Monday, 30 January 2017

Taking Time Out to Recharge and Reconnect

I’ve written several times about the benefits of taking time out from work to appreciate the relaxing freedom of a nice walk and/or a deep breath or two, especially where you find yourself in the good company of mature trees, flowing water, rain, wind, and unbroken vistas that enable you to look into the distance to better appreciate perspective, and simply to give your head a break from the hard focus of writing and editing.
I add to that, family. And I include close friends in that category. Though we often breathe a sigh of relief at escaping family for a few welcome hours of creative work, it’s essential that we get away from the grindstone to spend time with family and/or friends. Good advice, in my opinion, which I managed to put to good use over the weekend. I put my red pen down, closed my laptop, and took a 737 across the Irish Sea to spend quality time with my beautiful son and his lovely wife and daughter.
To say it was a breath of fresh air would be the understatement of the month. We chat all the time, but don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like. No better reason to make the best of a three-night stay, packing in family indoor and outdoor time, enjoying chats, discussing reading and writing with my word-hungry granddaughter, powerwalking through the nearby woods – searching for suitable natural-wood perches for my son’s budgie, Papa. Needless to say, my clean-eating regime got left in Ireland, and rightly so – I’ll write about hot chocolate pizza another time.

Being a freelance editor can be a bit of a funny old business. I’m always busy, working on first edits, or second or third returns, but one minute my immediate calendar had more free space than a field of prime grass in the middle of summer, then I’m booked up to July, with many other writers hinting in the near distance that they like what’s going on with my website and blog, plus, of course, many of my groovy clients continue to refer me to their writing friends and associates, which I really do appreciate (I reward this behaviour with good discount). It’s brilliant to have the work, and to have such positive feedback across the indie-writing spectrum. I’m delighted with it, especially so because I’m doing something that I love, and it’s wonderful to see so much original writing developed and released to the world.
And now I’m back in the land of saints and scholars, stuffed with love (and choc pizza), just itching to get back to work and what I do best, collaborating with indie writers to develop their hard-worked fiction and memoir, honing and polishing it until it’s ready to take the proverbial leap into the ever-expanding universe of the publishing world. My heart is full of love, my mind is well rested, and now I’m ready to go. If you have a work-in-progress that you’d like me to take a look at, send me a chapter and I’ll provide a free sample edit. After that, it’s up to you, but you know you’ll be in good company. Be sure to check out my website and blog, too.
My email address: clearviewediting@gmail.com

 

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Doing It Like A Boss


Almost everybody has New Year resolutions, generally aspiring to lead a healthier life, especially after the feasting and partying of the holiday period. It’s a time for taking a more positive attitude to your day, from getting out more, maybe walking or cycling, going for a swim and sauna, or maybe even improving how you perceive people and events surrounding you.
Whatever you do, becoming more involved and striving to meet objectives is an important aspect of the New Year approach. This is particularly true for writers, who are always involved in one project or another, whether that’s through actual writing or by getting out for that walk and daydreaming your way into your next chapter, action scene, or plot twist.
It’s about being active. We’re all well aware of the old adage – bums on seats – and we know only too well that nothing productive happens without the commitment to place ourselves in that seat, whether it’s typing or writing – nothing gets done by allowing distraction rule the roost.
That’s why you need to set a schedule that will at least box you into a potentially productive timeline. If your writing day starts after your work day has finished, you’re going to have to be strong as an ox so you don’t fall to the temptation of lounging on the couch in front of the demon television. TV kills productivity, as does the internet. Turn both off and banish yourself to a place where distraction takes a backseat.
If you’re a fulltime writer, then you have no excuses when it comes to timing your writing blocks from early morning. My workday schedule, as an editor, has me on the job by 7am, putting in two-hour blocks before allowing myself a break for a snack or to simply stretch the legs and eyeballs. As a writer, possibly working to a deadline, you need to be as disciplined, pushing through problems, even dumping material that’s just not doing it for you and starting again. You need to get into a strong working habit that will see you producing on a regular basis.
If you’re in a busy household, lock yourself in your room, or place a sign on the door, making it clear you’re not to be disturbed. Wear earphones and play suitable tunes if you’re easily distracted by youngsters or lonely buddies scratching at your door. Do what it takes to ensure you’re in a positive working environment, knowing that when you finish one writing block you’ll feel a real sense of achievement and will be rearing to leap into the next one.
Be positive, be disciplined, be productive. Take your desire to complete an objective by the proverbial horn and do it. Simple as – accept no excuses from your lazy self. Be your own instigator and do it like a boss, because that's what you are, your own boss. Now, go write, and when you’ve completed that novel, send me a chapter and a synopsis to clearviewediting@gmail.com for a free sample edit. Good luck!
 

