writing is also editing

“Good writing is all about great editing. If there are writers who consistently put out publishable first drafts, I don’t know them. Every really good writer I know understands that the name of the game is editing.”

Shauna Niequist

Earlier this week, we discussed how writing really is revision – it is so important! I would argue that most of my best writing cranks out of revising my work.

Today, I wanted to talk about the beauty of editing. Life Rich Publishing describes the editing process, which consists of checking for repetition, ensuring clarity, and fixing any grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors (The 5-Step Writing Process, Life Rich Publishing).

Life Rich also recommends that writers hire an editor or use the editing services available through their site (you can find some of their writing resources here: http://www.liferichpublishing.com/AuthorResources/).

While I am absolutely confident that Life Rich is a great company, I wanted some proof from someone who knows the game and plays it well. That’s where Shauna comes in. Back in 2013, she published a blog post on what the editing process is like – what she loves about it and how effective and useful that process really is. You can read more about her thoughts here. I read the post, and her lasting piece of advice for me was to “do the heavy lifting.”

That means doing the hard work to make your book phenomenal. It means cutting, moving, and removing. It means rearranging. And it means putting in a lotttt of work. But the companies and the professionals really say it’s worth it! I definitely think it’s worth it if they think so 🙂

So happy editing! I know it’s not fun, but the payoff will be worth it when we hold our very own book in our very own hands.

Please let me know your comments and questions below! Thanks for reading!





I recently read an article from LifeRich Publishing that gives some insight into the book writing process (all the articles <3).

I think that we have, in this space, covered a good bit of information about various stages in writing your book – building your idea, brainstorming, outlining based on your book proposal, and actually writing (no small task). Today, I want to talk about revision.

My last post was some quick, late night thoughts on revision and how all writing is actually revision.

LifePublishing says that your story, your novel, your book, can change quite a bit during this stage in the process. LifePublishing explains the ARRR approach:

  • Add: “The average book has between 60,000 and 100,000 words. Have you given your readers all the information they need to make sense of your story?”
  • Rearrange: “Consider the flow, pacing and sequencing of your story. Would the plot be better served if some of the events occur in a different order?” Specifically here, in writing nonfiction, the plot could look a lot of different ways. Consider other orders that could help your book even more.
  • Remove: “After making additions to your story, how is your word count now? Are your readers experiencing information overload? Take out what is no longer necessary.”
  • Replace: “The most effective way to revise your work is to ask for a second opinion. Do you need more vivid details to help clarify your work? Is one scene contradicting another? Ask friends or fellow writers to take a look and give you feedback, and if something isn’t working rewrite it and replace it.” Personally, we do a lot of this in my courses at my University. This is where we most scream that writing is revision 🙂

[See more at: The 5-Step Writing Process]

I encourage you to practice ARRR in your writing. Looking back on my undergraduate career, I can see how I used each of these parts in my writing. I hope this helps your writing process!

Happy Monday and happy writing!


writing is revision

It is 12:48 am on a Saturday night, and I am up, awake, typing away at my keyboard. Tomorrow, I have a revision of an essay due.  Not only do I make some changes, I must defend those changes in a two-page defense that gives all the why’s.

As I read back over my paper tonight, I was shockingly aware of all of the holes I left, the grammar I incorrectly used, the parts of my essay that needed more. I thought this essay was good! I finished it with steam coming off of my fingers and I was certain that I had just created a pretty legit masterpiece.

My English teacher always says this:

Writing is revision.

While most of the time I, ashamedly, roll my eyes at that statement and at the idea of editing my own work, it is after midnight on a Saturday night and it is clear how writing really is revision. All the places my work could be better!

It is all about reading and re-reading, marking, scratching out, adding in, deleting, and so much more. I genuinely believe that our work is stronger when we revise and revisit.

As you are writing, I encourage you to do the same! Send me your words and I would be more than happy to critique – not to rip it apart, but to help it tell your story better.

Happy writing and happy Sunday!


writing through criticism

Often, I talk about how writing is a good thing. And it is! I wholeheartedly believe that. But writing is also a challenging thing. It is messy and full of emotions and there’s more than enough room for the less-than-awesome things to wiggle their way into your work.

