Joys, Fears, and Frustrations of Being an Editor by Danita Moon

Joys, Fears, and Frustrations of Being an EditorBy Danita Moon

 

​I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. When I read, things that may be incorrect have always popped out at me. I make a note of what I find and then go back to see if there was an actual problem, whether it be an incorrect character name, character description or timeline issue. It’s hard for me to finish a book if I find that there are many typos or spelling errors. I’ve always asked myself what it would be like to be an editor. Would I enjoy it? What would it be like to work with authors?

​I started working with New York Times Bestselling Author Brenda Novak as her assistant a little over two years ago. I’ve learned a lot from her about the process of writing and editing. So I decided to start proofreading manuscripts, but when I saw what others were charging, I was afraid I wouldn’t get any business because I wouldn’t charge a competitive enough rate. Most were charging so much per word, but I couldn’t see doing that as most authors are now self-publishing. I decided I was just going to charge a flat rate for a manuscript, but because I wasn’t familiar enough with grammar and sentence structure I limit my editing to everything but that.

​The frustrating part is when you are reading a story and see something that just doesn’t make sense. You try to explain that from a reader’s point of view, but it is written from a whole other perspective. I do understand that there is a structure in which a book is to be written and format that it must follow, but I just get a little frustrated when it doesn’t make sense or it isn’t consistent with another area of the story.

​When I first started proofreading or making suggestions to an author, I was fearful of how they would take what I was saying. I mean, here I am, just a reader pointing out something that they spent months writing, and they are the professional, but I eventually realized that it takes several eyes to make a book successful.

​To help in the editing process I took a course to become a certified proofreader and copy editor which I completed last year.

​The editing I do isn’t what I call a standard proofreading service. I’m very detail-oriented and a perfectionist, so when I work on a project, I do a line-by-line edit. If the book is part of a series, then I will research the other books in the series to make sure everything is consistent. This is the author’s life work, and they depend on those who read their drafts to help them polish the manuscript.

​The one thing I’ve learned in my adventures in proofreading is that you can’t catch all errors. It took me awhile to get used to that fact and is still a huge frustration.

​The major joy of being an editor is the fact that I’m a part of such a magical world. These authors have a craft that very few have. They weave stories that draw so many of us in and take us to places that we can only dream about. To be a part of the process that gets these books out to the reader in as perfect a format as possible is a magnificent feeling.

Advertisements

Lessons learned and happiness shared: a teacher turned writer talks about her books…

Do you remember the last time you had one life-changing, earth-shaking realization? A piece of insight that came to you like a thunderbolt and changed you forever. In moments like that, we remember the event in great detail, through all of our senses. For me, it was the spring of 2015. I was sitting at home on the couch in the living-room. My son was pushing some trains around in my husband’s office and I could hear the wrenches and the hammers and I don’t know what else making noise in the garage as my husband was changing the oil in my car. It was the perfect morning. I had the perfect life, the perfect partner and the perfect child. But I myself felt far from perfect. I struggled with dark thoughts of anger towards myself and others, profound insecurities about myself and a sense of powerlessness that felt awfully close to depression. I was filled with fear and worry about all kinds of things – some real but mostly imaginary. The irony was that I had been waiting for a morning just like that for decades, thinking that when I had everything in place “just so”, those dark clouds would dissipate and I would live happily ever after. The revelation that I had that morning on the couch was this: I had had my “happily ever after” and I still was not happy. I finally understood, right then and there, what they mean when they say that happiness is an inside job. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I had to find a way to feel happy. The outside circumstances were there. I just could not feel good anymore.

I spent many years reading whole libraries of self-help and psychology. I even saw a shrink for a couple of years. While all of that helped, somehow I found myself bouncing back into my old insecure, mildly (or moderately… or more…) depressed and powerless sense of self. I had good reasons, mind you… or so it seemed. I lost my dad to cancer when I was 10, after which my mom became severely depressed and later on sent me away from home to live with strangers. I had a sliver of self-esteem left and not much help in battling the dragons back then. Somehow though, I found my way to a lot of goodness. I went to school. I explored passions like writing and music. I had life-long friends. I became a teacher. Then, after what seemed like a very long search, I found my way to my husband and then my son. The dark clouds followed me there too though.

That morning on the couch, when I understood that I had to find a way to feel happy, I also understood something else: I had forgotten (for lack of a better word) how to literally feel happy. It had become a habit to “feel bad”. My body was used to it. I was literally addicted. But I say “forgotten” because I could remember a time when I felt happy: it was very, very far back and I was very, very small.
“What do I need?” I asked myself. If literally feeling good was what I needed, how did I go about feeling good on purpose? I had tried faking it before… pretending to be joyful and hoping that it might stick. But pretending did not work. It had to be genuine. So then… what next?

