Contact Candace Davenport

Set a Meeting or Send a Message

Contact Form and Meeting Scheduler by vCita

Discover How Becoming a Published Author Will Improve Your Credibility and Make You an Expert in Your Field! 

Search Site

Entries in writing (11)

Thursday
Jan292015

How Can Writing Change Your Life?

You want to write that novel that has been rattling around in your head for years. Or, you know you should write that non-fiction book for your business because you understand the principle that it is important to be seen as a business expert and a published author. But the idea of writing a 200-300 page book seems so overwhelming and intimidating that you just can't seem to get going. Besides, your book will be a success only if someone wants to read it, it is well written, and provides enough information that your potential readers want more. How do you do that if you don't even know where to start?

My suggestion would be to take a writing class, or an online writing course or a writer's workshop. Even if you don't think you can write a single word, or don't have a clue of what to write, or think you hate writing, if you get connected to people who know how to write, you will learn tips and techniques that will take your ideas and turn them into something worth publishing and maybe even learn to have fun when you write!

When I run an Our Little Books' Writer's Workshop, I have people set out their intentions for the day before we even start. I feel that if people put what they want to accomplish out into the nethersphere, then they are more likely to focus on what they want to do with their writing all during the day. I always include myself in this intention stating process as my intentions as the writing guide, are small. All I really want to have done by the end of the day is to change everyone's lives, even if just a little! As I said, nothing too big...

I don't expect major life altering shifts (although that has happened), but rather I want participants to walk out of there thinking a bit differently about themselves. I want them to be more aware of their writing and their ability to write. I want them to realize that writing will change them as a person and that what they write will change others. People don't write in a vacuum. You not only write for others, you write for yourself, and that process has to change you in some degree.

In an Our Little Books Writer's Workshop, we walk through connecting to your deeper self because before you can write for someone else, you have to know who you are. We talk about why YOU are specifically the one to write YOUR book. We spend a lot of time on stories because stories are the key to connecting you to someone else. We connect our stories to our passions and what we may be passionate about. We talk about publishing and spend time really defining who we are writing for (and it's not 'anyone breathing'!). We mind map our book, getting at least 10 chapter ideas to start. Throughout this whole process, we write, write and write. It is a writer's workshop after all!

What this process accomplishes is a much better understanding of who you are, how your stories connect you to everyone and how you can change someone's life with your book. That is a very powerful process. Going through that process can not help but change you in any number of ways, certainly the least of which is having you feel like a writer. Then you only have to take the next step and finish getting your book written!

Candace Davenport is a Writing Mentor and Publishing Consultant for Our Little Books. For those of you who would like to work with her 1 on 1 on how to write your book, or would like to explore how you can publish with Our Little Books, please contact her for a free consultation. For those interested in getting started writing, the next one-day Writer's Workshop will be on 5/16/15 in Alameda, CA.

Tuesday
Dec092014

Style Your Writing For Your Target Market

You know you are a good writer. You write and edit and proof and edit again and then proudly post your words. But you aren't getting the response you expected. Why don't people see how brilliant you are? Why don't you get people flocking to your site/blog/products/services? Most likely it is because, despite how brilliant your words are, you are not talking in your target market's language so that they can understand.

We all talk a certain way and we all write a certain way. But if you are writing non-fiction for your business, unless you use words that your target market (the people you are trying to reach) will understand, your words are going to be wasted because the people you are writing for will not get it. Your words will not connect with them and so they won't see how you can help. It's not in their language.

Think of traveling. You are in a foreign country and you try to communicate with the population in your own language. They may get the sense of what you are saying, but they won't understand the underlying concepts. They won't take the time to figure out what it is that you are really tying to say. They won't really connect with you. Your target market is the same way.

Most of the time your target market will not be as smart as you in your area of expertise. That's why you are the expert and why they need you. But they don't want to hear all those big words/concepts that you throw around as the expert. They don't want perfect sentences. They want to know how you are going to help them. They want something that makes sense TO THEM!! So, you need to write in words that they will understand. You don't need to change your ideas. Keep the exact same content, but make it an easier read. This has absolutely nothing to do with content- just writing style.

Remember, you are inviting them to work with you or buy your services. You are not trying to get a passing grade on a thesis. If they don't understand what you want them to do because you are speaking a language that they don't understand, then they will never become your clients. Be very clear on who your target market is, then listen to their language. Find out who they are, how they 'talk'. Then talk to them so they can hear. You are likely to find you will get far more responses if you just listen and style your writing for your target market.