I recently read an article by Emily P. Freeman on the hope*writers site. The article is (hilariously) called “What Leslie Knope Wants Your to Know About Criticism”. In the episode Freeman cites, Leslie Knope says that following:

“It was tough. But you know, that’s Pawnee. That’s democracy. There are a lot of people here that want this park. You just got to get past the negative people. But guess what? My subcommittee held it’s first town hall meeting tonight. God, I loved it. I loved every minute of it.”

Knope goes on to tell how someone called her “the park lady”. But even that line did not discourage Leslie. As Freeman puts it, “She was doing the work she loved no matter how it turned out. And she was the park lady.”

Somehow, miraculously, Leslie Knope is not hindered by the people making fun of her or not supporting her. She refuses to call her first town hall meeting a failure.

And I, like Freeman, cannot help but wonder what my writing would look like if I pursued it with that same kind of determination and that same kind of attitude.

We can allow criticism to stunt us or we can choose instead to see what works.

Even though that man called Knope just a park lady, she considered it joy to be a park lady. Even if she tells you you’re a terrible writer, consider is joy to be a writer.

I’m learning, in many areas of my life, that criticism from others is not the end all, be all. That the person that I am is not knocked by the criticism that I receive. That I can still write, despite the words that tell me I should not.

So friends, keep on keeping on. That is much easier said than done. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – writing is as much about you as it is about the content you produce. If writing is what you need to do, criticism should not even factor into your continuing of it.

I’d love to hear how you’re coping with criticism. It is not always easy to cope, but I believe we can rally for each other to encourage each other on. Let me know your tips below!

Happy Wednesday!


back on the grind

Hello, hello!

We took a bit of a break from the technicalities of writing and publishing a book, but I think it’s time to get back to it! Spring is here, and, I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling refreshed and ready for whatever is next.

I was doing a bit of research on what comes next – not necessarily next in chronological order, but next as in what else. We’ve already talked about writing a book proposal, but I would venture to say that most of us don’t have our dream book finished yet. I think that some things can go out of order; you don’t have to be finished with your book to write your proposal & you don’t have to have begun your book to know the process that comes publishing your book.

With that said, I found this article by Jane Friedman and learned so much from it! It offers information about the publishing industry, reasons the work you put forward might fail, the appropriate publishers for your work, and more. This is information that I would not have found otherwise, so I encourage you guys to read and learn, too!

The link is Start Here: How To Get Your Book Published. It’s a great read and so is a lot of Friedman’s content!

I’d love to hear more about what you guys are reading and/or writing! Submit your reading suggestions and your writings below!

Happy Monday!

blogs I rave about

Hi, guys!

It’s been a while since I’ve been back here. The last semester of college is definitely no joke! It has been tough and busy and challenging, but soon, I will come out on the other side with a diploma in my hand and the biggest of smiles across my face.

I haven’t been writing too much over the last few weeks (evidenced by my absence from here, so sorry!). But I have been reading. I did a social media fast – mainly for class, but it ended up working wonders on my soul. It was so sweet to step back and enjoy the silence and not be pelted with opinions all the time. But equally as sweet to read the words of those around me.

I’ve been reading blog posts lately. Blogs are my favorite because they allow you to sneak a peak into the life of some of the coolest, most intriguing people. In this post, I wanted to introduce some blogs/bloggers that I am loving these days, as well as ask you guys to add some of your favorite bloggers in the comments as well! I’m always looking for new words 🙂

Here are the folks I’m loving lately:

  • Jolie. She’s sweet, fun, and so honest that you’ll be doubled-over laughing. She does incredible calligraphy, is a boss, working mom, and some day, I’d love to be like her. Our theology is not exactly the same, but Jolie has taught me how to love in spite of that and how to find my theology in the writings of another, even in differing stances. Check her out at becoming jolie.
  • Sarah. Sarah is the strongest person I’ve ever read about. She’s fought through lots and lots of mud to be where she is today. She talks about how life isn’t perfect, but how it is so sweet in spite of that. She encourages my soul to seek the Lord and to speak boldly into His promises. On top of the good thoughts she has, she is also an incredible writer, knitting words together in a way I have never seen. Highly recommended, she’s worth it. Read her words at wonder and wandering.
  • TED blog. While this blog is not necessarily a person, this blog speaks to life and culture and humanity and all things interesting. I LOVE TED talks, like I mighhhhhht be obsessed. This blog is a perfect place to land when I need to hear some soulful words. Definitely stumble to this blog at TED blog.
  • Tsh. Talking about living simply might be my favorite topic. So much so that I made simplifying and living with less one of my goals for the year. Tsh loves to talk about what the art of simple looks like and how it can be achieved in the world we live in. Living up to your full potential and making the most of life are just some of her values. Absolutely read her other thoughts and values at the art of simple.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but I would LOVE to hear about the blogs that you guys are following! Let me know below! xoxo

