Life in progress


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#SoCS – Critical Thinking

I don’t like criticizing people. Okay, maybe I do criticize members of my family and my best friend once in a while (shut up, John), but people I don’t know very well–people who might take my criticism the wrong way–I don’t like to criticize. Why not? Because I don’t want them to think I’m judging them. I like to think of myself as non-judgmental. Really, I don’t judge.

So what did I do? I chose editing as a career. Possibly one of the most critic-heavy jobs one can do. I criticize people’s writing for a living.

Maybe it’s being critical without being judgmental that’s the biggest challenge for me. And I do love a challenge. What I do NOT do is judge people’s writing. I don’t judge people on their ability to write a certain way, or on their lack of knowing the difference between “discrete” and “discreet,” for instance.

Look at it this way:

I can tell you your fly is open without judging you. That might be seen as criticizing your ability to remember to do your fly up, but still, I don’t judge you for it. I assume it was a mistake and that you’re not trying to flash me. My biggest reason for telling you is so you’ll do it up before someone comes along and laughs at you for it, less discreetly than I did.

The difference between that and editing? After all, ideally, I edit before someone indiscreetly points and at you and judges you for not knowing the difference between “discrete” and “discreet.”

The difference is, you don’t have to spend thousands of hours learning how to notice someone’s fly is down. You just have to have a good eye. Or a bad eye. Don’t judge me!!

SoCS badge by Pamela, at https://achronicalofhope.com/

This very late, very non-judgmental post is brought to you by Stream of Consciousness Sunday Saturday. Click the following link to find all the other critics posts for this week. It’s fun! https://lindaghill.com/2019/02/22/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-23-19/


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Testify – #JusJoJan 2019 Jot #28

It’s been more than a year since I secured (and paid for, twice so far) my editing website. I have a price schedule set out, and I have testimonials from a few authors. Like, people who would testify that I know how to grammar and everything. (Please don’t judge me by that last sentence. I’m joking.) And yet, I’ve been too busy–editing, mostly–to complete the website. I have return clients lined up who will potentially keep me working for the better part of the year, though I’m not precisely sure when they’ll call on me.

But it isn’t only being busy that’s prevented me from setting up shop. My home life gets so chaotic sometimes that I’m afraid I won’t be able to keep up with the demands of the job. Which is a completely unfounded fear, because aside from the instances when my clients haven’t delivered their work on time, I’ve never missed a deadline. My own doubts are preventing me from expanding my horizons, so to speak.

So that’s that–that’s all the news on that front.

And it gave me an excuse to use the word “testify.”


“Testify” is the prompt word for today, brought to us by Dan. Thanks, Dan! Click here to find his JusJoJan post for today. And say hi while you’re there!

 

It’s never too late to participate in Just Jot it January! Click the following link to find out how, and see all the other participants’ links in the comment section. It’s fun! https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/28/jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-28th/


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#SoCS – Precious Words

One for the record books–the day I was a full hour and fifteen minutes late starting on my own prompt.

A few times today (yesterday) I actually sat down to write this, but I got distracted. Pulled away, or at the very least had the feeling that if I started, I wouldn’t be able to finish.

Which is my most-used excuse for not writing fiction.

So I’m sitting here now, in the wee hours of Sunday morning with my cup of peppermint tea, waiting for the Tylenol to kick in. And now, I will close my eyes and type.

How are our words precious?

They have such power. Our voices–the way we communicate, whether by voice itself or by written word–have the power to affect so much. So many others. It’s not the words themselves, but the way we choose to use them. Our expressions, our tone, our gestures … our voice.

Writers starting out are often confused over what we refer to as authorial voice. As an editor, I can see a writer’s voice as plain as day. It’s much like we speak. Because our thoughts drive both our speech and the way we write, they come out very similar in structure.

And those inner voices … Those, if we really pay attention to them, show the real us, if only to ourselves. Can you imagine if we said everything we thought? Ha! My stream of consciousness just went haywire. If only I could type as fast as I think.

But maybe I overthink things like this because I have such a passion for words. They have the potential for such beauty and such ugliness, all of which drive the human spirit–create our experiences of others and even ourselves. They can inspire us and they can scar us. Lift us up or drive us into the pit of despair.

Words are precious.

If we could all use them both wisely and with kindness and empathy, the world could be without conflict.

And I’d be out of a job.

(Because without conflict, a story is boring. 😛 )

SoCS badge by Pamela, at https://achronicalofhope.com/

This extremely late and utterly rambling post is brought to you by Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Click the link to find all the entries in the comments. And join in! https://lindaghill.com/2018/10/12/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-13-18/


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#SoCS – Doors we don’t go through

As the last door I went through that wasn’t mine was my son’s school door, it got me to thinking about my own school. I refer to it as mine loosely, for two reasons. One is I haven’t taken a course in almost a year–I’ve either been too busy making money to afford one, or too broke to afford one. There has to be a solution there somewhere … Save the money? Yeah. But I keep spending it on stupid things like hydro and gas.

