Writer’s Block Survey

Professional writers invited to participate in a new survey of writer’s block

Members and friends of NAIWE have been invited to participate in a survey about writer’s block.

You don't need a #2 pencil to take this survey!Dr. C. Dominik Güss, a Psychology professor at the University of North Florida, along with two professional writers and a student, has developed a survey to better understand writer’s block. They would like to learn about professional writers’ experiences with writer’s block.

As a token of appreciation for completing the survey, which has 45 questions and should take between 15 and 30 minutes, you will be eligible for one of 6 Amazon $50 gift cards that will be presented to 6 participants chosen at random from a raffle. You may also request a copy of the results from the survey creators.


You will find more information and a link to the survey at the survey website

— Image: © Webking | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Create a Rough Draft in 30 Days During NaNoWriMo

Join us on The Freelance Life as we talk with Sarah MackeyWrite a rough draft in 30 days during National Novel Writing Month in November from The Office of Letters and Light about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which is coming up in November.

You’ll learn about the origins of the event, writers whose NaNoWriMo books have been published, and how to use the month of November to create a complete 50,000+ word rough draft in just 30 days. Imagine what that can do for your productivity!

Here’s the recording:

Recorded Wednesday, 10/26/11 at 02:00 PM EDT at  The Freelance Life Online Radio Show.

Telling Your Own Story: Expressing the “Emotional Why” Behind Your Book- Expert Teleclass for November

Barbara McNichol- Editorial Expert for the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE)We’re looking forward to November’s member teleclass with Barbara McNichol and Andrea Beaulieu! It’s scheduled for Wednesday, November 17, 2010, at 3:30 p.m. EST.

The topic is:

Telling Your Own Story: Expressing the “Emotional Why” Behind Your Book

When editing professional books, Barbara McNichol helps authors give their stories a strong emotional appeal so they jump off the page. In this session, she’s joined by author, performer, and presentation coach Andrea Beaulieu. Together, they’ll give listeners a wealth of ideas for telling their own stories on the page and the stage. Specifically, they’ll show authors how they can express the stories that compelled them to write their books in the first place!

Barbara has worked with more than 200 authors to bring their amazing books into the world. To assist them in choosing the perfect word when it matters most, she has created a word choice guide called Word Trippers. Barbara is NAIWE’s Editorial Expert, and you can read more about her at her member site, BarbaraMcNichol.NAIWE.com.

Andrea is the author of Ah Ha! 100 Flashes of Insight and Inspiration from Your Authentic Voice and Finding Your Authentic Voice. She has created the Your Authentic Voice® Intuition and Creativity System, which is at the heart of her books. Her coaching clients learn to tell their stories with compassion and conviction from the stage.

Barbara and Andrea offer a workshop “Get Your Story Straight: Tell Your Story Powerfully on the Page and on the Stage!” to help people in organizations more effectively tell their stories.

Members will receive call-in information for the class via a member mailing. Be sure that you’ve whitelisted *@naiwe.com (an asterisk, followed by @naiwe.com) and *@naiwemail.com in your e-mail program so that you receive the message (just add those e-mails to your address book, and that should take care of it). Expert teleclasses are archived in the member area for at least a year so that you can listen and learn at your convenience. The advantage of listening live, of course, is that you can ask questions at the end. We hope you’ll join us!

If you’re not a member and you’d like to join in time for the teleclass, you may click on this “Join NAIWE” link to do so. If you would like to register for the teleclass only, you may do so for $27 by visiting the Teleclass page.

Let’s Talk About ‘Word Trippers’ with Expert Barbara McNichol

Do you have words that always seem to trip you up?

Join us Wednesday, August 12, on The Freelance Life, where we’ll talk with NAIWE Expert Barbara McNichol about problematic words and her book, Word Trippers: The Ultimate Source for Using the Perfect Word When It Really Matters (see it at http://bit.ly/on4pL). You’ll also learn Barbara’s top ten techniques for improving your writing!

