Colleen

The Easiest Way to Start Your Book Today

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Welcome back readers.

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I want to write a book?” Or, maybe you’ve heard an increasingly large number of entrepreneurs are writing books and you want to jump on the train. Maybe you want to spread your story and expand your audience beyond your current clientele. We’ve heard these types of comments and questions from many people and we are here to help. Over the past month we have put together a guide for authors, speakers, coaches, and businesses owners to start the book they’ve always wanted to write.

Today I’ll break down what we created and why we sectioned it out the way we did. From the first day of writing to finding your readers’ problems to brainstorming ideas for your cover and everything in between, we have you covered.

What we did?

Making it easier to start your book!

“Ten Simple Steps to Discover the Book Inside You” is our way to help people who want to write a book but do not understand where to start. One of the hardest parts of writing a book is starting. Newton’s first law, as stated probably one too many times outside of the field of physics, still holds true – “An object in motion stays in motion, an object at rest stays at rest.”  The aim of our guide is to help writers to just start, to create a certain time to write in a creative place, and to begin planning the entire process of writing, publishing, and marketing their future book.

Each manuscript goes through three main processes, which you have probably heard from us before: writing, publishing, and marketing. We divided our ten days into three, three-day blocks tackling the three tasks in each period block. But, that only adds up to nine days. The last day, and in our opinion the most important day, is the day in which we encourage our writers to take the time to plan out the rest of their book, and to take the next step forward.

If you want to learn a bit more about how to start writing your book, download “Ten Simple Steps to Discover the Book Inside You” today and begin your path to publication. Or, if you know of someone interested in writing a book, please share this post with them. We appreciate it! 

Until next week,

Peter

Ten Simple Steps to Discover the Book Inside You

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Announcing Telesummit Experts and Topics, Oh My!

We’re excited to announce the experts and their topics for our Capstone Telesummit event on April 1. We’ve extended the day since we have two bonus experts sharing their information! The hours are now 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST. If you can’t make the entire day, that’s okay; all audio is recorded and we’ll send it to everyone whether you’re online all day or not. That way, you can go back and absorb the material at your leisure!

The next segment of the Teleseminar, “It’s More Than Just Words,” is Thursday, March 10, 2016, at 4:00 PM. “See” you there. Thanks to the following experts. We couldn’t have accomplished this without you!

We’re Grateful For:

Michelle Arbore

Social media marketing for authors; what works for fiction might not work for nonfiction writers.

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Diana Ennen

Best-Selling Author and PR Expert Shares What It Takes to Market A Book; the Pitfalls to Avoid and How to Create Magic for Sales.

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Kay Fittes

From Speaker to Author – The Author’s Guide to Creating Confidence and Credibility.

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Beverley Golden

During her interview, Beverley discusses how “writing was the easiest part. It was the editing, publishing, and marketing where most of the energy was spent.”

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Tonya Hofmann

How being published establishes credibility as a speaker, what publishers expect, and once you’re published it’s another avenue of revenue!

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James Ranson

Comprehensive Book Plans: Why You Need One to Create a High-Quality Book.

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Michelle Scappace

Authors Can’t Do It Alone; Your Focus is Writing. PVAAs Have Training and Expertise, Provide Guidance, and Encouragement…

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Janica Smith

Self-Publishing Options: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

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Janica Smith and Michelle Scappace are also going to talk with us about how authors can find a certified PVAA and the benefits of someone taking their course through Instruction Smith to become a certified PVAA.

For more information on our experts, visit their sites and also sign up through our expert page!

There’s an extra bonus for you too – Sign up before March 15 and receive all recordings of our audio, all freebies, and one hour of coaching with Colleen and Peter. We can discuss your book, your process of writing, where you’re at and where you might want to go, clear up any objectives or goals… But, the deadline is March 15. What’s stopping you? Your book; It’s More Than Just Words!

2015’s Top Blog Posts

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Hey there readers!

As the year comes to a close we take the time to review what this year has given to us. Starting our new adventure this year we decided our review would be a quick and helpful recap of our top five blog posts. If this is your first read we hope you enjoy these next few articles and discover something useful, and if you are a returning reader you might be reminded of something you read or missed the first time around.

