5 Tips from a Writing Coach that Fiction Writers and Entrepreneurs Can Use

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Many Americans lack good writing skills, which could be holding them back


Last year, The New York Times published an article titled “Why Kids Can’t Write.” The article points out that many would-be writers struggle with knowing where to start - and a problem that’s not limited to today’s youth.

There are millions of adults in the workforce who feel inadequate when it comes to sharing their thoughts in writing. Clearly, we are a country of citizens who are desperate for some insight into how we can improve our ability to express our thoughts and tell our stories in writing.

“We all have stories to tell,” explains Annalisa Parent, fiction writing coach, author, and entrepreneur. “The problem is, many would-be authors get stuck on how to tell the story, and tell it well enough so readers will read it and yearn for more. Many people get hung up on school leftovers such as commas and gerunds, and while grammar is important to a quality message, getting your message out should be the writer’s first concern. Many writers put the cart before the horse in this regard, and that’s where hang-ups and writers’ block come from.”

The best way to improve one’s writing skills is to write and to get meaningful feedback. Engaging in a lot of writing will help people hone their skills and become more comfortable sharing their thoughts. Here are five writing tips from Coach Parent that everyone can benefit from:

  • The first draft doesn’t have to be the last draft. In Parent’s experience, it rarely is. It’s okay to write several drafts to discover your message. In fact, Parent encourages it. To get to that final draft where you message is crystal clear, sometimes it takes asking for meaningful feedback to help a writer through the discovery and thinking phase. 
  • High quality. First drafts can meander, but aim for final drafts that are high quality. High quality writing is clear, concise, and on point, rather than just filling the pages with anything and everything. It’s better to have a little that is high quality than a lot that is just filling space and not saying a lot. 
  • Clarity. Go back and read what you wrote and make sure that your thoughts are clear. If they are not clear to you, then they won’t be to other readers. Aim for clarity so that it makes sense to the reader and they connect with it. 
  • Finding writing flow. Some of the best writing comes when you are in a groove and loving what you are doing. When you lose track of the time and could go on and on, you have found your writing flow. The convergence of neuroscience and creativity have opened the doors into finding creative flow easier and staying there longer. 
Get the feedback loop right. Many writers find themselves discouraged from seeking advice from the wrong source. As the saying goes, “free advice is worth what you pay for it,” and free advice from someone who’s not an expert only exacerbates the problem. Parent sees this as a stumbling block for a lot of writers who could otherwise be successful in sharing their message with the world.

“I could add many more strategies to this list in order to help people become better, more efficient writers and storytellers,” adds Parent. “It’s not just kids who need better ability to express themselves today. Many adults are struggling as well. Following these five tips can help people become more confident, comfortable, and their words will flow much easier. The more confident someone becomes with their writing skills, the more they will be able to reach their reader and get across their intended message.”

Parent has coached hundreds of writers and has taught over 100 writing courses around the world. She works with fiction authors, as well as entrepreneurs seeking to write their expert book. Her book Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise Your Novel without an Outline won the CIPA EVVY Silver Award in Best Business Books, and earned a merit award in the Humor category. She has been a featured speaker on writing-related topics across the globe, and she has been a guest on a variety of television, radio, and podcast shows, sharing her secrets for how to write, publish, and sell your book.

For more information about Annalisa Parent, her book, and her coaching services, visit her site at: http://datewiththemuse.com. For more information on how to become a published author, download her free ebook The Six Secrets to go from Struggling writer to Published Author here: www.datewiththemuse.com/6secrets.

About Annalisa Parent
Having taught over 100 writing courses, Annalisa Parent has reached countless writers around the world. She offers coaching writing services that have been instrumental in helping writers to go from idea to publishable piece and have the confidence to take their work to the market. She is also the chief executive officer of Laurel Elite Books. For more information on her services, visit her site at: http://datewiththemuse.com.


Source:

The New York Times. Why Kids Can’t Write. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/education/edlife/writing-education-grammar-students-children.html



What's This? #mermaidmonday

The little mermaid by elara-dark
No, I didn't run away I just had a terrible bout of back pains this past month which made things difficult to get done. I'm working on NaNoWriMo so hopefully, I will have a big chunk of Confessions of a Nixie ready to edit at the end of the month.

What are you guys up to this month?

6 Ways To Teach Your Kids About Finance

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Back-to-school time means plenty of lessons to learn in the classroom. But parents usually have to be the teachers when it comes to a subject their kids will need to understand throughout their adult lives – personal finance.

Studies show that teaching finance is not a top priority of the U.S. education system. Fewer than 20 percent of teachers report feeling competent to teach personal finance, according to a Council for Economic Education Survey, and only 17 states require students to take a personal finance course in high school.

