Sometimes when I sit down to write I notice myself being distracted at home and lacking the desire to write, so when that happens I have to change things up.
One thing I did a lot during my book editing process was grab my laptop, drive to a small town coffee shop and basically force myself to edit. Editing for me was draining and not one of my favorite things. I learned that getting out of my normal space helped change things up and re-motivate me.
When I sat down in my room to write this blog about editing, I felt unmotivated again, therefore I decided to do what worked for me in the past. I got in my car and drove to the same coffee shop, got me a vanilla latte, put my headphones on because I can't write without them, and here we go!
In March of 2017, I thought my book was done, I finally reached my goal of 40,000 words and I went to the local printing/copy making shop and had them print it out for my mom to read.
My mom read it and told me that it was good... but she lovingly told me it was dry. It had a lot of facts and stories, but I didn't use my words to paint a picture of my emotions in the reader's mind. As I reread back through the book I realized she was right but I was unsure of how to paint those pictures with words, at first I thought to tell the sad stories would be enough, but they weren't. My mom helped me with a few scenarios and then I got the hang of it.
Going through the book and painting word pictures of emotions was my first step of editing. I went through each chapter, each story, and reflected on how I felt in those moments. Where I talked about being burdened with fear in the book I wrote the quote below to paint a picture.
That process of going in and adding emotional description added about 10,000 words to the book and made it come ALIVE!
In April, I sent it off to a friend of mine, who I babysat for at the time, who loved to edit! She was a huge blessing to me. When I received it back from her, I went in and fixed the mistakes she found.
May 2017, I heard about this amazing FREE program called Grammarly, which I have been using ever since. As you write it points out errors and underlines them in red. Once you go back and put your mouse over that error it will explain to you what the mistake is and ask if you'd like them to fix it, you can dismiss it, sometimes it will give you other options of how to word something, and if you'd like a further explanation you can hit that as well.
Grammarly is super helpful in many ways, one big one being it automatically saves as you write. Have you ever had your laptop do a random update while writing on it and you can't control it? Has your laptop ever died on you because you were in a crunch to write something and forgot a charger? As soon as you stop writing whether it be laptop dying or random reset, your writing is saved on your Grammarly account, which again, is absolutely free! You can even download it onto your smartphone and it will help you with texts, emails, facebook posts, you name it, it's super helpful! It helps me a lot because when I get into the flow of writing I don't take time to stop and edit every few seconds, Grammarly keeps track of it and I can go back later and click, click, click, and a whole paragraph is edited, super handy!
A friend mentioned it to me and as soon as I checked it out, I fell in love! Instead of paying thousands of dollars for editing I spend hundreds of hours sitting down and doing it myself. I would insert chapter after chapter and edit that way!
After I edited the entire book through the free Grammarly program, I decided to upgrade to Grammarly Premium which is $29.95 a month. I figured it would be helpful to take the whole month and spend the $30 and edit on a deeper level and save a ton of money in the long run. Most editorial estimates on my book were in the $1500 range, and as a 17- year old babysitter who is paying to self-publish (publishing a book is not free) I did not have that kind of money, but Grammarly Premium was doable. Yes, it took a lot more time, many hours, and there were times I wanted to quit, but I had to remind myself continually of how it would be worth it in the end.
If you'd like to check out Grammarly for free, I recommend it, here is the link-> https://grammarly.go2cloud.org/SH1Qd
If you are writing a book, blog, or important article/email, I would highly recommend for you to upgrade to Grammarly Premium, it saves you a lot of time, energy, and money. I love that it fixes errors you didn't know existed or needed to be changed.
In June of 2017, a friend connected me with a lady from my old church who was a college professor and editor as well. I contacted her and she decided to bless me with editing my book as well! She spent a ton of time editing and then sat down with me to explain things that I had ZERO CLUE about. I was thankful to hear an outsiders perspective. Sandra did an in-depth edit and it took more hours to go back and correct mistakes, reword things, and change the slang of how I wrote certain things.
In July, I sent the book to a friend of mine, Kate Frantz who is also an author, go check out her new book Awakenings on Amazon! She proofread for me and gave me some helpful feedback about interior design!
August 2017, I sent it once again to that first friend who edited the book for me, Connie. She did another scan over it and checked it for errors.
After that whole process, I read through it again a few more times and checked for grammar, mistakes, and places that needed to be reworded. Then, I got to the point where I was absolutely sick of editing, I spend so many hours, tears, and energy going through it and I was done.
(Once I completed my book and read through it once more, I have found errors, its part of what happens when you don't have a extra money to pay for multiple editors. I did the best I could with what I had and even though the book is not perfect, it is complete!)
I then got the book ready to be published, things started lining up for me as I prayed and asked God what the next step was. He knew I had no idea what I was doing, therefore he brought the perfect thing into my path, which I will talk about in my blog next Wednesday! If you believe you have a book inside of you, which I believe you do, or you're just curious as to how I self-published, be sure to check it out!
Lastly, if you have any questions for me about The Book Journey, please leave me a comment or send me a message on the "Contact Serena" page, I would love to hear your feedback and answer your questions as well! God bless you all!