5. Five Approaches to Editing; Keep it Fun

When it comes to editing and proofreading, there are many factors to consider. When writing, the main goal is to make sure the message is communicated clearly and effectively. The purpose of the writing project should be known from the very beginning. But what happens when poor grammar and minor mistakes are in the way? The message is lost and the errors distract the readers. Remember the suggested approaches below to avoid common writing errors and keep your audience interested: [Read More] 

4. Five Time-Saving Tools for Every Business Owner

As a business owner, there are many tasks you perform every day. How can you save yourself time on daily jobs? Here is a list of some great tools you can use to save time and energy working on your business. [Read More]

3. Tips for Aspiring Authors

You want to write a book, but you’re not quite sure you have the skills or what you say would be of interest to people. What should you do?  Below are some suggestions to help that aspiring writer in you take shape and write the book within you: [Read More]

2. Six Articles Every Facebook User Should Read

A Collection Of The Best Articles About Facebook

In a 2014 study, the Pew Research Center stated that 57% of American adults use Facebook. With numbers like this, it’s no wonder why some of the largest companies use Facebook to interact with their customers.

Whether you are a large multi-billion dollar company, or a small start-up business, or an individual, Facebook is almost a necessity in today’s world to “stay in touch.” If you are new to the world of Facebook, you might have a few questions about how to appropriately set up your account to maximize your social reach and ROI.

Many a blogger has created their own guide on how to best use Facebook and today I am sharing articles from some of the best sites on how to best use Facebook and all of its features. [Read More]

1. The Four Top Reasons Authors Need a Professional Virtual Author’s Assistant

Yes, most of us would like to think we are superhuman when, in reality, deep down we know we aren’t! Shocking, I know… [Read More]

Now we hope you learned something new. Stayed tuned next year for even more great articles to read.  If you are looking at writing yourself more this upcoming year visit us on Facebook and join our 14-Day Writing Adventure starting early 2016. Write blogs or a book or a newsletter each day. We can provide insights and thoughts if you would like and if you get a bit stuck, we will have a new writing prompt up each day to help you with ideas.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year,

Peter M. Wietmarschen
M. Colleen Wietmarschen

Five Approaches to Editing; Keep it Fun!

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When it comes to editing and proofreading, there are many factors to consider. When writing, the main goal is to make sure the message is communicated clearly and effectively. The purpose of the writing project should be known from the very beginning. But what happens when poor grammar and minor mistakes are in the way? The message is lost and the errors distract the readers. Remember the suggested approaches below to avoid common writing errors and keep your audience interested:

Always write in the active voice

  • Active and passive voice can be used in any type of writing. However, active voice is the clearest. As you proofread your writing, pay attention to verb usage; is the subject of the sentence “performing” the action or is it “receiving” the action? Keep your subject at the beginning of the sentence instead of the end to alleviate this problem and maintain a consistent level of writing.
  1. Passive voice: Those shoes were purchased by me.
  2. Active voice: I purchased those shoes.

Read your writing out loud

  • If you read your piece of writing silently, it is very easy to ignore grammar mistakes. Because we know our intentions and what we are trying to say, it is easy for us to ignore these errors. Once we slow down and read our writing out loud, we find those mistakes that could distract the audience. We can hear the missing words, mechanical issues, redundancies, etc. You don’t have to read your project to anyone else, just yourself!

Check for redundancies

  • Have you ever found yourself repeating words or ideas in your writing? This happens to us all! As you read through your first draft, highlight any words that repeat or sentences that are similar to one another. You may find that you can combine your ideas into one sentence and use a thesaurus to change your word choice.

Read backwards

  • This probably sounds like a strange approach, but it is very useful when trying to catch spelling mistakes! By reading backwards, you are able to isolate your language and how it is used. You will notice individual words instead of your key ideas. Keep in mind this will not help if you are checking for gaps in the content.

Interview yourself

  • Now is your chance to be the investigative reporter lurking inside of you! (Is that just my fantasy?) After you have checked for grammar and spelling errors, read your piece of writing again and focus on your overall message. Ask yourself questions like these:
  1. Did I give enough details to prove my purpose?
  2. Do I sound credible? Have I included enough research or factual information to prove my points?
  3. Is there extra information I can remove?
  4. Did I contradict my own ideas?

These are just a few of my tips and tricks to help you during the editing process. Try a few or all of them to see which will work best for you! Just remember the most important rule of thumb: state your purpose clearly to help your audience understand your writing, and remember to have fun!