“The majority of your kids’ financial education will come from you,” says Kathy Longo (www.flourishwealthmanagement.com), the author of Flourish Financially: Values, Transitions, & Big Conversations. “Because we parents have such a great influence on how our kids spend, save, and invest, it’s critical that we teach them early and often how we want them to value money.”

Longo, who is also president and founder of Flourish Wealth Management®, provides a list of ideas and discussions that can help your kids learn about finance at different developmental stages:
  • Learning wants versus needs. Longo believes the foundation of a child’s finance education begins with learning the difference between wants and needs. “Asking kids whether they want or need something before they make a purchase really gets them thinking about their own money values,” Longo says. 
  • Using a three-slotted piggy bank. In grade school, Longo says it’s important to teach kids about money in a tangible way. Three slots to separate dollars for saving, sharing and spending can help them understand the connection between the money in their piggy bank and the new toy they bought, Longo says. 
  • Giving back. Teaching your kids the importance of giving, such as by donating toys they no longer use, is a lesson that can stick with them for life. “You can strengthen that by talking about charities you support with dollars and time,” Longo says. “This is a great way of showing them that valuing money also means helping those less fortunate.” 
  • Making a budget. By middle school, Longo thinks children should have an idea of what it costs to keep the house running each month. “Once they have a concept of a budget, get the kids involved in spending decisions for big-ticket items, like a car or family vacation, and the considerations that go into the purchase,” Longo says. 
  • Explaining college. We all know it’s expensive, and Longo says teenagers should know early on in high school how loans, grants, and a college savings plan work. It’s also important to educate students about the additional financial opportunities they’ll have in life if they earn a college degree. 
  • Getting a job. Is there a better way for your high school student to learn financial responsibility than by working part-time and paying for their gas, fun activities, etc.? “This is a good time for them to get a debit card, to learn the importance of a good credit history, and to see how staying within a budget requires discipline,” Longo says. 
“Helping your children develop healthy money habits today,” Longo says, “will increase their chances for a happier life.”

About Kathy Longo

Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA is the author of Flourish Financially: Values, Transitions, & Big Conversations, and president and founder of Flourish Wealth Management® (www.flourishwealthmanagement.com). She has over 25 years of experience as a wealth manager and financial planner. A graduate of Purdue University with a B.S. in financial planning, Longo was named one of the Top 50 Women in Wealth Management by Wealth Manager Magazine. She has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Money Magazine.

How To Keep Exercising Despite Chronic Pain

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Pain is a great excuse if you don’t like to exercise, and it’s certainly something many people with chronic pain would just as soon avoid.

Yet at the same time exercise is one of the things that can help make that pain go away.

“It can become a Catch-22 situation,” says Dr. Victor M. Romano, a board certified orthopaedic surgeon and author of Finding The Source: Maximizing Your Results – With and Without Orthopaedic Surgery (www.romanomd.com). “We don’t want to exercise because we have pain, and yet exercise will usually help you reduce the pain over the long run.”

Research has shown that exercise is an essential aspect in the treatment of chronic pain. Lack of exercise can cause a downward cycle of deconditioning and worsening pain. But exercise can help those with chronic pain engage in enjoyable and essential activities of daily living with greater ease. Stretching, cardio exercise and weight lifting are the three types of exercise most people should include in every workout, Romano says.

Doctors generally ask patients to rate their pain on a scale of one to 10. The average intensity of pain experienced for 12 or more hours over a 24-hour period is considered their baseline pain. Romano says if, during exercise, pain levels increase by more than 2 points from the baseline you should stop and modify that exercise to ensure you do not cause a flare up of your pain.

Of course, a good diet is also important.

For people who suffer from chronic pain, Dr. Romano offers these exercise tips:
  • Try shorter exercise periods. It is better to exercise in short bursts than in one long workout. Even five minutes is better than nothing. Everything counts. 
  • Weight training is also important for seniors and women. Research has proven that weight training is good for everyone, regardless of sex or age. Make sure to incorporate it into your exercise program. 
  • Stretching is important. Go online and find some good stretching exercises and incorporate them into your daily routine, even if you don’t exercise that day. 
  • Try yoga or tai chi. These programs have shown success with people with chronic pain. 
  • Mind over matter. If you need to do an exercise that you know is going to be painful, start by taking some deep breaths and focus your energy. Take your time. 
“Even though exercise for somebody with chronic pain sounds counterintuitive,” Romano says, “it is very important as part of recovery therapy.”

About Dr. Victor Romano

Dr. Victor Romano (www.romanomd.com) is an orthopedic surgeon and the author of Finding The Source: Maximizing Your Results – With and Without Orthopaedic Surgery. He is board-certified in orthopedics and sports medicine with over 25 years of experience in the field. He graduated cum laude from the University of Notre Dame and completed medical school at the University of Loyola-Chicago.