How Our Brain Processes Written Words

I watched Abbiee Emmons’ YouTube video about narrative pacing the other day (she has a lot of great writing tips on her channel), in which she explains how the rate at which your brain processes each written word affects the pace of your writing. This is because while reading, your conscious mind takes in each bit of information one word at a time. How we experience written information is much different from how we experience visual information in daily life.

Continue reading

Scratching the Surface of Indie-Publishing

I’m sitting here on the floor of my bedroom, it’s nearly the end of the day, past 10 pm. I think every one of us is on an iPad with no sign of shutting down. We like to call moments like these, independent study time.

Yesterday I heard from my editor. She apologized for being a few days behind on returning my critiqued manuscript, said she enjoyed reading it and thanked me for the “fun read.” A fun read! How about that?! I beamed after I read her message, and while I know I still have a lot of work left to do, it feels good to think I will finish this project. Maybe other writers trying to write a book for the first time have also worried about failure, which in this case simply means failing to finish the project!

Continue reading

How to Get Started Writing Book Reviews

My first opportunity to write a book review came when the editor of Task & Purpose emailed me and asked if I wanted to review a fiction anthology titled, The Road Ahead: Stories of the Forever War. At the time, I had already written a few articles for them and should have kept going, working my way toward being on their shortlist of contributors to call. But alas, I didn’t know what I was doing at the time.

Continue reading

How to Plan Your Writing Projects

Visiting with J this week, it occurred to me that it’s fun to visit with friends and family around shared interests via apps. It’s something different from the usual catching up over the phone, which sometimes feels like a run-down of “this is what I’ve been doing since the last time we talked,” rather than a fluid conversation. Sadly, it can be quite hard to remember the details of where exactly a friend is in his/her life journey. But finding a shared interest is easy. And fun. J is big into interior design and decorating, so we talked about Pinterest.

Continue reading

To be Happy is to be Productive

Penny and I journeyed back from our trip to San Antonio this afternoon. While I’m glad we made the trek out to see my friend J, I’m dismayed about the inevitable second Coronavirus wave about to crash. The news today is not promising. The barefaced people walking around the Buc-ee’s gas station store today was not a good sign. And I’m mentally preparing myself for when the schools finally announce that the 2020-2021 school year will be in part, if not completely, virtual.

Continue reading

How to go From Concrete to Abstract in Personal Essays

Dilly dallying and grumpy. Photo credit: Penny

Yesterday one of my best friends stationed in Germany messaged me to say she was bombing into Texas for 24 hours on some military-related duty. Unfortunately, it was San Antonio, not Houston, where she would make her Texas pit stop.

“It’s not that far!” I had said, “It’s only three hours. I’ll come with Penny. We’ll have a girls’ trip. We’ll spend the night. We’ll see the Alamo!” I made the mistake of telling Penny. She packed her school bag with a set of pajamas and a stuffy.

Continue reading

Use A Grammar Word Processor

Yesterday I said I would talk about the Hemingway App, so here goes. The Hemingway App is a word processor technically, but it does more than run a spell check on your text the way Microsoft Word does. The Hemingway App doesn’t do spell check at all. The Hemingway App is tuned to pick up passive voice, hard to read sentences, and the overuse of complicated words. The New Yorker did a story on it, which I found interesting. For this post, I’m calling applications that go beyond spell check, grammar word processors, rather than just word processors. I won’t review the Hemingway App, but here’s a decent overview if you’re interested.

Continue reading

Coronavirus Part 2, Day 47- On Being In The Right Position

On the lake.

Every room has a main character.

Penny, referring to the dog, sunflower, and John Wayne themed decor in our rental cabin.

Several years ago when I was first leaving the military, I started searching for corporate jobs. I looked at a slew of roles with the ambiguous job title of “project manager”, and other Junior Military Officer transition programs. I looked at one program at Macy’s, which was a rotational program for recent graduates. After reading one job description, Steve did me a favor by saying, “This program is not for you, Diana. It sounds like you’ll be folding pants, and you won’t do well if you’re just folding pants.”

Continue reading