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Go Fast or Go Slow

Should you go fast or go slow? Obviously, the answer to this question depends on what the activity or business is that you are talking about. I am asking this question as an author.

For transparency, I am also asking this as a Christian. Sometimes people get upset when I write from a Christian viewpoint, but I make no apologies. A person’s faith never operates apart from their social and business lives. Our true faith is demonstrated in how we live, work, and play. To think otherwise is to fool yourselves.

More about this on the other side of this break.

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Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

One could say that I learned the craft of writing by going through the school of hard knocks. When I started out as a young man in his twenties, I knew little about writing other that I loved to read, had a great imagination, and not much else. While I am sure there were courses out there that were available, they were expensive.

But I was able to take one for a short time until I got laid off from work and had to cancel the course. But it did whet my appetite for writing. I discovered I had some talent, so my dream of being an author was galvanized.

But that was a time when I first answered the question of whether to go fast or go slow. I wasn’t a Christian. So, praying for guidance was not a factor. I went fast and seized the opportunity. While it fizzled out, I did learn some basics and was encouraged.

It wasn’t until I got saved, that is I received Christ as my Savior, that I began seeking His guidance. But God had some cleaning up to do in my life, so I continued to run in to writing roadblocks. But in 2000 it changed!

First, you need to understand that I have a Do It Yourself (DIY) personality. That doesn’t always work out for the best. In the field of writing, I had to learn a great deal about writing. This learning came about through failures.

I would begin writing a story, get about three to five chapters in and suddenly hit a wall. I didn’t know how to handle that obstacle and it invariably led to my dropping the book. But then in 2000, I was doing my morning devotions in the Book of Genesis and reading about Noah and the Flood.

I love history, so reading the historical account of the Flood triggered my imagination. And I suddenly realized that the Biblical account was all I needed for my understanding of man’s sin, and God’s judgment. But I also realized that there were individual stories only hinted at. And thus was born my first book, Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles, which later was united with another book to form the basis for Perished: The World That Was.

Up until I wrote Refuge, I was ‘going slow’. But upon publishing my first novel in 2003, I opted to ‘go fast’. And I began pursuing greater knowledge and learning the art of being a DIYer.

With my first novel, I entered the world of DIY editing. Most professionals advise against editing your own work. A large part of their opinion is based on the fact that as the writer of the book, you know what you wrote, and it is quite easy to gloss over errors. I don’t mean you let them slide, but rather you don’t see them. Your mind tricks you into believing you wrote the right word or had the right punctuation and thereby you miss the error. If you want to be a success at editing your own publications, then you need to know the 1st Principle.

1st Principle : If you are going to go DIY, then know that it will be hard, very hard!

One of the reasons I chose to edit my own work, is that I didn’t trust the self-publisher I was using. I love the King James Bible and regard it as not only the best and most accurate Bible, but the only Bible for English speaking people. I was afraid they would change the verses that I used. (I integrated the King James Version verses into the book and the language of the book.)

Thus, I was now saddled with editing the entire book. And I quickly discovered that it was not easy. But I have never looked back at that decision and regretted it. Instead, my writing improved and so did my editing.

2nd Principle : Even professional editors make mistakes.

Over the years I have read some highly successful books. Books that are considered classics. And everyone had mistakes in them. What was the difference between their mistakes and mine? Mostly, the number of mistakes made. Professionals go over the book thoroughly and if you are going to do your own editing, you must do the same thing! This is a case of ‘going slow’.

In 2014 my wife and I formed T&R Independent Books and we became Indie Publishers. This started out as ‘going fast’, but in that same year and only about a month afterward, I had a heart attack. Needless to say, I had to slow down a lot!

But learning to be a master at writing, editing, proofing, and publishing at the same time was itself a slow process. But a necessary one.

3rd Principle : The hard work was worth it!

I have learned some professional traits along the way. But I also fell into a well-laid trap. We live in a world where making big money consumes most Americans. And that included me!

So, I became focused on the end result of making a lot of money. I read and listened to just about anyone that seemed to have success. I learned about funnels, give-a-ways, relationship selling, email lists, and much more. And yes, these did not always agree with one another.

I was now ‘going fast’, too fast! And I had so much knowledge that I was confused as to what to do. Think of a race car spinning its wheels and going nowhere.

But just as God used my heart attack to slow me down, He also allowed me to see how that my focus was on the wrong thing. I saw that my reason for writing was not to make a ton of money, but to write a quality book that people would enjoy.

I slowed down and began to review my goals. I got a mentor who began changing my way of thinking. I learned to keep the knowledge that was more in tune with my reason for writing and tossed much of the rest.

Don’t get me wrong. As a Christian one of my motives is to spread the gospel. And that requires money. But instead of money just for myself, it was now money to achieve a godly goal.