I felt tired, exhausted even. I felt like a rat that had been running on the treadmill for decades, trying to chase away unhappiness. Perhaps I could just stop for a few minutes… give up the struggle altogether. I settled into that comfortable couch of ours and tried to think of nothing but this: comfort. I wanted to be comfortable and enjoy it just a bit. My mind wondered. I thought about all the ways in which I had comfort on my life… in our lovely home, in the car that I drive and all the modern appliances that help make life so much easier. I thought about the blessing of having a bit of comfort for someone who is in pain. It was so very close to happiness… and so was I. Modest, ordinary comfort.. The comfort of a soft pillow, of running water and of having a fork to eat with.
I felt a bit better and left it at that. I was done struggling. But I had liked my little “comfort meditation” so much that the next day I tried “curiosity”. I love that feeling. I love the searches, the wild trips into the imagination, the explorations of the world. I love looking at curious children or curious animals. I love curious people and watching them explore. Curiosity, as it turned out, was part of happiness too.
That week and the weeks that followed I tried some other feelings: adoration, satisfaction, tenderness and more. At times I had to stretch myself, because I had run out of “good feelings”. My “good feelings muscles” had atrophied. But they were coming back to life. My life transformed. It inexplicably transformed.
In the months that followed I realized that somehow I had found my way to being well inside my head – and body too. I had discovered how to “be happy” – in a very real way. I had taught myself how to feel good on purpose and whenever I wanted. I felt good a lot of the time and then most of the time and then… the dark clouds became as rare as rain in the desert. 

I wrote “The Happiness Switch” to teach others about all this – about the emotions that make up “happiness” and how to cultivate them on purpose.. Depression and anxiety hit everyone at some point. I really wanted to share my process in order to help others who struggled. Personal experiences are inspiring.  
But this is not the first book that I wrote.
You will forgive me if I use the word “revelation” too much, but as it happened, I spent a lot of time contemplating my life and trying to make it work during those days, so I had some other insights that helped me find my balance. They came from my experiences as a teacher. 
I have worked with hundreds of kids as young as 4 and as old as 16. I have worked with hundreds of adults from all walks of life. I seemed to have a knack for putting them at ease. Sometimes I had to deal with difficult ones (children and adults) – but they have taught me the most about what they need in order to heal. They have also taught me much about all the ways in which we are all the same: we are born healthy and whole, filled with love and enthusiasm and without a trace of “dark clouds”. Self-love and self-esteem are non-issues. They are so much there, in the very beginning, that they seem ordinary somehow. 
There is a “sap” inside humans that guides us towards what is good and nourishing for us. A “sap” that loves us and wants all the goodness in the world for us. If the flow of the sap is restricted, the problems start. Harsh environments would do that. A lack of love or proper care would do that. But the connection can never be completely severed. It’s just impossible. This is why it was possible for me to go back to the “happiness juice” – to all those lovely feelings. This is how “Your Inner Child is a Winner” came to life. That was the foundation, in a way, for “The Happiness Switch”.

Those two books describe a way of life. My way of living happily. In health and in love and in joy. I live very differently in my head now – and in my body too. I am not only happier, but also more connected to life. I feel more loved. I feel more loving too – there is more of “me” available and present and capable of giving. There are other things too. Procrastination just dropped away – it was really only fear in disguise. My writing career took off. It feels as if the sap inside of me is flowing freely. I can feel it in my veins. It is so very good…
I have seen a lot of suffering in my life – and I have suffered a lot. I wrote those two books to share my experiences and to say to others: “There is a way out. You were built with a well of goodness and of love inside, that can guide you to your best life. You can always find your way back to it. You can feel good – simply because you decide that you are going to. Love and goodness were never lost. They are only a thought away.”
————————-

Christine Ellis is a teacher and writer. She lives with her husband and young son in an enchanted forest close to Brussels, in the chocolate-filled kingdom of Belgium. You can find all of her books on Amazon or through her blog, http://www.findgoodfeelings.wordpress.com

Why Is Literature So Important?

 

reading

Why is Literature So Important?

By Danielle Urban

 

Everywhere we look, literature is everywhere. It’s talked about a lot. People are taught literature at a young age and all through their school life. Literature can be taught or passed on verbally or in written form. We share it with others. Literature is in a way a sort of communication.  The kind of communication that brings forth a form of expression. Reading a piece of literature, we can find morals being taught or maybe it’s a way of documenting life’s events. Events that can be about important figures, places, and things. Maybe these are what educates us in shaping the future.

For example, history is a form of literature. It’s told in way that documents who, when, where, and why. It not only tells us but also, shows us what happens when a certain event causes things like war, segregation, and death to many. We don’t read what was recorded so that we may be aware of what happened and maybe to prevent us from doing the same mistakes twice. Literature cases emotion. Things in history may cause us to cry or feel sympathy. Maybe we feel hopeful or inspired to see that none of the bad things happen again.

History inspires, educates and causes expression within its readers. Literature teaches, entertains, and promotes. Teaches us right from wrong. Entertains us by taking us to different places and cultures we could possible never dream of.  Promotes different agendas. Literature can be taken seriously or not so seriously, but no matter how we perceive it, it changes us and the way we analyze everything.

