Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Grammar References

Since this is my first post on grammar, I thought it would be good to mention where I get my info when it comes to the rules I’ll be laying down. I’m not a PHD. What I put down on paper isn’t always technically right. That’s why I refer to a variety of sources for my reference. The sources that I go to when consulting how to correctly edit are text-books, dictionaries, and online references. Here they are:

The textbooks I most often use are,

+ Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects. By Martha Kolln and Loretta Gray (I use this book for questions I have concerning punctuation and grammar in general)

+ The Brief Wadsworth Handbook, Fifth Edition. By Kirszner Mandell (I use this when looking up deep grammar principles as well as when I have questions about formatting and style: MLA, APA, Essay or other academic forms)

+ The Elements of Business Writing: The Essential Guide to Writing Clear, Concise Letters, Memos, Reports, Proposals, and Other Business Documents. By Gary Blake and Robert W. Bly (Great resource I use in my business editing but is also helpful for punctuation, abbreviation, capitalization, and spelling rules)

There are more, but those are the ones I frequent the most.

As far as Dictionaries that I use,

+ Oxford American Dictionary, Heald Colleges Edition

+The Oxford: American Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus

Those are the hardcopy dictionaries I keep on hand. I also use a few online dictionaries.

The online reference that I use most is,

+ The Purdue Online Writing Lab (This is the source that I used when I was a writing lab tutor in college)

Those are most of the sources I use on a daily basis. Being an editor forces me to jump around to a great number of places every day in search for the best way to word or punctuate any given sentence. If you need a place to start with learning correct grammar, any source from the list above would be a great beginning.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Shower Before You Write

Alright, so you’ve got started on your daily writing routine. Awesome, that’s the first step into accomplishing your writing goals. But following the regimen is only the first step to making effective use of your 30 minutes of daily writing. Ready for the next step?

For me, when I first started a 30 minute daily writing schedule, I sat down at the computer, opened my document, started reading a few paragraphs of what I had written the day before, sat back and thought about what should come next and how to say it, and then started writing. By this time, 15 minutes of my precious writing time had already ticked away. I learned that I couldn’t just start up cold like that. I couldn’t sit down and expect to start writing where I had left off the day before; so, I came up with a solution to that.

One day the only time I had in the day to write was in the morning, so I got up earlier than usual. I planned to write directly after my shower. An amazing thing happened. In the shower, the only topic on my mind was my story. I reviewed the plot, where my story was going and where I should guide my characters that day, what they would say, what they would do.  When I loaded up my story on the computer, I was typing straight off the bat. Soon as that happened, I made sure to shower before every time I wrote. It didn’t have to be showering though, I realized that after a bit. It was just the fact that while in the shower, I had no other pressing thoughts so I had time to think about my book. I started to do the same for other mundane activities and pretty soon, I was writing after meals, drives, or any other menial tasks where I could consider what I was going to write in my book that day.

Now my 30 minutes of writing is 30 minutes of writing—not 15 to get warmed up and the other 15 for writing. It’s a little thing, to simply be thinking of your story before sitting down at the keyboard, but it’s saved me countless hours of staring at a blank screen.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Getting On a Schedule

If your writing schedule is anything like mine used to be, it goes a little something like this.

Monday – Wrote 1 hour at night
Tuesday – Wrote 2 hours at night
Wednesday – Didn’t have time to write
Thursday – Forgot to write
Friday – Friday night was a blast
Saturday – Hung out with friends
Sunday – “I used to write?”

Once you’re in the groove of writing every day, it’s really easy to fall out of it. All it takes is one day off and you’re down a slippery slope. Once you’re out of the groove, it can be very hard to get back into it again. I’ve learned this the hard way. Years of my writing life have looked like the schedule above. It’s all too easy to fall into this trap. Here’s what I do now. It’s helped keep me on a better daily writing regimen.

First of all, you must eliminate my “Wednesday” excuse. The, “I didn’t have time” one. You really do. Free up 30 minutes in a day—you can do at least 30 minutes. No one should be that busy; and if they are, they better be that busy working towards a solution to world peace or to provide essentials for their family, because I’ve seen people work that hard in life. They always crash, hurting themselves and those around them.