Many changes have begun taking shape under the influence of my mentor, my own growth as a Christian, and my growth as a writer. Just yesterday, I got in my car and headed for a local bookstore to talk to the owner. I wanted to get her perspective on marketing my latest book, World of Joseph.

But I had forgotten that the bookstore was closed on Mondays. On the way home, God spoke to my heart. He had let me go there with the purpose of reminding me to ‘go slow’. Or better yet, to ‘wait upon the Lord’!

Oh, that is hard. I try to be a patient man, but it doesn’t always work out that way. God reminded me that it is always best ‘to wait upon the Lord’.

4th Principle : Listen to God. If you are born again, having received Christ and have the Indwelling Holy Spirit within you, then you have all you really need. God has your best interests at heart.

Should you go fast or go slow? The fact is that all of us need to go at God’s speed. He has the fast speed for some, slow speed for others, and still others are told to wait.

There’s a verse for that. In Isaiah 40:31, it says, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Wait on God’s leading, follow the pace He sets for you, and true success will come according to His timetable.

All three formats of World of Joseph are available at Amazon. But the paperback and hardcover are available at TR Independent Bookstore where all our books are always discounted. Now that the special discount of World of Joseph of 20% ended at midnight of the 19th, both formats are still discounted the same as all our books. So, you still have great bargains!

Speaking of reviews, why not review one of my books. Next month I plan on submitting more books to be reviewed on Booksprout, but you don’t have to wait. If you buy one of our books from Amazon, you can post a review. Or you can try Goodreads where I am listed as R. Riddle.

We are proud to be able to offer you the best possible experience at TR Independent Bookstore. Whether you are living in Southwest Florida or elsewhere in the United States, we want to be your local bookstore. We are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

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Ron’s Tip of the Day DIY Grammar

Today’s Issue: DIY Grammar

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays I will share a tip with you. Today I am looking at DIY Grammar.

Experts tell us that an author should never do their own editing; to leave it to the professionals. And they have a lot of good reasons for saying that, chief among them is this: you, the author, know what you meant when you wrote the book. Your mind expects to see the words and meaning that you meant to put down; the professional does not. The professional looks at your work with an independent eye and more easily spots poor grammar, etc.

But you and I know we will do our own editing!

 The reason is pocketbook easy to understand. Professionals cost money! So, unless we can afford it, we are going to Do It Yourself (DIY).

Being a DIY editor requires time, effort, and honesty. It is that last part that is hard. We get married to phrases, descriptions, etc. and don’t want to change. It is hard, but sometimes necessary to divorce from them.

Some Tips to Help You.

  • Use Word’s ABC Word checker which checks for spelling, grammar, and more.
  • Don’t rely totally on it though. Sometimes it will want to make corrections that are bizarre! For example, a character may be speaking or thinking in poor grammar. In a novel that is perfectly OK, if it is part of the character’s personality or education.
  • Review your book more than once. You could, for example, use one reading to check for general errors, another reading for proper wording, checking sentences, and more.
  • Consider having a relative or friend review your book for plot, character development, grammar, and more.
  • Before publishing get a printed copy (Proof) and review it again.

Final Tip

After you’re done there will probably still be errors. But that is true with professionals also, though they may deny it. Even Classics have errors.

Tip of the Day: DIY requires time, effort, and honesty. But it’s worth it!

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Self Critiquing

Today I am writing about Self Critiquing.

It is popular to advise writers to avoid doing their own editing. Get, they say, a professional so that your work will be at its very best. The reason given is very true: When you review and edit your own book you may not catch the errors. Not because you’re incompetent but because you know what you are trying to say and your mind might translate the words on paper to say what you want it to say.

For example, you may have intended to write, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” But you actually wrote, “My son, God will provide his self a lamb for a burnt offering.” Forgetting for the moment this is scripture, you have changed the actual words. The meaning is the same but the words have been changed. Sometimes the meaning isn’t altered but you erred as far as the words are concerned. But when you edit it you may not see the error because in your mind’s eye you actually read it the way it was meant.

That is a legitimate concern. But do you need professionals to review your work? Professionals cost money and if you are on a tight budget then your ability to hire them tends to be non-existent. Whether you use a professional or amateur you need to do much of the editing yourself. It is your book and your responsibility. If your budget allows it then consider a professional, but if not then plan B should involve repeated reviews and edits.

Now some may say that is bad advice. That it will result in errors. But the truth is that whether you edit the book or a professional edits it there will be errors. Don’t believe me, then the next time you are reading a popular or classic novel keep an eye out for errors. You won’t find many, but you are likely to find some.

The key is repeated reviews. If you can involve others in reviewing your work, so much the better for the work. The more eyes the better chances you’ll have of catching the errors. By the way, one of the advantages of publishing your book yourself is that if you discover errors after it is published you can still correct and republish.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.