Tools of the Trade - Music

Prime Day favorites continue - these albums are either already mine or by artists I recommend. This is just a short collection - we will have to do lots more later!

For writing it’s always important for me to have instrumental music or music in a foreign language. If I hear lyrics in English I’ll sing along instead of writing. But hey if it’s Italian - I’m golden.

Check out these popular albums:

And … before you go, Stephen Covey’s classic - 7 Habits of Highly Effective People the infographic version is FREE for Prime members! Such a classic and helpful book that I have read and re-read for many years.

If you don’t already use a streaming program for music check out this deal with Amazon! You get unlimited music for 4 months for just $.99

https://amzn.to/2liyxhh

If you aren’t a prime member - sign up now!

https://amzn.to/2liyxhh

Tools of the Trade - Creative Fun

Some of the creative tools are just fun to have on hand. Things like paper, planners, stickers, pens and more keep us happy and fulfilled making beautiful things out of other things.

I couldn’t resist sharing some of the items that I love to keep on hand - I hope you’ll enjoy them too.

These are affiliate links and I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase. I appreciate your support so much!

First, I have to share these pencils. With an amazing variety of colors - I love the different shades especially when I’m doing my favorite coloring books of flowers and plants. The variety helps really provide the detail and color I’m looking for.

Next, these pens are pretty awesome for coloring, bullet journaling, and more. And I’d be silly not to share my favorite pens that I use for every day. I use the pink because well..I like it and it’s unique - so don’t all of you choose pink!

Planners and notebooks are essentials. Here’s a few of my favorites but lets be honest - I love them all!

If you are not already a kindle unlimited member - check it out today!

https://amzn.to/2jXGRCK

Also if you aren’t a Prime member - you’ll want to go ahead and get that handled too!

https://amzn.to/2jTHn4P

Tools of the Trade - Focus on Video

Just a quick run down of some favorite tools I use in my creative space. Whether I’m recording video or music tracks, I have certain tools that I prefer!

With Amazon Prime day happening the next couple days I thought I’d link up to these things that I do use and love!

If you purchase through any of the links I list, I do receive a small affiliate commission and of course I appreciate the support immensely!

First I want to share my favorite lighting kit. This is especially important if you are recording video courses, teaching on line or even doing youtube or facebook live videos. Dark rooms make your videos difficult to watch. Help your audience out by lighting it up and play with the green screen background. There’s lots of options for adding background to your video if you don’t have a good place to record.

Next if you are recording you really need a decent microphone. A plug and play option into your computer is ideal and I’ve purchased more than one of these Yeti microphones through the years. The quality is amazing and you can’t go wrong with this one!

Last I have to mention don’t forget to backup. I had really let mine go close to Christmas last year because I was on a book deadline. But then I got an alert from Apple that my computer had a potential hard drive flaw. As in it could fail at any time. UM>>>>> after panicking and then backing up everything in sight for the next two days, I realized I never wanted to go through that again. So I decided then to keep a backup running regularly and this is a great price on this external hard drive. Don’t delay!

If you aren’t a prime member - join up today!

https://amzn.to/2jTHn4P

The Power of our Words and Defining Them

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I’ve been contemplating the importance of vocabulary and word usage for some time now.  It seems that many of the difficulties so many of us struggle with when learning something new or in understanding what others do is that we aren’t clear on the meaning of the words being used. 

Attend a writer’s conference for the first time, you’ll hear abbreviations and words bandied about like platform. If you haven’t been trying to publish yet, you probably have no idea what a platform is.

Speak to a designer about setting up a website and you’ll hear about SEO, pixels and widgets – oh MY!

If you launch into a discussion on social media growth, you’ll likely hear about pods, loops and groups. Add in marketing and advertising and you’ll just want to shut down and hide.

The reality is that unless you think like a teacher and consistently be intentional to explain your terminology, something will be lost in translation.  As creatives, we can forget sometimes that people don’t think like we do and don’t know what we are thinking.  Taking the time to explain the words we use are vital and being clear with others is the only way we can play our part to encourage those who aren’t as far on the journey as we are is to be sure we are explaining the process along the way.

Let’s be sure to use our words carefully not just because we should be cautious about our choices but also because we can’t help others learn and grow if we are not aware of the impact of a lack of explanation. I don’t know about you but it’s tempting to give up and feel like you’ll never understand when you are overwhelmed with information.

Editing is the Key to Success

Many times in the creative process we can stifle our inner muse if we try to edit too soon.  If in addition to enjoying creating new things, you are also a perfectionist, the NEED to fix things as you write or compose or create can become overwhelming.  The need to correct and fix seems to inhibit the forward motion of completion because we can ALWAYS improve what was just created.

The best writers recommend not making any edits prior to finishing a first draft. Get the words on the paper and finish before you begin thinking about all the things you've done wrong - spelling, grammar, and plot included.

This is easier said than done! The desire to fix as we write stymies our creative process. Waiting to edit until the creation is complete is valuable advice for not only the writer, but the composer, the scupltor, etc. Once the work is complete, you can then begin the editing process. Really the editing process is extensive and requires numerous pass throughs.

As a writer there are a variety of things meant by "editing."  Are you wanting proofreading? or are you going for a little more comprehensive edit for spelling and grammar errors and need a Copy Edit. Do you need a more thorough viewpoint with a line edit? The folks at New York Book Editors wrote a great article on the differences between a copy edit and a line edit.  You can read more here: https://nybookeditors.com/2015/01/copyediting-vs-line-editing/

There's also developmental editing which digs into characters, pacing and more.  You can read more on that here : http://victoriamixon.com/editing-terminology/

As you can see there are multiple edits, and many editors would likely include more types of editing with greater nuances of what they entail. Finding a good editor is key to landing not only an agent to represent your work but also that elusive book deal!

I like to start with grammar and spelling reviews with MS Word. I then run my writing through the paces with other software programs like Grammarly and ProWriting Aid.  I have really enjoyed the ProWriting Aid over the last month. They offer a free two week trial, but my favorite feature is not only receiving the punctuation and spelling help, they also grade sentences on ease of reading, style, and length of sentences. Another important feature is the ability to change my audience.  Am I writing to business professionals or is it perhaps a more casual "conversation tone?"

Because the edits have proven so helpful I have converted to a paying customer.  If you would like to know more - just click below to start a free trial.

Writing Improvement Software

If you do decide you like the software that's fantastic. This link actually allows me to receive a small commission on a sale at no additional cost to you. 

That being said. A real live person can always do a final edit much more accurately than a program can. You can clean up a lot of errors this way, but a real life reader and an experienced editor can then take that clean copy and polish it further. Always take it to the next step so that you can produce the best work you possibly can each time!