Candace Davenport is a Writing Mentor and Publishing Consultant for Our Little Books. For those of you who would like to work with her 1 on 1 on how to work with writing for your target market, or would like to explore how you can publish with Our Little Books, please contact her for a free consultation. For those interested in getting started writing, the next one-day Writer's Workshop will be on 5/16/15 in Alameda, CA.

Wednesday
Dec032014

How Can Copyright Protect Your Work?

We are very pleased to offer the second of a 2 part blog post from Barbara Ingrassia, Copyright Manager extraordinaire, for Our Little Books Guest Post Wednesday. The first part dealt with what you can do with other peoples' work and this second part is devoted to how you can protect your own work. Remember, knowledge is power!

In the previous post, I discussed how you can comply with copyright law as a consumer of 3rd party copyrighted works.  In this post, I’ll discuss how you as a CREATOR can protect your original creative work.

Imagine, you’ve put your time and energy into this new work. You’ve cleared the rights for 3rd party works, as appropriate, and provided attribution for quotations, ideas, etc. You CREATED a new work. Now, how do you protect your investment?

First of all, you have to understand that copyright does not protect ideas, but the expression of original, creative ideas. So, at the moment an original creative work is fixed in a tangible medium of expression (i.e., down on paper), it is protected by copyright (including print, audio, video, digital).

While it is not required that you include a copyright notice (© Year. Name. All Rights Reserved) in order to establish copyright, I highly recommend that you do. Place it on the title page, home page, at the end of a post, on the label, meaning in a conspicuous location. This is a very simple step, but very important. Why? It signals users that:

  1. the work is copyright-protected
  2. when it was copyrighted
  3. who is the copyright owner, and
  4. what rights are available to the user

Then there is no excuse for a user to claim that they didn’t know that the work was copyrighted. You might also include your contact information (typically email address) to make it easy for users to request permission to use the work.

Consider taking an additional step to increase the protection: register the copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. Again, it’s not required, but there are advantages:

  1. Establishes a public record (searchable online)
  2. Allows the filing of an infringement suit
  3. Makes statutory damages and attorney’s fees available to the copyright owner, and
  4. Allows registration with the U.S. Customs Service to protect against the importation of unauthorized copies. 

It is not expensive to register and you can complete the forms online. There are very helpful tutorials and FAQs to help you complete the forms; in most cases you do not need an attorney to complete the submission process. To register a work go to: http://copyright.gov/ The date your file is complete will be the effective date of the copyright, if granted. Understand that the Copyright Office will not monitor use of your content; that is your responsibility. Search the Internet regularly for use of key, unique phrases from your work, as well as your name.

In the past, many authors have (sometimes unknowingly) transferred all of their rights to another party—usually a publisher. If you are working with a publisher, think about what uses you would like to make of your work, and negotiate to retain those rights. A signed license/transfer agreement trumps copyright law. In your excitement to be published, don’t simply sign the form presented to you. Today, thanks in part to the rise of self-publishing on the Internet, many authors are able to retain their copyrights. (Note from Our Little Books: we support our authors and never take their copyright. Listen to Barbara's advice...check your agreements before signing!)

One last point: when you are planning a joint project, create and sign a written agreement clarifying who will own the copyright. This is particularly important if volunteers, interns, contractors (illustrators, photographers, graphic artists, etc.), or employers may be involved. Don’t just assume that you will own the original creative work of others who contribute to the project. Yes, copyright in the digital age can seem complicated and murky, but you can learn to manage copyright so it doesn’t manage you.

Barbara Ingrassia is a Certified Copyright Manager who provides one-on-one consultations, workshops, and seminars on all issues copyright. To engage Barbara for an audit of your website for copyright issues or for more information about copyright, request the free 16 Page report 10 Biggest Copyright Mistakes Small Business Owners Make AND How to Avoid Them! by sending an email to barb@managecopyright.com with the subject line CREPORT. Manage copyright. Don’t let it manage You!℠

(Information provided here should not be construed as legal advice.)

The content of this post is © 2014 Barbara C. Ingrassia All Rights Reserved.

Saturday
Nov222014

Why Your First Draft Does Not Have To Be Perfect

So many of the authors I work with tell me how hard it is to get their words down on paper; that their first draft is never how they imagine it in their heads; that they spend an inordinate amount of time on just one paragraph; that it is just not good enough! They work in fits and starts, never getting to where they think they should be. Sound familiar?

I almost always respond to these complaints with one of my most favorite quotes:

FIRST DRAFTS DON'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT. THEY JUST HAVE TO BE WRITTEN!