books I adore

Hello, hello!

I’ve spoken before about all the value that there is in reading as you write. I believe that both processes are equally as important. I’ve shared some of the magazines that I love, but today, I’d love to share some books that I have found to do wonders in my heart. Most of these are Christian books because that’s what I tend to read most.

  • One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp – this book really changed my life. The idea of “eucharist” and what living a thankful life really looks like is something that I will never forget. The book helped me grow so much. PLUS, Ann Voskamp is a literary genius. Her writing style is a little more challenging, but so, so good and beautiful and magical. HIGHLY recommend this one.
  • Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist – another lifechanger. This book taught me to see value in the big and little stories of my life. I learned about grace and truth and the promises of God. I learned about community and Church and how to live a life worthy of the gospel.
  • Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman – the tagline of this book doesn’t do it justice. It is the story of living simply and beautifully, even on the ordinary days like Tuesday. This is a book I need to read at least once every three months to keep putting it into practice. I could not speak highly enough of this book or of the honesty and hard truths Emily P. Freeman dares to share in this book.

That’s enough for now because I genuinely want all of you to read each of those! They are real gems that will encourage your writing and your heart. Happy reading!

magazines that I’m subscribed to

Hi, friends!

My last post summarized all of the wonderful truths that I learned from the webinar with Emily P. Freeman. I wanted to take some time this morning to share some magazines with you guys. I think that writing is equally as important as reading – writing is because you have something to say, but reading is recognizing that others have things to say as well, and that is a beautiful thing. Reading magazines has become one of my favorite pastimes because it is an easy, cheap way to get lost in words. I love these magazines and am hoping you will, too!


Magazines That I’m Subscribed To:

RELEVANT Magazine – addressing our society and culture today from a biblical perspective, I can always count on RELEVANT to encourage, challenge, and remind me. It encourages me to strive be more like Christ, challenges me on my sinful lifestyle, and reminds me of the grace of God in it all.

Southern Living – all things food, decor, DIY, and being adorably Southern! This timeless magazine brightens my day when it hits my mailbox because I know that I will fall in love with each picture and each article. It is full of tips for creators and nuggets of design, I love this classic.

National Geographic – full of history, culture, and the best photography, National Geographic never fails to be interesting. I am constantly wowed by the world we live in and the beauty of it. While I am not subscribed to this magazine (yet, at least 😉 ), I love finding the older issues at thrift stores. I have copies from the 60’s and it so cool to see the evolution of our world since that time.

Real Simple – OMG, my favorite magazine! While it is a little pricer than I love ($4.99 per issue), it is so worth it! It is relatable and real. It gives tips and offers advice and tells me that everything is going to be okay. In the January 2016 issue, there was a whole article on things that you should be unapologetic for – your laugh, not taking your husband’s last name, leaving work a few minutes early. These were real answers from real people, I love that.


I’d love for you guys to share some your favorites below!


The Writers Corner

8 basics of a book proposal

“Anything that helps you become more fully yourself is never a waste of time.”

– Emily P. Freeman

Hi, friends! It has been a long week and a while since I’ve been here, but life has been crazy! I hope that you guys are doing well and that you’re writing a lot – remember, you have things worth saying!