Friday, 23 December 2016

Recommended Holiday Reading

It's the holidays, and what better way to relax than to sit back and read some of the best Indie writing going around. Goes without saying that I'm going to recommend authors whose work I've enjoyed, but rest assured I wouldn't suggest something I'd not read myself. Thriller, fantasy, paranormal, horror, romance, crime-caper, historical, even a few Irish fairies, and not forgetting the odd ninja - all here for your festive pleasure. Check out the links and see what piques your interest. Whatever you buy, don't forget to leave a review after reading. Enjoy! ;-)


Ray Ronan - Thriller/Paranormal
https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Ray+Ronan

T Hammond - Paranormal/Fantasy
https://www.amazon.co.uk/T.-Hammond/e/B00BS93JK0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1482511302&sr=1-1

S.K Nicholls - Crime-caper
https://www.amazon.co.uk/S.K.-Nicholls/e/B00C8EX4GS/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1482511418&sr=1-2-ent

Amy Tierney - Irish Romance
https://www.amazon.co.uk/days-hath-September-Calendar-Days-ebook/dp/B015P642OS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482511494&sr=1-1&keywords=Amy+Tierney

Mary T Bradford - Romance/Western/Erotica
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-T-Bradford/e/B00XVZG61I/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1482511574&sr=1-2-ent

Frank Parker - Historical/Literary
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Frank-Parker/e/B0076JVE5I/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1482511664&sr=1-2-ent

Carol Ervin - Historical/Sci-Fi
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Carol-Ervin/e/B0094IOERY/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1482511767&sr=1-2-ent

Phillipa Vincent Connolly - Historical
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Phillipa-Vincent-Connolly/e/B00DUWA4GU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1482511928&sr=1-1

Mitch Lavander - Zombies and much, much more.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Mitch+Lavander

Kieran Fanning - Teen Ninjas!
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kieran-Fanning/e/B0034PYCXY/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1482512223&sr=1-2-ent

Daniel Kaye - Vampires!
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Daniel-Kaye/e/B00BJMP7WY/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1482512502&sr=1-2-ent

Pat McDermott - Irish fairies and so much more.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pat-McDermott/e/B002U6E8NW/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1482513582&sr=1-2-ent