Literature is important because its education at its best. We learn things that we probably wouldn’t have learned, if we didn’t read or write it down and pass on to others. Once literature is written and shared, it goes around like a virus. One person passes it onto another person. Then that person passes it onto another person until soon a good majority of the populations have read and analyzed the piece of literature. It may sway some to change their political thinking or it may make other see the world in a new light. Or it might be something funny that teaches a child words.

Words that take that child’s imagination into a new place. Literature can explain why something happens the way it does or it might question we already know as fact. It causes us to analyze and to react in a way that may be the same as our neighbor or different than our neighbor. But that’s why literature is important. We can pass on a culture or history to our people or teach them new things. Or to persuade others to our side. Maybe we just want to make people laugh or cry or feel good. Whatever the reasons are for literature, it has a strong impact on our lives and thus it is important. Not to us but to future generations.

Article: Freedom that No Longer Exists by Danielle Urban

Freedom No Longer Exists

Where do we go when our nation built upon religious freedom no longer allows us to express our religious beliefs? We are left we keeping our religion hidden deep within ourselves. But then what point is there to religious freedom if we cannot express our Christian beliefs? We are a Christian nation and yet, our own people and people who come to choose to live here because we have these freedoms fight vigorously to take away our Christian values and beliefs one step at a time.

No one is forced to believe in something they choose not to believe in. On our currency it clearly states:

“We trust in God.”

But do we really?

We can no longer at Christmas host the manager with baby Jesus out front in our courthouse because our own people and those not originally Americans have fought us in a lawsuit to keep us from religiously expressing our freedom of speech and religious freedom.

However no one fights to stop Victoria’s Secret from displaying indecent commercials on TV where family stations are aired. Now how is that possible? Sex, lies, and corruption is okay to expose everywhere and yet we as a supposedly Christian nation won’t allow a stable of one of the oldest symbols of Christianity be exposed publicly but we it’s okay to expose sexually explicit materials and violences to impressionable audiences all over?

America, where are you? And what have you done to our society and Christian freedoms?

Constitutional Law

Constitutional Law

          What is constitutional law? How does this affect U.S. citizens? Maybe the Marbury v. Madison case found in chapter two of our legal business environment books may refresh your memory. In this case, the Supreme Court seized the power of judicial review. What is judicial review? Judicial review is the power to declare a law to be unconstitutional and the power to interpret the constitution. Right now, the judicial branch has this power. Would I prefer that the Congress or the President to have the power to declare prayer in schools unconstitutional or burning the American flag to be protected expression rather than the court? Would I change the authority to one or the other branches of government?

Constitutional law, according to Cornell University Law School, is how the constitution is interpreted and implemented. It solely focuses on the foundations of our society in the U.S. and it relies heavily upon the Supreme Court’s rulings. The Supreme Court is the judicial branch. The one major branch out of the three. Why is it considered major? It is considered to be a major branch because it is the ruling of the Supreme Court’s decision that makes a law definite or not definite. A way of looking at the Supreme Court is think as your Mom or Dad. As a little kid, your Mom and Dad have the absolute say so on everything you do. You can’t misbehave without your parents coming to punish you for your behavior. The Supreme Court’s decision acts in the same way. Except the decision is more powerful than your parents’ permission and rules. Without the Supreme Court having the power it does, our society wouldn’t be where it is today. As citizens of the United States, we have to follow the rules of what the Supreme Court decides is lawful and unlawful.

Remember the Marbury v. Madison case? Well, as a U.S citizen you should very well know the popular case that has also been taught to students every year they take a government course. It should be grounded into your brains by now. But, if not then the Marbury versus Madison case involved the Supreme Court seizing the power of judicial review. Which then is the power to interpret and declare a law to be unconstitutional. So, what did the Supreme Court declare unconstitutional in this specific case that affected us all? According to Alex McBride’s article, Chief Justice John Marshall made a step in law that made the Supreme Court be an equal part of the other two branches. The Justice ruled that Marbury did have a writ and should be rewarded a remedy by the court. The Supreme Court is to uphold the supreme law of the land. And even if the decision isn’t what the President (executive branch) and Congress (legislative branch) doesn’t agree with, that it is still the duty of the Supreme Court to declare what is constitutional right or wrong. In the end Marbury lost his case against Madison to show why he couldn’t receive is commission, but it lead to the Supreme Court stepping up as the third branch and defining its powers to uphold the law.

I would not want Congress or the President to have the power to declare what is or isn’t constitutional. Congress is made up powerful politicians who care nothing but power and money. They are dirty and scandalous. The President isn’t any different.So, since Obama is President, I wouldn’t want my constitutional rights to placed his or Congress’s hands. Right now, the President Obama can override Congress’s decision. So, therefore someone like Obama handling my country’s constitutional rights is just not going to work. I rather keep the constitutional law and judicial review power within the Supreme Court. Because, no matter what issues our country faces, I can always rely on the Supreme Court to uphold the Constitution of the United States. President Obama according to the Daily Caller, has made 10 constitutional violations. I don’t want a single man that violates the constitution to have the power that the Supreme Court has. Therefore, I would keep the judicial review power within just the Supreme Court.