 The Freelance Life

Wednesday, 08/12/2009 03:30 PM EDT

Phone Number: (724) 444-7444
Call ID: 38165

The Strunk and White Debate: Umpteenth Round

I didn’t know that The Elements of Style was celebrating a 50th anniversary until I came across an interesting pair of posts this week.

Strunk and White’s venerable style guide came under fire by Geoffrey K. Pullam of the The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Chronicle Review. In an article titled “50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice,” Pullam shares a curmudgeonly critique of the authors and their grammar and style suggestions.

Michael Leddy of Orange Crate Art offers a thoughtful point-by-point response in his April 14 post, and shares a few links to other writers who have joined the debate.

The whole argument is an interesting round in the larger debate about language and its evolution and use. If you decide to blog about it, please drop by to leave a link so that others can join the debate.

Retronyms: Part of Language Evolution

Daily Writing Tips has a good article on retronyms, which are terms that are generally created by adding a modifier to an existing object or concept to differentiate it from a newer standard. It’s an interesting evolutionary adaptation to the language. Here are just a couple of examples from the article:

diaper–> cloth diaper (“Cloth” was added because disposable diapers are now more common.)

mail–> snail mail (Mail could also be “e-mail.”)

Retronyms are an example of good evolution–additions or subtractions that make meaning more precise. Clarity should be a primary goal for writers and editors, so retronyms are just one more tool to sharpen prose. We all use retronyms, but knowing what they are called means we’ll probably start seeing them everywhere!

Is it an Apostrophe Catastrophe?

According to an opinion column by A. Barton Hinkle of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the world is “heading for an apostrophe catastrophe.” What is the tipping point? It seems to be a recent decision in Birmingham, England, which has “formally done away with the possessive apostrophe on street signs.”

Noting that the U.S. did away with apostrophes in place names long ago (aside from a few notable exceptions), Hinkle offers a look at the possible consequences of creeping grammar laxity.

What do you think?

Words to Be Banished from the Queen’s English

It’s time once again for Lake Superior State University’s annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness. While it was tempting to use all the words in this post, they’ve done a nice job in their announcement and cartoon, so you may as well read more at the original site.

If you could delete a few overused or excessively trendy words or phrases, what would you choose?

I think my vote would go to “at the end of the day.” I’m really tired of hearing that metaphorical day dragged out to wrap up virtually every news commentary I’ve heard in the last few months. Why are these silly phrases so contagious? Oh, right. They’re viral.

Taking Words Out of the Dictionary

I came across “Words associated with Christianity and British history taken out of children’s dictionary,” an article in the British newspaper, The Weekly Telegraph. I’ve always preferred Oxford dictionaries over any of the other choices, but it looks as if the new edition of their Junior Dictionary has lost its way.

According to the article by Julie Henry, “Oxford University Press has removed words like “aisle”, “bishop”, “chapel”, “empire” and “monarch” from its Junior Dictionary and replaced them with words like “blog”, “broadband” and “celebrity”. Dozens of words related to the countryside have also been culled.” The trend is disturbing.

Words matter. When pop culture references virtually replace history, nature, and the church in a dictionary intended for children, the results can’t be good. Without a strong vocabulary, cultural literacy becomes a distant mirage. What was Oxford University Press thinking?

Etymology Practice for Would-Be Wordsmiths

If you enjoy word games in your spare time (self-employed writing evaluators do have spare time, don’t they?), visit Etymologic.com, where you’ll find “the toughest word game on the web.” Don’t visit the site if you’re working with a deadline, though, because it’s a wee bit addictive!

The creators of the game are not exaggerating when they say it’s tough. The first time I played, I approached it as casually as I would approach the vocabulary quiz in the Reader’s Digest. I haven’t missed a word in the RD quiz in decades, but I quickly discovered that Etymologic was in a completely different league. I missed five of the ten questions before I realized this and started to concentrate. I salvaged my dignity by missing only one out of ten on the second try, but it took a bit of thought.

Word games are an excellent way to sharpen your vocabulary skills– just beware of letting them infringe on your writing, editing, evaluation, and marketing time. Enjoy!