Friday, 28 October 2016

Setting the Editing Process in Train


Setting the Editing Process in Train
If you’re a writer currently in the process of developing a project, and your ultimate objective is to have it published, there will come a time when you’ll need to find a professional editor to bring it to a stage where it’s ready to prepare for release.
There are many editors out there so it’s in your interest to make a shortlist and send off a chapter for a free sample edit. This sample will help you decide whether or not to take things further with a specific editor. In my eyes, it’s the only way to go before making that decision. Word of mouth is great, but even with a reference from another writer, there’s nothing better than actually seeing how an editor brings your work to a new level.
Your work – a novel, memoir, whatever – deserves to be the recipient of a comprehensive editing package. A copyedit or proofread does not constitute a full edit. Nothing less than a deep-tissue line edit will get to the base of your project’s woes. Every aspect of the writing is reviewed at this stage, with nothing passing to the next level without being scrutinised to the nth.
Once that phase has been completed and edits applied, then the copyedit begins, ensuring the updated draft stands confidently on its own feet. Editing at this stage is more about surface fixes, ensuring old and new gel together, and that nothing has fallen through the cracks from first to second edit.
When the author receives the copyedit back, the heightened script-clarity often evokes surprise, akin to first seeing the inside of a new-build after viewing it for so long as a dusty building site. The strong sense of shape allows the writer see the light through the ‘release’ door.
The next stage is the thorough proofread, creating copy clean enough to send on its way. Once that’s complete, all that’s required is the pulling together of blurb, cover-design, formatting, and the zillion other bits and pieces associated with pre-release preparation. You’ll have put that in train during the waiting periods of the editing process.
Any good editor is a busy one, which means that scheduling more often than not comes into play. Sometimes it might take a couple of months or more before your edit begins, but once the process activates, there’s no looking back and it won’t be long before you have the completed package in hand.
How does it begin? By sending in a sample chapter. Choose yours and send it to clearviewediting@gmail.com and I’ll get back to you with a free sample edit that will allow you see what I can do to help bring your project to the world at large. If it works for you, we can have a chat and move on from there. I look after my clients so you won’t regret it.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Time to Exhale


It’s Sunday morning and I’m taking a few minutes out of my busy schedule to share the joy I experienced recently of getting away from it all to spend a wonderful long weekend with lifelong writer friends off in the fantastic isolation of Eyeries in West Cork.

Being a busy editor, I don’t get much time to write my own material, or as much time as I’d like. This weekend, however, saw a total focus on that one endeavour, made all the better being in the company of some exceptional people, all warriors of the word, and the world, and all with minds and hearts open to experience and learning, willing to step into spaces and onto levels many would run from.
We rented a gorgeous house on a hill, overlooking a bay that provided an exceptional variety of seascape atmospheres and awe-inspiring sunsets that took the breath away and provided constant inspiration for several souls hungry to gather it in and fill pages with the magic of it all.
We walked the black-sand beach and mooed at sentinel cows, watched diving cormorants do their hunting thing in the crashing surf, and sat spellbound in a mystical environment of the senses, the only distraction our ever-increasing awe at being a guest of the universe.
And at night, we’d step outside into the pitch-black and crane our necks in silent disbelief at the overwhelming clarity of the Milky Way. What a sight for a city boy who grew up in constant light, with the rare view of a handful of stars on a good night. I was stunned, and that’s putting it mildly. I tried so hard to get shots with my camera, but nothing but the best could have captured the glory of this experience. I swear, my heart was in my mouth with the joy of it – I’ve never felt so open and held in my life – for that time I was in the zone, a solid member of the cosmos, connected to everything the universe had to offer.

What a weekend. We chatted, ate way too much, even had a tipple or two, but most of all we took time to exhale and appreciate the time we had – to soak it all up, to put pen to paper, and then to share what we’d captured, and I didn’t have to edit a single word from anyone’s work but my own. You can’t get better than that. Well, maybe another weekend in the not too distant future.
Now, time to get back to the grindstone. If you have a work-in-progress and plan to submit it for a professional edit, visit my website to get a better idea of my services and what I’m about, then send a sample chapter to clearviewediting@gmail.com for a free sample edit. You won’t regret it.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Knock On Your Own Creative Door



How many times have you sat, fingers poised over your keyboard, and cried internally for forgiveness from your absent muse? And while you know you didn’t actually do anything to offend the keyholder to your inspiration bank, you’re not taking any chances – just the idea that you’re kowtowing to your lord and master of the word gives you the kind of hope experienced by some poor soul hanging off a cliff-edge by their blistered fingertips.

You wonder is your muse really exclusive to you, or is she constantly on call, busy flitting from one struggling writer to another? How many scribes does she have in her stable? A handful wouldn’t be too bad – she’d have time to get to everyone and still make it home for dinner. But maybe yours has a dozen or more fretting aspirants, all teetering on the edge, striving for a firmer grasp on a visual, even a word, that will fuel this session and propel them onto a new path filled with unlocked doors to wonderful new worlds.