As far as I'm concerned, perfectionism and self-doubt is deadly for writers. It doesn't mean that you can't go back and change a word here and there, or when you've gotten down a chapter or section going back and working on that. But if that changing or seeking that absolute perfect word gets in your way of plowing through your first draft, then you may have a problem as you will over-think and never be happy with your words on the paper and so nothing will ever move forward to a completed draft. Unfortunately, for some, they spend as much time fighting against perfectionism and self-doubt as they spend in actual writing time.

Why do people believe that what they put down the first time needs to be perfect? I think it is probably a combination of several things- usually all stemming from the self-doubt rattling around in their head. The inner head critic starts telling you that “your plot is stupid or doesn't make sense” or “everyone already knows all the stuff you are writing so why bother as no one will want to read what you write” or “people are going to laugh at your writing” or “ that you are stupid or can't write”. What happens as these thoughts rattle around is that they will impede the flow of your writing. “But if I just can spend time fixing that word, or changing that, then people will think I'm brilliant...” Unfortunately, the result is that you will be brilliant, but only in your own head because you will never get anything out there for others to read so no one can tell you you aren't brilliant!

Remember, you will probably revise something smaller like a blog post 3-4 times before posting it. For larger pieces such as short stories or books, you may revise many more times before you even hand it off to an editor. Writing through your perfectionism and overthinking is not easy but it is something you need to do on your first draft. I will tell my authors to turn off the computer screen when they are writing until they have finished writing for the session. This will focus them on just getting it down and they won't get hung up on going back and re-reading and second guessing while they are getting words down on paper. Okay, reality check here... how many of you just said, “I couldn't do that and not see what I've written!” Well, try it. It will help in breaking the habit of constantly second guessing yourself on your writing.

When you stop spending so much time on your word choice or imperfections of your writing in your first draft, you will leave yourself much more time to actually write. Remember and focus on the end result of sharing your story/truth with others and trust that it will get there at its own time. (That's why you're writing, remember?) But you can't move forward until that first draft is written. It doesn't have to be perfect. That's why God made editors! You need to just get it down on paper.

For those interested in getting started writing, my next one-day Writer's Workshop will be on 1/24/15 in Alameda, CA. In the alternative, for those of you who would like to work with me 1 on 1 on getting down your first draft or your story out of your head onto paper, or would like to explore how you can publish with Our Little Books, please contact me for a free consultation.

Saturday
Jul052014

Beans and Writing Overwhelm- Is There a Connection?

I just brought in a handful of beans for dinner tonight. I live in a smallish apartment, on the second floor, so all my ‘gardening’ is done on my small balcony. Instead of having rows of beans, I have to plant each plant in its own pot, starting with good organic dirt mixed with my worm castings which provides wonderful organic fertilizer.

I get the worm castings from my box of worms I have up on the balcony as well, which I feed with all my food scraps, cardboard, and various other organic material. Although gardening on a small scale, I am able to get my hands into dirt, plant either a seed or seedling, and the soul-enriching chance to watch what I started grow into a plant that provides me with food whose trimmings then go back to feeding my worms. A truly life satisfying cycle. 

Someone said to me that all that seemed to be a whole lot of work for such a little reward, picking just a handful of beans maybe only 3-4 times a season. While others are bringing bags of extra zucchini and tomatoes to share with their friends (a VERY good thing, I might add as I was one of those people when I owned my home with a huge organic garden!), I am happily content with what I produce given the space/time available. The difference is just size. I still get to play in the dirt. I still get to see my plants grow and I still get to produce wonderful food. I just do it on a smaller scale, and I don’t get overwhelmed as I used to keeping track of my previous large garden. 

The same can be said for writing. People look at writing as a huge task, expecting huge results. This can create what I call writing overwhelm, which then can result in just doing nothing! When I lived in my house with my huge garden, there were times when all the necessary digging, weeding, planting, watering and general tending created garden overwhelm where I ended up getting nothing done. But when I broke it down to weeding or watering one section, then doing another section the next day, it became completely manageable.

Think of writing as a small, balcony garden. Do a little at a time and keep at it. Slow and steady is what is going to bring big results. Set up a time to write, every day, even if only for 10 minutes. But keep at it. Plant your writing seed. If you can’t think of anything to write about, write about not being able to think of anything to write about. Or think of how beans and writing go together! Who would have thought that there was a connection. It is all there in your head. Just nurture it and allow it to come out in small, little bursts rather than getting into writing overwhelm. Keep at it and your ideas will grow into beautiful successes!

 

For those of you who would like more tips on how to deal with writing overwhelm, or how to work with me 1 on 1 to get your ideas down on paper, I am doing a free online webinar on August 5th, 2014, and I will discuss my four step process.