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5 Things an Editing Tool Taught Me That Might Help You

Today’s guest post is by Kathy Edens.

I spent four years in college working hard to achieve my bachelor’s in professional writing. I say this humbly because it’s certainly no great feat. In fact, using an editing tool for the past year has taught me things about my writing I didn’t learn in four years of college.

If you haven’t tried one out yet, an editing tool like ProWritingAid uses computer algorithms to compare your writing to hundreds of thousands of examples of published writing by great writers and authors. It then suggests ways you can make your writing more readable, and points out technical edits for stronger, more concise writing.

Its strength isn’t in finding grammar errors (though it does that too); rather, it’s in picking out those sentence structures or word choices that make your writing sound awkward or clunky. Continue Reading…

4 Ways Writers Can Be Productive When Their Energy Sags

We’ve been looking at biology: the “B” in the Productivity ABCs. To be a super-productive writer, you need to first “know thyself.” Taking a look at your natural biological ups and downs, learning when you have peak energy and concentration, is needed in order to make adjustments in your life and schedule so you can crank out books.

I hope you read last week’s post that explained what your biological prime time is and how to determine those hours when you’ll be most productive. This is the first step. Most of us “kind of know” when we can do our best writing. But I’m urging you to go deeper and broader with this analysis so that you can streamline your daily schedule, overall, to be the most productive and the happiest in your writing pursuits.

Forcing yourself to write when you just aren’t at your peak, and then laying on the guilt when you don’t produce good work or enough pages, is self-destructive. We’ve touched a bit on attitude (though we’ll circle back around to it later), and you’ve seen how important it is to change the negative self-talk into positive, and that it takes work to break out of those habits.

All this may take some time and work, so be patient and just start somewhere. Continue Reading…

Memoir or Novel—Should You Fictionalize Your Life?

Today’s post is by David Berner.

Ernest Hemingway did it with The Sun Also Rises. Jack Kerouac did it with On the Road. Nora Ephron did it with Heartburn. Carrie Fischer did it with Postcards from the Edge. And Tim O’Brien did it with one of the most celebrated books in the last thirty years, The Things They Carried.

Each of these and many others not mentioned here are of the genre that’s come to be categorized as autobiographical fiction.

These are novels in the broadest sense of the word but based on hard truths, some more full of facts than others, and some so close to the truth they could be labeled memoir.

O’Brien’s Pulitzer Prize finalist is based on his time spent serving in the Vietnam War, but the author has always been quick to remind us that the book is not memoir. He has admitted some of the stories are completely made up. Still, he argues that the untruths in The Things They Carried are many times truer than the real thing. Continue Reading…