Monday, February 24, 2020


By April Michelle Davis

There’s been a growing amount of discussion and tension surrounding the issue of typos and misprints appearing in major publications. The fact is just about anyone could have made these mistakes; however, these mistakes could have also just as easily been avoided. All it would have taken was an edit by a copy editor. 
An increasing number of publications are laying off copy editors to save time and money, the excuse being that copy editors slow things down as web editors and reporters are quite capable of proofreading their own work. If this were true, then why are more and more publications being called out when a writer doesn’t get a well-known fact right?
Many authors already know the value of a second set of eyes. Copy editors cannot merely be replaced by spell check. Their role extends far beyond that of “Grammar Nazi.” Copy editors are trained professionals hired to help preserve a publication’s credibility.
Some may argue that in today’s world of the internet and instant feedback, “minor” mistakes are not that big of a deal as most of them can easily and quickly be fixed. However, perhaps what it all boils down to is what publications are willing to run the risk of: losing money or obtaining embarrassment.
We would love for you to weigh in on this subject. What do you think? Do errors bother you? How important to you is it for publications to be as error-free as possible?

(Photo courtesy of and Stuart Miles.)


April Michelle Davis is a freelance editor, indexer, and proofreader. She is the coordinator for the Virginia chapter of the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA), the Social Media Marketing Expert for the National Association for Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE), and a lifetime member of the American Copy Editors Society (ACES). She teaches courses through her own company, Editorial Inspirations, as well as for associations and colleges on topics such as editing, indexing, grammar, writing, and creating macros. 

April Michelle is the author of A Guide for the Freelance Indexer, Choosing an Editor: What You Need to Know, and A Princess in Disguise. She is currently writing a third technical book. She is originally from northern Virginia and has lived in Richmond, Virginia, since 2007. 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Tips for Using Writing Time More Wisely

Last week we talked about not procrastinating ... not waiting ... not making excuses. Just writing. This week, Edie Melson shows us how to do that more effectively.

By Edie Melson

I always believed I needed at least an hour, and preferably three, to make any progress at all with my writing. 

I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

The truth is those small bits and pieces of time we all have add up to a lot. And wasting them can severely hamper our ability to meet deadlines and find success. 

Over the years, I’ve learned how to use the time I have, even if it’s just ten minutes. Today, I want to share the specific things I do to help increase my productivity when long stretches of writing time just aren't possible.

Tips for Using Writing Time More Wisely

1. Decide to use what you’ve got. This is the biggest part of the puzzle. If you wait for perfect circumstances, chances are you’ll never finish your book. Truthfully, things rarely line up. When they do—celebrate! When they don’t—just decide to work harder.

2. Do your pre-work.
 There are a couple of things I recommend you do before you start writing in those short bits of time. AND they can also be done in bits and pieces.
  • Have a road map of where your book is going. I’ve learned that I work better from a scene map (a list of all the scenes I want to include in my book). You may not have something that detailed. But you should know what you want to write about next. After you finish a scene, before you get up, make a couple of notes about where you want to go from there.
  • Have a foundation of research to build on. I take a few weeks before I start writing, to do my research and compile my notes.
3. Don’t overthink what you’re writing. Sometimes you’ve got to write junk before you can get to the good stuff. Beyond that, the only thing you can’t fix is an empty page. So put some words on the page and keep moving forward.

4. When you’re writing your first draft, don’t stop to research. When I only have fifteen minutes, I could waste all of it looking up a fact I need to know. When I come to something I need, I make a note and keep writing. I can look it up after my first draft is done and I begin editing.

5. If you’re working on revisions, make a list . . .  actually, make several. Make a list of things you need to look up. Also, make a list of scenes you need to add. By making these lists you have a road map for your revisions, and you don’t have to waste time figuring out what to do next.

These are all great tips if you’re writing a book, but what if it’s an article or something small that you’re working on? Take the principles I’ve outlined and structure your writing time, no matter what you’re working on. 

Most of all, learning to work in the bits and pieces of time that life sometimes throws us takes practice. When I first started, I spent a lot of time frustrated because what I was writing didn’t measure up. But within just a couple of weeks, my frustration lessoned and productivity increased—exponentially. 

Don’t assume you can’t work this way. When I didn’t, I lost years of productivity. Instead, take a chance and learn how to keep moving forward.

Now, I’d love to find out what tips you have to work in less than ideal circumstances.

(Photos courtesy of and Stuart Miles.)


Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. No matter whether she’s talking to writers, entrepreneurs, or readers, her first advice is always “Find your voice, live your story.” As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives. Connect with her on her website, through FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Don’t Wait—Write!

By Andrea Merrell

Excuses. We hear them all the time. We make them all the time. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. I’m too tired. When the kids go back to school. When I retire. When my life slows down.

Our excuses turn into procrastination and we delay, postpone, and hesitate to do what we need to do. I have a friend who says his wife has become the queen of tomorrow.

Not to be morbid, but we’re not promised tomorrow. We tend to save the fancy china for special occasions. We bring out the best sheets and towels for overnight guests. And we plan to make that delicious new recipe someday when we have company. My grandmother used to wear ragged nightgowns to bed while her drawer was full of new ones just in case she “had to go to the hospital.”

Psalm 90:12 (NLT) says, Teach us to realize the brevity of life so that we may grow in wisdom. Some people plan for today but live for tomorrow. Maybe we should plan for tomorrow but live for today.

I’m a person who loves large blocks of time to do what I need to do. But those times are few, so I’m learning to take advantage of every opportunity. The voice of procrastination will always whisper, “You can do it later.” But when we realize the brevity of life, as the psalmist says, we will seize the day and stop putting things off .

Waiting for the perfect time or that special occasion can leave us with a lifetime of regrets. One writer says every day we wake up is a special occasion. A new day that the Lord has made, filled with new blessings, new mercies, and new opportunities.

What are you putting off until later? Fill in the blank: Someday I’ll _____. One of these days I’m going to _____. Maybe you need to forgive that friend, send that email, take a vacation, or say I love you. Perhaps you need to write that blog post, submit that article, work on your novel, or update your website. Possibly, you need a new headshot or new business cards. Or it could be that you need to sit down and read the book that’s been on your shelf for months.

As we continue to set our goals for this new year, whatever you need—and want—to do, do it now. There’s no greater feeling of accomplishment than completing those long-overdue tasks. If you’re called to be a writer, don’t wait. Write!

(Photo courtesy of and Stuart Miles.)