Such a struggle. The stress of just sitting there, waiting, striving to connect with an abstract morsel, reaching beyond madness until you can’t take it anymore and give it all up for another cup of tea or coffee and the thought that being a nuclear physicist might have been a more productive career option.

 
Why put yourself through so much unnecessary turmoil? I know from my own experience how the whole ‘waiting for your muse’ thing goes. It doesn’t. That’s the unpalatable reality. Waiting will get you nowhere fast, whereas chasing down that elusive git will place you in the centre of your creative arena. You are your own muse. You are the creator of your own ideas, the hunter of wild and dangerous visuals, the instigator of imaginative scenarios, the lord and master of your words and how they gel together into magical shapes of your own making.

Of your own making – that’s the important phrase. If you wait, you’re not a responsible writer. Actually, you’re not a writer, because waiters do nothing but…wait, not to mention suffer with all the stress involved. No, it’s time to don the gladiatorial garb of the word warrior and step up to the line – your line – that symbolises the beginning of your proactive campaign to write, to scratch your mark on that blank page, to pound those keys until you’ve sweated sense into the tumble of words emanating from your frothing mind.

 
It doesn’t matter a jot what you write about. You’ve been hovering over nothingness for way too long now, the very action of putting words down creates its own momentum. Just write, but endeavour to heighten your language, lifting your words from their everyday status. Instil life into your description of the scene outside your window, a photograph of your loved one, the memory of something ordinary that might very well become extraordinary with a little consideration. Adding colour and texture to the simplest of concepts will bring them to life and might even provide you with a nugget that you can shape into an idea that has legs. It’s the legs that matter. They’ll take you forward, and forward momentum is a million times more progressive than sitting in your shadow waiting for inspiration to come knocking.

Knock on your own creative door. You never know who might answer.

Friday, 8 July 2016

The Benefits of Positive Networking



I like Twitter, and I enjoy putting myself out there and interacting with like-minded people. I’m usually too busy, to be honest, to regularly expand my social-media platform, so when work permits I enjoy going through the selection ‘offered’ by Twitter. I generally lean towards writers and bloggers, but if someone’s profile catches my eye, I’ll usually follow.

It’s a three-day thing for me, basically meaning that if someone I’ve pinged doesn’t follow me back within three days, I simply unfollow. It’s not an ego thing on my part – if a person doesn’t want to follow me, I’ve no problem with that, but I prefer my relationships on Twitter to be as mutual as possible, with a bit of positive interaction going on, initiating a tit-for-tat of likes and retweets and helping each other to network and spread the word, whatever that may be on the day.

Then I ‘sit back’ and enjoy the activity that comes from my little targeting campaign. Over the first day I’ll get a flurry of follow-backs. This’ll keep me entertained by going in and retweeting the pinned tweet of each new profile, which usually evokes one of mine being retweeted in return. Reciprocation is a wonderful way to develop fresh Twitter relationships and will often encourage unsolicited retweets that set the cycle off again.

The good thing about reactive tweeting is how it fixes the tweeter’s identity in my mind. That can’t be such a bad thing in a cyber world of millions where it’s easy to slip into oblivion, when all you’re trying to do is read good material, share what you like with a few others, and get your own message out there.

An added bonus is that Twitter’s algorithms react to my heightened activity by suggesting me to others, more than they usually do, because I receive a few ‘extra’ unrelated followers over those two or three days.

Anyway, when I start my little expansion ‘campaign’ – usually once a month, I’ll generally follow up to forty profiles, and over the next three days about half will follow me back. That’s not such a bad return. So, on the third day, I run through my list and simply unfollow those good folk who weren’t feeling my love. No harm done or felt, and I end up with twenty or so new tweeters to hopefully develop a worthwhile connection with. It works for me.

If you’re a writer or blogger, visit my profile and, if you follow me, I’ll return the gesture.