Until next time,

Colleen

 

Tips for Aspiring Authors

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You want to write a book, but you’re not quite sure you have the skills or what you say would be of interest to people. What should you do?  Below are some suggestions to help that aspiring writer in you take shape and write the book within you:

  1. Join a writer’s club.There are many local writing clubs. Find one in your city or near you that suits your needs. I used to belong to a group of aspiring authors and a published author guided the group. We met every other week. She provided different types of writing assignments each time we met whether it was a poem, research for our proposed book, or a creative writing assignment. Then, the next time we met we shared our “homework” and the group critiqued our work. Talk about intimidating and putting yourself out there! But, we learned from each other!
  2. Subscribe to online or hard-copy author subscriptions, i.e., Writer’s DigestThis is one example of a journal which you can receive online or via mail. Writer’s Digest publishes the magazine six times a year. It is chockfull of information on how you can improve your writing skills, how you can enter writing contests, where you can find writing retreats, which tools help writers, and much more.
  3. Start your own writing blog. Peter and I are starting a new creative writing blog – “AteCourseMeal.com” which will be “live” soon. We are doing it for a few reasons. We have a group of friends who eat out weekly on Friday nights (Fab Friday) and we unwind from the week, catch up with friends, and eat at “out-of-the-way places.” No chain restaurants. We are highlighting what’s great about the mom-and-pop restaurants around town and during our travels, and we are sending the restaurants some publicity. We’re also going to publish our homemade recipes and more. Stay tuned! But the idea is we love cooking and critiquing food, we enjoy eating out and during the course of writing the blog, we’ll improve our writing skills and what better way than by writing about something we are passionate about. We chose food. What are you passionate about:  cooking, sports, gardening, music, etc. – whatever comes to mind. The main thing is to write often. Two options for free blogs are WordPress or Weebly.
  4. Improve your vocabulary, spelling, and grammar.  Having a broad vocabulary means you don’t need to use the same words over and over; you have language depth and that makes the story interesting.  Spelling and grammar – so many people believe because you have spelling and grammar check on your computer that you are “safe” from mistakes. This couldn’t be further from the truth. One example is homonyms. Homonyms such as their, they’re, and there are so often mistaken and misspelled – they don’t mean the same thing and when written incorrectly in writing it changes the entire meaning of a sentence. Knowing how to spell properly is essential if you want to become an outstanding writer. Excellent grammar is another must for writing; if you don’t understand sentence structure the material will be so difficult for your readers to comprehend you’ll lose them very early in the story. An excellent source for a grammar tune up is www.grammargirl.com.
  5. Grab the attention of your readers. Express your excitement and passion in as few words as possible to excite your audience and secure their attention. Let their mind see the story you are telling them.

Which tip did you identify with the most? Which one are you going to make a commitment to starting so you can begin the path to write your book or article? Let Pete and me know and we’ll be happy to help you start the process.

Until next time,

Colleen

The Four Top Reasons Authors Need a Professional Virtual Author’s Assistant

[Part of this information taken from the Virtual Author’s Assistant Program.]

Four Top Reasons 9.2015

Yes, most of us would like to think we are superhuman when, in reality, deep down we know we aren’t! Shocking, I know…

Authors can’t do it alone:

  • Your focus is WRITING
  • Our focus is organizing the process

Special Training & Expertise:

  • We understand the methods/industry/technology
  • We have industry resources and connections

Collaborative Synergy:

  • You/We win with excellent communication skills
  • We provide guidance and encouragement
Guiding You Each Step of the Way

We help you #WriteYourWay by providing worry-free writing. Your attention should be concentrating on the characters, the plot, and the flow. We organize all the tasks surrounding the successful completion, publishing, and marketing of a book. All successful authors have an author’s assistant, and first-time authors can have one too – virtually!

Below are the four biggest reasons an author’s assistant is an essential member of the author’s success team:

  1. There is too much work for one person. So many new or aspiring authors have day jobs and this is what they must do until their writing pays the rent. Until an author can clone him or herself, he or she must rely on others to help carry the load.
  2. An author’s assistant has special expertise. From preparing a manuscript to writing a book proposal to coordinating the self-publishing process to running a virtual book tour or an Amazon best seller campaign, an author’s assistant can do this and much more.
  3. The cost is greater when you do it yourself. There is a high learning curve for anyone who has never made the publishing journey. Whether the author is paid $70 an hour or $270 an hour as a coach, therapist, attorney, or entrepreneur, the author’s assistant is a tremendous value at a much lower per-hour cost. With an author’s assistant the author has the freedom to concentrate on those things only the author can do, especially writing the best book he or she can. Expect to pay from $30 to $60 an hour (and it goes higher with greater expertise) for a qualified virtual assistant.
  4. Synergy and collaboration. An author’s assistant is there to help you take each step so precious little time goes by between your writing and preparation for publishing and marketing. If you set the date, the author’s assistant will be there with support and encouragement to help you make it happen.

Most people who start working with a virtual assistant are hooked. One of the keys to success is to have clarity about the tasks you need completed and the payment arrangements – and then put them in a contract. Another key is to find someone with demonstrated training and experience since the first-time author may be in the dark about what tasks are actually needed.

Take it from the established successful authors, don’t go it alone. Find the support you need and you will be well on your way to publishing success.

If you have questions about the manuscript process, the traditional or self-publishing process, or where, what, when, or how to market after publishing, ask us and we’ll be glad to help.