The other reason I hesitate to call it my school is I’ll probably never walk through the front door of it. According to Google maps, it’s about 4,600km (2,858 miles) away, which is apparently a 42-hour drive. That’s one hell of a commute every day … or every four days if I don’t sleep. It really looks like a lovely place though. https://www.sfu.ca/ Lovely enough that I’ll try to visit one day.

Weird that we now have the technology and means to go anywhere in the world, but we rarely do. I imagine if I cut off my Internet and saved the money instead to fly around the world, I’d get out a lot more. But then, how would I know where to go without the Internet to show me the great places I could visit? Sure, I could go to restaurants and use their Internet, but that would result in spending my money again. Especially if I have to drag the kids along so they could get their Internet fixes. Yeah, bad idea.

This post is brought to you by Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Click the link to read all the other entries, which you’ll find in the comments, and join in yourself. It’s fun! https://lindaghill.com/2018/02/23/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-24-18/


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#SoCS – To Do

My to-do list is once again way over the top. I find it much easier when that list is dominated by stuff I have to do for other people. When I promise someone I will, for instance, have their editing job done on a certain day, nine times out of ten I get it done early. I’m able to concentrate better when I have someone counting on me. I have discipline. When it’s only me counting on me, I have none.

At the moment I’m supposed to be working on three short stories (I have a deadline for two of them, but they’re not motivating me yet), one of which I’ve gone as far as creating a Word document and naming. Not a single word in the document itself. The other two I have great ideas for, but the deadline for the first is closer. As someone wise once said (Stephen King?) starting is the hardest part.

My excuse for not working on my novel is I’m waiting for a beta reader to get back to me. I could work on it anyway, but there’s this short story …

All in all it seems I’m the last person on my to-do list who has any clout. I love to make other people happy by getting their work done on time, but me–meh. I’m not that important. I need to find a way to change that. And I need to find a way to stop procrastinating. In other words, I need to get off my ass and do things for me.

Suggestions on how to do that are welcome.

This post (that I managed to write, despite procrastinating) is brought to you by Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Click the link to find the other entries in the comment section, and join in today! https://lindaghill.com/2018/02/02/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-3-18/


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#JusJoJan 2018, the 4th – Passionate

I love language. My love for it compels me to study it constantly; it compelled me to become an editor. But I hadn’t realized how much of a passion I had for it until a couple of months ago when I talked to the dictionary.

It’s interesting, when I think of a dictionary as an old, unchangeable tome, to find that it really is a living and breathing entity. I use Merriam-Webster as a matter of course when I edit, because it’s associated with the Chicago Manual of Style, which I also rely on. So when I looked up the word “nocked” on Merriam-Webster online for a client, I was confused to find it wasn’t there. “Nock” was, but the conjugations were absent. So I wrote to them. And half an hour later, they replied with this:

Dear Linda:

Thanks for your email. Our online dictionary is based very loosely on one of our printed dictionaries, and it still maintains a few print-based conventions (though we’re doing our best to work through them). One of them is that participial adjectives like “nocked” that clearly derive from the verb and which have the same meaning core as the verb are covered by the participle, and therefore the verb. “Nocked,” then, would mean “having a nock or notch” or “fitted against a bowstring.”

I hope this is helpful. Thanks for writing.

Cordially,
Lee Goodrich, Editorial Department
Merriam-Webster, Inc.

I admit, I fangirled a bit.

This post is brought to you by Just Jot it January, and in particular, prompted by the word, “passionate,” provided by Rosemary! Thank you so much, Rosemary! You can find Rosemary’s JusJoJan post by clicking right here. Please go and say hi! To participate in the prompt, please visit this post, where you’ll find the rules and you can leave your link in the comments.


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#SoCS – All or Almost Nothing

All the time I’ve blogged up until now–all four and a half years–I’ve been jobless. Okay, I have the 24/7 job of single-handedly looking after my two disabled kids, but other than a paper route, I haven’t had a job that paid me anything. I haven’t needed to work due to the money my kids receive from the government, thank goodness. But that won’t last forever. If one of them decides to move out, or if I don’t receive as much money when Alex turns eighteen next year (which I expect will be the case), I won’t have enough money to keep a roof over their heads.

Thus, the career in editing. And my forced inattention to my blog and those who support it. It’s not an “all or nothing” situation yet, but you might have noticed that I’m not visiting you as much lately. It’s not a case that I don’t want to, believe me. There are just so many hours in a day.

To be honest, I feel almost guilty enough to stop doing the prompts. Although you seem to be doing okay without my input, I feel like I’m being rude. Please know I’m doing my best.

In other news, I’ve been trying to get out for walks more often. This editing gig requires a lot of time sitting on my butt, and I decided that before I’m able to take up the entire couch by myself, I needed to get some exercise. Unfortunately, my beloved waterfront trail is under water at the moment. Here are some before and after shots:

So instead of walking down at the waterfront, I’ve been strolling around the neighbourhood, taking pictures of doors and flowers and bunnies.

Join us in Stream of Consciousness Saturday! Click this link to find out how! You know what’s better than SoCS? Nothing!