So once you’ve found that all-too-precious 30 minutes, what next? We’ll go over that in the next writing advice post, but for now, get into a schedule. Stick to it religiously. If your writing is important to you, don’t let it suffer because of my “Friday” or “Saturday” excuses.

Friday, February 24, 2012

How To Publish On The Kindle

Publishing a book isn’t easy, so what I hope to be able to do through the course of this blog is to help others out there who would like to know where to start when it comes to publishing. Since I recently published on the Amazon Kindle, let’s start there.

The process of getting my book uploaded and submitted to Amazon took around 5-6 hours. Most of my time here was spent in reading forms and writing up a summary for my book. Those are really the only two major time suckers. The summary wasn’t even all that bad except for researching what other book summaries looked like in the Kindle’s library. Doing research on both agreement forms and book summaries took around 4 ½ hours. Next time I publish through them, it probably will take less than an hour.

I was going to make a tutorial walkthrough of the process, but someone else on YouTube already did that. This is actually the video that I used when going through the process. Most of the process is pretty easy, and you could probably just go through it alone without any help, but if you’re like me, you want to know how long it’s going to take to fill out the forms and what to expect before you start out actually doing it.

How to Publish on Kindle

After checking that video out, you’ll probably be a bit relived if you were worried about my initial 5-6 hour time estimate. It’s really not much they ask you to do. Practically anyone can publish with them, but I worry about keeping ownership of my work so I read through all the forms on these things, and those agreement statements are quite lengthy and not always clear as to what you are agreeing to. I had to do some research for some terms and lingo usage that’s used in their acceptance agreements.

The Kindle is a great place to start with publishing your work. If you’ve got a story you want published quick, Kindle is the place to do just that.

**Also, I wanted to mention that posting on Saturday and Sunday may not happen. I think I'll post if there's time to on those days, but with weekends, I may be away from a computer visiting family and whatnot. Just a heads up.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Publishing Update

Though I’ve paper published, I hadn’t yet epublished a creative writing piece before Monday the 13th of this month. Though the process wasn’t fun, it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Publishing my story took around four or five hours to read all the forms, write up a story description blurb, check all the boxes, answer all their questions, upload and format the novel, upload the book cover, and so on. After going through the process once, I’d be surprised if it took me more than an hour to do it again.

The formatting threw me off. With the book I published, Amazon’s formatting conversion of my Microsoft Office Word 2010 document created quite a few formatting issues that I had to go in and smooth out. The formatting still isn’t where I wanted it to be, but I’ll work on that next time I publish with them.

My book is titled “City of Town”. It’s a short read, contemporary fiction with a hint of sci-fi. It’s priced at $0.99 so you can’t go wrong with checking it out. I enjoyed it, I hope others do too.

If you don't own a Kindle, you can still view it using Amazon's free Kindle app. get it here.

Read the story's description and purchase it here.

After going through the process once, I might be able to provide help to anyone that is thinking of publishing on the Kindle. Ask me any questions in the comment section below.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

About My Business, Tomework

Although I officially launched back in November, I realize its content, functions, services, and layout will eventually change as I update and adapt to the business world of editing, proofreading, and writing. I am involved with my writers, whether they’re writing a science-fiction book or writing a business newsletter. Communication is key in any business, so I give daily updates to my clients of where I’m at with their script. Building a rapport with my writers is where I excel in this business. I like words, I like story, and I appreciate people who have the ability to craft either, and I’ll be there to help further your abilities on both subjects.

I’m a guy trying to make a living by doing what I know something about. Even though I own and operate Tomework, I’m not My name is Paul Yoder. I’m a person, and the important thing is that I know that you are a person—not just another business or book title. I want to work with you because I know that we’re in this together. We’re people trying to make a living; and you know, it’s nice to work with people who treat each other like humans—people who have that paradigm.