Until next time,

Colleen
M. Colleen Wietmarschen (MCW)

Five Tips for Organizing Electronic Writing Files

It’s “National Love Your Files” week so I’m putting together some videos and other tidbits of information to help you come up with your own system or use some of my hints. Love your files – organize them and you’ll love yourself when you’re searching for important client work or a draft of an article you want to publish, etc.

Life and business really is more relaxing when we’re organized so I’ve put together a video for organizing your electronic writing files. I know, I know, after a long day who wants to organize files, but if you have the folders in place and make a habit of putting the files in the correct folder as you save them you are way ahead of the game.

Here are my folder suggestions but feel free to name yours for whatever works for you:

Writing Folder

  1. Notes & Ideas
  2. Progress
  3. Completed
  4. Feedback
  5. Research

What’s your process for organizing your writing or other electronic files? Pete and I look forward to hearing from you.

It’s finally here… Launch Day!

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MCW and The Literary Prose is finally here… for you!

Welcome to mcolleenwietmarschen.com – the site for helping you #WriteYourWay and complete your worry-free writing as we provide encouragement and guidance doing what we do best! The Literary Prose is the name of our professional virtual author’s assistant program. I’ve been studying for my certification and I’m almost ready to take the exam, but we can help you now guiding you each step of the way in your writing process – no matter what that means to you. Are you ready to publish your completed manuscript? Are you starting your manuscript but aren’t sure of where to go, what to do, what is needed…? Do you need assistance with your book marketing plan? That’s what a PVAA does for you! Your focus is writing… Our focus is organizing the process. We’re your literary “pros.” We work with you to facilitate your writing dreams and turn them into completed goals! If you have the words inside of you and your desire is great enough, you can write that book! [Read more…]

Besides helping authors, we continue to serve our clients doing what we do best: content writing, editing/copyediting, and consulting.

If you are a speaker who needs support writing your speech, organizing your speech, or creating marketing materials, we’re here for you!

Our Great Team!

Definition of team: A group of people who come together to achieve a common goal.

Our team members (and more to come) are specifically chosen by MCW because of their ethics, the quality of their work, their communication skills, and their dedication to seeing projects to completion. I have known or worked with our team members for several years; graphic designers, marketing experts, content writers/copyeditors, website designers, and more. At MCW, our goal is to provide clients with the best work and customer service. [Read more…]

That’s it for today. More to come – VA Tips, Writing Tips, and please let us know what you are looking for! Have a great day!

M. Colleen Wietmarschen
Peter Wietmarschen

Launching Your Products and Services, Pt. 5

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Welcome to the next part of our series, “Launching Your Products and Services!” If you are new to the series, make sure you check out the other four installments of our series, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

First off, I’ll start by saying welcome back! Sorry we’ve been away for a time but we have some awesome news – we are launching our new service line on September 1! We hope you join us for all the exciting news and we can’t wait to work with you in the future. Don’t forget that we are still open for business and offering all our services including transcription, content writing, editing, proofreading, and marketing.

Now let’s not dawdle any longer and let’s dig into what we’ve accomplished in the last couple of weeks.

As you know, we are guiding you through our launch. Lately we have been doing lots to ready ourselves for September 1. The biggest part of the last few weeks has been dedicated to reworking our website. Now it is not live as you can tell, but it will be starting September 1, along with our launch. This process has taken lots of time as we are basically starting from scratch. We have been using WordPress to rebuild our website and we are excited to show off what we’ve created.

We started this process for a few different reasons:

1. We knew that we were launching a new service and we thought a new website would go hand in hand with this launch.

2. We decided to rebrand our company, M. Colleen Wietmarschen. Again we did this because we are launching a new service. This will give our company a fresh look and this fresh look requires an updated website. Be on the lookout for a more detailed blog about our new branding.

3. We have lots of creative energy around here; what better way to show our creative side than by creating a new website.

4. We hope that this design is one that will last. With the new service line we are building brand recognition; when you see our logo, you’ll know who we are, bringing to mind all the great services MCW can bring to you or your company and if you’ve worked with us before, remembering our integrity and doing the best for our clients.

Have you ever had to re-brand your company? What some of the reasons you did? Did you come across any pitfalls?

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://mcolleenwietmarschen.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Pete-sax-2014-4-use.jpg [/author_image] [author_info]Peter, a 2014 graduate of Morehead State University’s Caudill College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music. He strives to express his thoughts and ideas in a creative and professional manner. Peter is our Vice President of Operations and Marketing and a contributing writer on our site. He enjoys writing blogs which provide helpful information to readers as well as general business practices and more![/author_info] [/author]