Writing/Editing Tip

Before you go back to edit a section of your manuscript, take a break.

Stepping away from your words for even just a few minutes will help clear your mind.

When we stare at the same thing, reading and re-reading lines over and over, it all tends to blur after awhile.

It’s amazing how much clearer you’re able to think after taking a break!

When I wrote podcast scripts for Chris Guillebeau, I used this technique all the time. I would finish writing and step away from my work for a few hours. When I returned to edit, it was surprising how much clearer I could see where improvements could be made. I always did this before submitting to my content manager.

Do you use this technique? What helps you in your writing and editing process?

I was featured in “First for Women”!

I was recently selected to be featured in the popular women’s magazine, “First for Women”.

The article briefly outlines my work as a freelance proofreader and copy editor for romance writers.

I am thrilled to be a part of this feature because, for me, my work as a romance proofreader is not just a way to make money. It also brings me a great sense of pride and fulfillment when I’m able to help talented authors enhance their work by putting the final touches and edits on their writing.

I am truly grateful to have found such an enjoyable way to turn my passion for reading romance novels into a successful business!

Why I Love Proofreading Books in the Romance Genre

I’ve been reading romance novels since I was in my teens – for about (ahem) 34 years! Although I’ve never sat down to count how many books I’ve read over the years, I know it’s in the hundreds.

Why the romance genre? First of all, I love reading romance because it relaxes me. Even when I was working on my master’s degree while working full time, learning a new position, I still carved out 15 minutes or so at the end of each day to read in my beloved genre. I needed that distraction to get my mind off work and school and relax enough to fall asleep.

I also completely believe in a happily-ever-after in my books. Life is tough enough sometimes, and I want to escape into a world where everything ends well.

To read more about how I became a proofreader and copy editor in the romance genre, check out this interview I did for Phon Baillie’s “Art of Proofreading” blog. I took Phon’s High-Level Proofreading Pro course, and I highly recommend it if you’re interested in working as a professional proofreader!

The Benefits of Trying New Activities

The other night I did something totally out of my skill set. What is my usual skill set? I’m a scientist – I’ve been trained, through learning and experience, to think technically and logically. I don’t think of myself as artistic – at all.

Which leads me to my original statement – I did something not in my usual skill set. My daughter and I went to a “Wine and Design”. You likely have heard of these types of businesses – you pay a fee to attend a class and paint a picture of your choosing. An artist “coach” talks you through the process, start to finish. In two hours you can create your very own painting, suitable for hanging. Oh, and you can BYOB if you like. We even indulged in a few cookies with our glass of wine.

Wine and Design with Brookie

My daughter, Brooke, and I with our paintings

This was not my first time to attend a wine and design. In fact, it was my fourth. I can’t say that my painting skills have improved much. So why do I keep going back?

Learning a New Activity Can Help You Relax

The first time I attended a painting class, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I had no idea if I would enjoy myself. But my best girlfriend, my daughter and I had all been wanting to try a class.

As we began to paint our pictures, chatting amongst ourselves while following our teacher’s instructions, I had a moment of reflection. I suddenly realized that I was truly relaxed. I hadn’t had a thought about work, personal issues – nothing. I was totally focused on painting.  For me, this was a really enlightening moment. You see, I’d categorize myself as a type A personality. I always have to be busy, and my mind is always active with thoughts – about work, my kids, plans for dinner – you get the idea. Maybe you can relate.

Spending Time With Friends and Family Can Make You Healthier

Another bonus to taking the painting classes is the time I get to spend with my friend(s), or spending time with just my daughter – like our class the other night. We created memories attending these classes together. Nothing can replace that.

Spending time with family and/or friends can make you healthier.  A study done by researchers at Brigham Young University found that those who have healthy relationships are half less likely to die early than those who live more isolated lives.  The lead researcher said a lack of social relationships was equivalent to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.

How’s that for motivation to foster healthy social relationships?

Learning New Skills Can Make You More Productive

Doing an activity outside your comfort zone can stretch your brain muscles, so to speak.  When we push ourselves to do something new or foreign to us, we learn novel skills – often both intellectual and mechanical.

Spending time on new activities can actually make you more productive.  A study in Journal of Psychological Sciences confirms that learning new skills enhances cognitive function and improves memory.

I Challenge You to Try Something New

So what’s my point in sharing all this?  I want to encourage you to find the time to learn a new skill set.  Maybe spend quality time with those special to you.  Push yourself outside your comfort zone.

I’d love to hear what new skills you’ve learned, and how doing so has benefited you!

