Monday, August 6, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction--August 6, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction

August 6, 2012


One disadvantage of sending out proposals via e-mail is that you get rejections (or as our critique group calls them “pre-acceptances”) so much faster. And, to make it worse, when you send them out in the evening, you think you won’t hear anything until at least the next day. But when you send them to countries in other time zones, you can hear within the hour!

Most of our telephone calls last weekend were to and from our daughter and family in Oklahoma. The fires were about four miles from their house, and they could see thick black smoke and flames from their front door. One of their church members lost about 40 acres of land, but her horses and cattle were safe. I’ve put pix on Facebook for anyone who wants to see them. The first picture is from their front yard; the last three are where houses once stood.

Thought for Today:

"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10).

Laugh for Today:

The cub reporter was told to keep his copy short and stick to the bare facts. Sent on his first accident story, he turned in this copy: "S. White looked up the elevator shaft to see if the car was on its way down. It was. Age 45."

Top Ten Query Mistakes

Go to to read agent Rachelle Gardner’s blog on this.


Q: An editor told me to single-space my assignment with no indents in paragraphs. How do I do this?
A: First, do single-space your manuscript as instructed. Second, put a hard return (click on “enter”) only at the end of a paragraph. Third, do not indent your paragraph using a tab or spacing. Adding the hard return will indicate a new paragraph.
Donna’s note: On a normal, double-spaced manuscript, use tab for an indent. DO NOT use space bar. This makes it easier for an editor to delete tabs when desired. Also, DO NOT use space bar to reach the center of a page. Use the shortcut Ctrl e.  
Time Management Hints (continued)

Comments on last week’s hint: “On # 5, when I worked at Mary Kay as a consultant, she advised we write down the 5 things we needed to do the next day at night before going to bed. Five is an easy number to handle. I still try to do that, when I remember!” Anne Grace

And Pat Rowland writes, “I see myself in your description of personal list making. I tend to put way too many things down. A close friend told me once I couldn't set goals because I had to write them out too perfectly. That was dead on. My friend's remark was really a wake up call for me. I don't know that I'm a lot better, but I’m certainly aware of my problem now.”

On to more hints:

7. Set Goals

If you can’t write every day, set a goal of perhaps writing one article or a certain number of pages in a week. This gives you the freedom to choose which hours or days you will write. Regardless of what you hear at every writers’ conference, there is nothing magic about “two hours a day.” Don’t put yourself on a guilt trip if you have younger children or a spouse with health problems or aging parents. Can you find one afternoon or evening a week? Can you exchange child care with another writer? Can a neighbor or friend sit with your spouse or parent for a few hours while you go to the library?

Do you want to write a book? Make a list of what needs to be done before you can start
the actual writing. What research do you need to do? Who will you need to interview?
Now set a goal for each month; for example, by the end of January you'll complete
research for chapter 1. Even with limited time, you can finish this book. One page a
day, five days a week, will give you a 261-page book at the end of the year.

If you have a number of projects in mind and don’t know where to begin, make
a list and study it. Which project is the most important to you? To God? Which
book or article, story or poem, does a hurting world need today? Decide, and start

8. Organize

One author writes that we spend six weeks a year looking for things! Think of what you could do with those six weeks—organize your marketing files, write a book proposal, perhaps write a chapter or two of a book, a short story or article, read some writing books. The list goes on.

A file cabinet is the simplest method of organization. Buy one at a “crash and dent” sale;
it doesn’t matter what it looks like. Set up files for clippings (unless you have a scanner and can scan these clippings into categorized files), for ideas, for manuscripts, for sample magazines, for workshop notes, and an “A to Z” file for correspondence. Some writers work toward a “paperless” office. (The last time I did that and tossed my marketing records, my computer crashed and I had to go back and reconstruct all those records!) But however, you do it, as author/speaker Emilie Barnes says, “File, don’t pile!”

(To be continued, or you can read these hints in more detail in A Step in the Write Direction.)


“We are called to write, and I feel we will be held responsible at the Judgment for the people that we could have helped but didn’t because we didn’t write what God laid on our hearts to write” (Harold Ivan Smith).

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