Always Be Prepared

I like the old Boy Scout motto of always being prepared. There’s just something comforting about being ready for whatever crosses your path. The same can apply to our writing. You never know when you will be called upon to write about a particular topic, or when a last minute project drops in your lap. I’ve had the latter happen a few times this year when an editor asked me for an article here, a project there, that needed to be done within a few weeks.

Thankfully I’m a prepared researcher. I know how to find good facts online and in the library, so it’s just a matter of time before I’m digging up tidbits of information. I also have some great writers friends who I can call/e-mail with formatting questions, and my personal library is full of reference books to answer other technical questions.

Writing takes preparation. You need resources at your fingertips to get you moving along the path to a productive writing career. If you’re not prepared, take some time now to find sources that will help you be successful. Join writer’s groups both online and in-person, read books on writing and formatting, build yourself a network of fellow writers you can call for information, and know your way around research. Then you, too, will be prepared when those projects start rolling in.

Examining the Proofs

Last week my publisher e-mailed me the proofs for my upcoming book, The Declaration of Independence from A to Z. I was blown away by how awesome the pictures were. It will be a spectacular book when done, and it’s coming out in hardback! Wow!

After I calmed down from the excitement of seeing how my book is supposed to look, I seriously set about reading through the text to find any errors. I read it through once, then read through it again to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.

That’s when I noticed something. No, this couldn’t be right. I pulled out a copy of the Declaration and compared a line from the proof to the one in the document. It was wrong! But did I make this mistake? I checked my manuscript. Yes, it was my fault. I had inadvertently misquoted a vital line from the Declaration.

Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but the artist had incorporated my quote in his artwork. So my mistake had become his as well. The proofs check the text, from what I understand, not the art, so I was stressed. This was a crucial line and I had blown it. I sent off an e-mail that night and had a very restless sleep as I worried about the situation.

Thankfully, I didn’t need to worry. My contact at the publishing house felt it could be fixed. And I had even some interaction with the illustrator who told me if it couldn’t be done in house, then he could fix it. Yeah! The problem was easily resolved within a few hours.

No one told me how nerve-wracking getting a book published would be. There are so many situations that are new to me, so normal problems seem magnified in my eyes. But thankfully, with much prayer, I got through this problem and things are moving ahead. I’ll post the release date as soon as I get it.


Today is the first day in two months that I’ve had peace and quiet as I sat in front of my laptop. Well, it’s not exactly quiet. I hear the cars on the street and the constant spin of the dryer. But there are no other voices or TV shows or blips and beeps of computer games to distract me.

You see, my kids have all gone back to school, so I have a little quiet in my day. I have been able to work on a project for a few hours without being interrupted every so many minutes to settle a dispute or answer a question.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids and I love having them around. But it is nice to be able to sit down and be productive with my writing in just a few hours instead of a few days. I used to be able to work in all kinds of noise when I first started to write, but there is something about having no one else around that keeps those thoughts clear and those ideas flowing. I guess my brain doesn’t have to compete for attention this way.

And what perfect timing, too. I have a few deadlines I have to meet in the next few weeks that need my total attention.

How’s your productivity going?

Creative Promotion

As the release of my book The Declaration of Independence from A to Z draws near, I’ve been thinking hard of some promotional ideas. One of those is to create some short videos I can put on YouTube. I’ve already filmed and partially edited one, and I have the idea for another.

Once I get a copy of the cover, I want to make business cards and flyers that I can hand out at writer’s groups and school visits. I’m even going to have bookmarks made to hand out to the kids that will include the book’s ISBN and ordering information.

Although my book won’t be out for another 6 months or so, the time will fly by, and I must do all I can now to prepare. What are your creative promotion ideas?