Thanks for checking in and feel free to leave comments and questions for me below, or send me an email if you've got a special English-oriented service you need done that's not listed on my services page at Tomework.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

About Paul Yoder

Life right now
Here’s my life last year in a nutshell. A little more than a year ago, I graduated with a Bachelor degree from Dixie State College. What a great opportunity that was. I really enjoyed the college lifestyle of learning and improving myself. Three months ago, I finished all my applications to various grad programs. That was probably my least favorite things I did last year. It was horrible, it stressed me out, it was a mess communicating with the various graduate programs and getting my papers ready to send off to them. Tomework (my online editing business) was started up last November. The largest event though is that Nikki (my wife for almost four years now) is carrying our first child. He’s due in April, and because of that, Nikki will be winding down at work. Change is good. It often moves us to better paths; but, great change never ceases to make me nervous. We’re calling our little boy Cove—we’re both very excited!

I’m the tenth child in my family (that’s right, my parents had ten kids!) and because of that, family and friends have been abundant in my life. I live in Saint George, Utah right now. Me and Nikki like it enough here, we’ll probably be sticking around for quite some time. I grew up on the East Coast (North Carolina) and spent a few years in Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Florida, but half of my life has been spent in Utah.

One thing I don’t get to talk with people a lot about is the sports and activities I like to do. This is mainly because the sports I’m into aren’t all that popular. Sure people know about surfing or rock climbing, but very few actually go out and do those things. I used to live on the East coast, so surfing was a great deal more accessible to me then. Now that I live in Utah, I only occasionally get to ride Swordfish (pretty much the best shortboard ever crafted). Rock climbing became a great staple in my life after moving back to the Midwest. There are so many great lines to climb out here in southern Utah. Though, sadly, after a few close calls, Nikki and I have greatly scaled back on this pastime. We still go hiking about wherever we end up vacationing or visiting though.

Although my degree is in technical English, my true passion is for the creative side of English. I’ve been writing poems, short stories, novellas, and novels since I was a kid. I thought that one day, I might grow out of literature, but as I grew, my tastes and appreciation for story refined. I could not see myself doing anything else than working with words.

Ventures (Tomework!)
Tomework is coming along well. My greatest hope for this business is to work with people that like working with me and me them. If you think about it, most people spend more time with their coworkers and business associates than they do with their own family. I promise I’ll do my best to be helpful to you, easy to work with, and to be someone you enjoy working with. Check out Tomework here if you are ever interested in having me proofread or edit your work. Also, Tomework has its own blog dedicated to following the changes I make to it. I update it about once every week. Follow it here.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Welcome to Wanderlust’s Writing Den!

I’m Paul Yoder, a writer and editor. The pseudonym I go by most often is Wanderlust; so, hence the blog’s title. I figure that the easiest way to describe what this blog is about is to answer some questions you might have about it, so let the Q&A begin.
Q. What is this blog about, and what do you hope to accomplish with it?

A. I started this blog for both writers and readers.

I plan on having a running conversation with writers on writing/editing techniques and strategies, to get a better take on different people’s perspective on what good writing is, and to share my own successful writing strategies to help other writers learn how to improve their craft. 

I want show my work to readers and take part in discussions with them on books I’m working on getting published. I think it would be awesome if my favorite authors had the time to do this with their fan base.

That’s what this blog is about, helping writers become better writers by posting my slant on subjects, and providing readers with ongoing stories that I’m currently writing. Essentially, you get to read some of my books before they’re even published.

I hope to bring some hope and enjoyment to both writers and readers every day through my daily posts.

Q. How often do you post?

A. I plan on posting every week day. Why? Because the sites and blogs that I’m into, I usually check out daily. If they go a few days without posting anything new, I tend to leave them in the dust. Cold I know, but my attention span is short when it comes to online content. I’m going to try my best to keep my readership tuned in on a daily basis.

Q. Do you have a schedule of what topics you are going to be posting on?

A. Here’s my planned schedule. This schedule could change, but currently I plan to post…

  • Twice a week on improving your writing skills
  • Twice a week on grammar topics
  • Once a week on editing, publishing, or an update on my own publishing
  • Once a week on an ongoing story that I’ll be writing just for this blog
  • Once a week on either an update on Tomework (my editing company) or a streaming from a YouTube video if I produce any audio or video material

Hopefully that answers any questions you might have for me before jumping into my blog. If it doesn’t, feel free to ask me anything in the comments below.