This morning, I’d like to cover some basic elements of your book proposal. This is not necessarily a set of rules, but a set of guidelines to help you begin the process. These tips come from the “How to (finally!) Write Your First Book Proposal – Even if You Feel Clueless About Publishing” webinar that I attended with Emily P. Freeman. I am hoping that you will be encouraged and a little more equipped. So without further ado, the elements:

8 Basic Elements of Every Nonfiction Book Proposal

  1. “So what’s your book about?” This element involves talking about your book to your followers, your friends, your family. This is the hook that will keep readers reading, it will build up to your book. A lot of the time, we are fearful of talking about our goals because we are afraid of failing and having to admit that. BUT being accountable to the people in your life can actually help you keep going! So, talk, talk, talk!
  2. The Overview. This answers the basic questions of the book proposal (covered in our last post) – so what? who cares? and why you? This is where you collect the moments and bring them to life in your writing. This tells what you are passionate about and why it matters and why you should write it out.
  3. About the Book. This tells why the book is needed. It is where you will explain the genre, give the manuscript length, offer an estimated date of completion, and offer the reader benefits. This gives the technical ins and outs of your book.
  4. The Target Audience. This involves listening to what people are reading. You must research who your reader is and seek to write to that reader. Know what your target audience is reading and know how to talk to them.
  5. The Competition. This section is where you will explore what other books are similar to your book and how your book is different and/or better. A tip for this is to read other books and to read reviews on sites like Amazon. Find a similar book to your book idea and see what other books readers are buying – this gives you insight into how your book can compete with other books.
  6. The Marketing Plan. How do you plan to sell your book? A tip for developing your marketing plan (because I don’t know about you, but this is the most intimidating section!) is to develop a following. Show the following on your current blog or website and boast in that following! The people committed to you are going to continue to be loyal – publishers need to see that! Blog and email it out – MailChimp is a great tool for mass emailing.
  7. The Author Biography. This is the fun part because it involves expressing yourself. The biography tells who you are and why the readers should care. You identify with the readers – it makes you relatable and relevant to them.
  8. The Chapter Summaries. Here, you give a few sample chapters. Emily advised to not list these summaries in order, but to give random chapters – maybe Chapter 1, 2, and 7. This is the part where you get to write and show off your best writing.

I hope that you guys are encouraged by this list! I’m believing in each of you to get things done this week! I’d love to hear about where you’re at in the process – comment below and let me know!


Brenna, The Writers Corner

3 basic fears in writing

Last week, I had the privilege of attending a webinar with Emily P. Freeman, titled “How to (finally!) Write Your First Book Proposal – Even if You Feel Clueless About Publishing”. It did so much good for my heart, more than I thought it would. I signed out feeling encouraged and uplifted. It made this whole book-writing conquest much less daunting! I’ll be sharing some of the nuggets from the webinar over the next several posts, because I would love to encourage you guys, too!

Tonight, I’ll be sharing 3 Basic Fears when it comes to writing a book. I am confident you will be able to identify with them, because I sure did. Remember, this presentation was given by Emily P. Freeman, a multi-published author.

  1. Fear 1 – “I don’t have what it takes to be a real writer.” Seriously, this is my thought process all the time! I am always doubting my work and feeling like, in my writing, I am not enough. BUT Truth 1 – nobody feels confident enough!
  2. Fear 2 – “Someone else can do this better.” YES. Even if I can get a little passed #1, I am stumped by #2 because I feel like so many people are better at this than I am. And that someone else should be writing the book that I want to write, because, surely, they could do it better. BUT Truth 2 – only you can tell the story that you were made to tell!
  3. Fear 3 – “I’m wasting my time”, which usually leads to this guy – “who do you think you are?” Another big YES here. I feel like it is so presumptuous of me to believe that I could actually write a book. BUT Truth 3 – you have a story worth telling – people need to hear it!

While all of these fears are legit, it is such a comfort to know that I nor you are alone in these feelings! If Emily P. Freeman, the author of some of my favorite books, can identify with these fears and overcome them to write such great works, then who says I can’t?

Tell me some of your fears below! I’d love to hear about them, because I’m totally sure that I can agree with you and that others will, too! And speaking truth over those fears is so important and so useful. Let’s do that! Happy writing!


Also, if you’re looking for a community of writers that will believe in you, cheer you on, and identify with the highs and lows of writing, then you should join hope*writers! I recently joined, and the community has already been such an encouragement to me in my writing. It’s $15 a month, but absolutely worth it! The resources + community are irreplaceable!