Get over OVER. Try today’s editing quick fix

"Over" works for geography. Christian Fischer [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

“Over” works for geography. Christian Fischer [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to my writing and editing education, I have to credit my high school teacher. Mike Chiaverina made a difference every day.

One gem came while isolating wimpy words. “Over” was a major offender. Check out these examples:

She sold over 100 books at her signing.

– OR –

She sold more than 100 books at her signing.

The second sentence is much more descriptive. (Some might call it persuasive.)

“Over” works best for geography.

A co-conspirator of “over” is “plus.” As in “She sold 100-plus” books. I hope no writer would claim, “She sold 100-minus books.”

Leave “plus” to Google.

Just the facts, Ma’am: Laughing With Grammar Cop Faith Salie

Copy editor cop? Jack Webb, as Sgt. Joe Friday, circa 1957. By NBC Television (eBay front back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Copy editor cop? Jack Webb, as Sgt. Joe Friday, circa 1957. By NBC Television (eBay front back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

You think proper English is no laughing matter?

Don’t tell Faith Salie. She rocked CBS Sunday Morning with a riff on “who” versus “whom.” Check it out!

Stop being Dr. Seuss. Start being yourself!

Ted "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, circa 1957. By Al Ravenna, New York World-Telegram and the Sun staff photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ted “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, circa 1957. By Al Ravenna, New York World-Telegram and the Sun staff photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“I heard that Dr. Seuss had his first book rejected a bazillion times.”

Edit at will. Fill in your own number. Replace “first book” with a specific title.

When you’re finished, flush the result.

The number of times (real or imaginary) that any author has been rejected has little to do with you.

How many times have you rejected yourself?

That’s the only number worth considering. Once you do, stop the madness.

Worry less, write more.

Meet Artist Crystal Moody: Queen of Creative Habits

Crystal Moody

Show up daily.

Try.

Keep trying every day.

Easier said than done?

Don’t tell Crystal Moody, the artist/photographer/blogger/creative marathoner. Meet the “Year of Creative Habits” dynamo.

That means a year is filled with 365 drawings. Paintings. Blog posts. She’s even added a “50 reads” vow. A book a week, gasps someone trying to cope with reading a few daily e-mail?

"Furrsday," a weekly tribute to shelter dogs. (Photos courtesy of Crystal Moody)

“Furrsday,” a weekly tribute to shelter dogs. (Photos courtesy of Crystal Moody)

Crystal shares. She holds herself accountable. You’ll find her detailing her creative ups and downs on Instagram, Facebook and a weekly e-mail newsletter (stuffed with amazing artful links).

I had but one question. How can a seemingly-visual person be so verbal? How does she summon the words, not just images?

She replied:

“Your question is very flattering. It’s quite possible that for me, writing a blog post every day last year was a bigger struggle than doing a drawing each day. I’m definitely more visual. There were many days I complained that I’d ever started blogging!

“When I’m really doing the work and I’m deep in the creative process, I just write about what I’m going through. It’s like a journal or a letter to a friend who’s going through something similar. I find that I struggle with writing around the same times that my art is in a slump. They kind of go together like that. I just keep at it because even though I don’t always enjoy it, the writing has really helped me grow and evolve as an artist.”
Crystal is sharing her inspiration and talent weekly. “Furrsday” is a new painting of a local shelter dog. Any artist who can be a voice to the voiceless wins my heart.
 Yes, Crystal confirmed there is a future book (of her own making!) swirling as part of this creative whirlwind.
 On her blog today, Crystal was asked what she does on days when she can’t think of anything to paint.
“Just paint,” she responded.
Yes, showing up matters. Create now, worry later. Thanks for showing us how, Crystal!

David Nihill’s Do You Talk Funny? book takes humor seriously

DoYouTalkFunnyCover“Brevity is levity.”

– David Nihill

The author of Do You Talk Funny? 7 Habits to Become a Better (and Funnier) Public Speaker knows his stuff.

I’ve never seen someone make what seems to be a God-given talent into a learned skill. In fact, he’s developed a Udemy course on the subject. I wouldn’t believe a “How to be Brilliant” or “7 Ways to Being Alluring.” Here, however, Nihill makes funny work.

How? Through storytelling. His tips would work for authors, not just speakers. In fact, performing doesn’t take center stage in his chapters. I’d love to see teachers embrace his techniques.

He’s funny in the present tense. The author doesn’t get all academic, telling readers to edit their words. That’s the point, though. Active verbs. He stresses to “start with a story.” Focus!

And, that’s the point of being funny. No one knows what hit them. Under the radar education. Nihill tracks laughs per minute on popular TED talks.

Based on the case he makes for the power of persuasive humor, I’d think Nihill is a future voice for the TED stage.

Do You Talk Funny? is serious business. Make Nihill your humor yoda. It’s the greatest superpower you’ll ever learn.

 

Andy Grant’s Still Here suicide memoir is raw inspiration

StillHereGrantCover“If any language I use upsets you, good. It means you’re alive.”

– Andy Grant

I’d call Still here: How to Succeed in Life After Failing At Suicide the most honest book (so far) of 2015.

This memoir isn’t the easiest to read. The subject matter isn’t all giggles and guffaws.

The title is true. This literary ride is full of ups and downs. Grant copes, improves, then faces another crisis. He shares it all here, along with the many ways he found to overcome the darkness.

Why should you read it? Because this book is a mirror. Grant is focused on telling his whole story, as fully and honestly as possible.

When you’re done, you might take a look at your own nonfiction.