Friday, February 26, 2016


I am one of those people who is constantly jotting down notes and ideas for articles and stories.  I have a little 4x6 file box with a divider for every type of project I write, and I organize all my little notes into it.  On the day of the week designated for a project, I go through its file and choose an idea to roll with. 

It would really be a stretch, however, to build a whole article out of some of the ideas, and so I have decided that every so often I will write a "Micro Writing Ideas" article like this, and lay all the little buggers on you. 

Here goes. 

  • Help your fellow writers out.  When you really like a book, instead of lending it to a friend, buy it for a friend.  It's a nice gift for a pal, and it helps out the writer, especially if they self-publish. 
  • If you write non-fiction and fiction as I do, get some extra mileage out of your ideas and research by writing your non-fiction article and fiction article as well from the same prompt/idea/inspiration.  It's fun, and a little challenge you can give yourself on a regular basis. 
  • Question – did anyone, in a typing course in school, learn that there is supposed to be a double space after a period, question mark, or exclamation point?  Just curious. 
  • I jotted this down after listening to a publisher friend bitching about writers who resented pitching in to publicize their own work:  "You have what many struggling authors consider a dream job.  Never mind how hard or tedious it is – if you're making money, NO WHINING. 
  • The "Editor" listing on Kindle Direct Publishing does not mean the editor/proofreader of the manuscript.  It is the title meant for a person(s) who pulls together a collection of stories by multiple authors for an anthology, or a collection of articles by multiple authors for a non-fiction book.  Only the author's name should be listed as a contributor on a novel, story, or novella Amazon.    
  • In my personal opinion, including each numbered chapter heading in a Table of Contents is a waste of time and space in a book, especially eBooks where the first ten pages are offered to readers for a sample.  If each chapter has a heading/title, that's one thing, but really, who needs three or four pages of numbers listed?  If you can offer a reasonable explanation for this, I'm listening. 
  • If you are participating in an online release party and win a free book or offered a free book, and you are not interested, please say so to the publisher or author.  He or she will mostly likely not be offended, but rather will take the book (which self-publishing authors must pay for) and give it to someone who genuinely wants to read it.  We get that colleagues attend press parties online to support us a friends, but might not necessarily enjoy our genre. 
  • For proofreaders and editors setting rates, consider setting sliding rates, and giving an estimate. Having an author email you his or her manuscript and finding out what kind of work load you're getting into is a good idea.  Car mechanics, plumbers, contractors, and other professional people offer estimates, why not editors.  Preparing a manuscript for publication is a long and tedious job and some authors don't know the difference between and editor and a co-writer.  The fees they pay should reflect that.  Also, giving an estimate allows you to accurately gauge how much time it will actually take you to do the project and relate that information to the author. 
  • The next time you're disappointed in a book or a movie, take the initial idea, the very basic concept, and write your own.  It's very satisfying.
  • If you're stuck for writing ideas, pull some of your published stories from last year, or before that, and do a "then and now" story, or rewrite the story from a different slant or perspective.  Also, if the story is non-fiction, write a fiction story, and vice versa. 
  • Back up your back ups – every day, every time you close out of a story, or a file, back it up onto a flash drive, and back the flash drive up onto an external hard drive.  You may think that's a pain in the ass, but believe me, it's nowhere near the pain in the ass of losing a story (or novel!).  Writing is hard enough work.  Don't have to do it all over again for a minute or two's worth of saving. 


Okay.  I think I've cleared my little file of tidbits.  I know it's a hodgepodge, but hopefully some little snippet in here was helpful to you.  Feel free to leave comments!  I look forward to them! 

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