From draft to published: Editing – the fun begins!

If you ask anyone who has written a book, they will tell you it isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s hard work, long hours alone hunched over a keyboard, pouring yourself into every word and phrase. So when you do finish that novel, and type The End, it’s celebration time, right?

Of course! But if you actually want other people to buy it and read it, you are only at the beginning of the adventure. Finishing your novel is a fantastic, life changing, and personally fulfilling experience, but it takes more than passion to get your novel out there. Especially if you are choosing to self publish.

When I finished my first novel, and realized it was going to take much more than just typing The End to make it to the bookshelves, I was quite depressed. I was emotionally exhausted, and overwhelmed about what to do next. So, like with every other obstacle I encounter in my life, I researched what to do. I read books and listened to podcasts on editing, marketing, self-publishing, traditional publishing, basically any subject that had to do with writing novels. I especially loved reading novels on writing by authors I admire.

So, after all my research, I decided on three different types of editors for my first novel: a content editor, a line editor, and a copy editor to get it print-perfect.

I’m so excited (and nervous!) because I have sent my novel to Larry Brooks for this first content editing. I have read his books, Story Engineering and Story Physics, and attended one of his full-day workshops. I admire his crystal clear understanding of what a story needs. In almost all of the books on editing I’ve read, I’ve noticed they all basically give the same advice on how to outline and craft your stories, the same advice Mr. Brooks summarizes expertly in his 6 core competencies. I don’t completely comprehend everything he teaches in his books yet, but I’m learning.

As I continue to grow as an author, I hope I will learn to feel more comfortable with this editing process. But this week, with this first big step, I am anxiously waiting for my inbox to tell me I have mail.

Happy Editing!

Heather Dyer

2015 a New Year full of possibilities!

I don’t think resolutions should only happen at the start of a new year. I think they should be happening in our lives all year around. Depending on who you ask, you can make a habit successful within six to eight weeks. So if you only make resolutions at the beginning of the year, what will you do after the first two months? If you successfully attain your resolution, what’s next? And if you are unsuccessful, what are you going to do, keep trying all year long? At the end of the year, you only will have felt that you accomplished (or not) one thing (unless you are trying to do several resolutions at one time, which is crazy).

That being said, I do think setting goals are great. We all need long term and short term goals. I just think we should do them more often than January 1st of every year. How about monthly goals? Set aside a few minutes every month to assess where you are and where you want to go, and adjust accordingly. This will be more manageable, and won’t be so overwhelming. Sometimes we set so many goals and resolutions for ourselves that we get frustrated and give up on all of them. Well, I do anyway. I find smaller, more detailed goals are less frustrating and cause less anxiety.

So here are my goals for this year:

1. Get website up and running. Use Blue Host/WordPress. January.

2. Get mailing list going with Mail Chimp. By February.

3. Self-publish 2 books (a series of two that I’ve been working on for a few years). March/May.

4. Finish the second series. Prepare for publishing. June/July/August/September.

5. NaNoWriMo 2015 – this will be the fourth year for me. I love the short term intense goal of writing 50,000 words in a month. This should start a third series or standalone book. November.

6. Research Audiobooks and foreign rights. All year.

7. Attend at least 1 writing conference/retreat/comic con this year.

8. Read, Read, Read! I have many stacks of books around the house that are screaming to be read this year! When I’m writing I can only read a book every week or two, but when I’m just editing or researching I can usually get through 2 novels a week. The use of Audiobooks has really helped me enjoy more of my favorite books – I listen to them to and from work.

The other point to remember when making goals or resolutions are to make them reasonable. A year or two ago there is no way I would even dream about setting goals like these. I just wasn’t ready yet. This year, I have learned the discipline to write just about every day, my health is good and cooperating with me, and I have a great network of family and friends to support me.

So, here’s to an awesome 2015!

Read. Write. Create!