Why I Love Taking My Dog for a Walk

Is there anything better than getting outside, breathing in the fresh air, and moving your body?

Yes!  Doing all this with your furry friend – your dog – by your side.

Benefits of Getting Outside and Walking

First of all, I love the out-of-doors.  After spending a day at work – inside, most of my time spent in a windowless office – I long to get outside.

Spending time outside serves multiple purposes.  When we exit our indoor, made for us, space, our eyes and minds are opened to the world outside of our microcosm.  This forces us to realize that our existence is not just about us.

Being outside also allows us to experience different sites, smells, and sounds.  Seems simple, right?  But can you imagine not ever smelling the sweet smell of fresh-cut grass?  Or seeing someone riding a bike or taking a jog – which then inspires us to become more active?  How about hearing the birds sing?  These are things we often take for granted but we would surely miss if they were taken away.

Then there is the obvious reason – the physical exercise, and just the pure joy of being able to move your body and get your heart rate going.  As someone with osteoarthritis and spondylolisthesis, it really does my body good to get moving!  Keeping my weight at a (mostly) healthy target helps to minimize the chronic pain.  Just the act of movement also serves to keep the joints from stiffening and causing increased pain.  There’s also the endorphins – feel-good hormones – that are released as we exercise.

Why Walking is Better With My Dog

Also, at least for me, after spending my day at work – I want to get home and see my fur baby!  Call me crazy, but I am infatuated with our corgi, Lola.  Granted, any dog would have me gaga.  The excitement, joy and unconditional love a dog gives are just immeasurable to improving one’s mental health.  I mean, seriously, who doesn’t love someone (in this case, a dog – but still!) going absolutely crazy over your mere presence!

Walking your dog is also great for them as well.  That exercise that we get, they are also experiencing.  This helps to keep them physically fit.  It also helps to decrease any tendencies to “misbehave”.  A tired dog is a happy dog, and less likely to engage in destructive behaviors such as chewing the furniture.  Seeing the joy on Lola’s face – and yes, she does show joy – is good for my heart and soul.  I swear that dog knows how to smile! (see Lola’s pic below)

Lola.walk

Do You Agree?

So, what do you think?  Do you agree that walking is beneficial to your health and wellness?

Do you have a special pup that holds a piece of your heart, and do you enjoy walks together?

Please comment – I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Thearpy Dogs – What are they and what health benefits can they offer?

Perhaps you’ve witnessed this scene – you’re walking down the hall of a hospital or nursing home to visit a loved one, and you pass someone walking a dog into a patient’s room.

Wait – whaaat?

Are dogs now allowed in healthcare facilities?   You thought only service dogs were permitted inside – and that didn’t look like a service dog.

What you have likely witnessed is a Therapy dog in action!

What is a Therapy dog?

Therapy dogs receive training to provide psychological or physiological therapy to people other than their owners or handlers.  Typical places they visit are hospitals, nursing homes, and schools.  Visits often involve meeting numerous patients, or they can spend individual time bonding with one patient.

Most often when visiting these facilities, they are handled by their owner.  However, they may be handled by a professional dog handler/trainer.

Therapy dogs are of an even temperament and have friendly personalities.

The type of people who have benefited from visits with a therapy dog include those suffering from autism, Alzheimer’s, depression, and PTSD.

Therapy dogs can improve a patient’s mental health by providing feelings of comfort, reducing feelings of loneliness, enhancing self-esteem and motivation to get better.

There are even physical benefits therapy dogs can provide, such as lowering blood pressure, releasing endorphins and relaxation hormones.

Is a Service Dog the same as a Therapy Dog?

No – Service Dogs are trained helpers for someone with a disability.  They allow their human to gain independence and help keep their owner safe.  Service Dogs’ owners often have a “no petting” policy for their dogs, as this could interfere with the dog’s duties.

Service Dogs are also permitted under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other laws to accompany their owners in public places such as restaurants and grocery stores.  Therapy Dogs are most often not afforded these same allowances, as their jobs are not the same as Service Dogs.

Can I train my dog to become a Service Dog?

Dogs of any breed, mix, or size can become a Service Dog – the most important trait of a Service Dog is its temperament.  Service Dogs have to be friendly and able to tolerate petting and handling from unfamiliar people.

For you and your dog to become a Therapy Team through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, the process is as follows:

  • Your dog must be friendly and at least one year old.
  • A tester/observer in your area will test you and your dog – this evaluates your dog’s demeanor, good manners, and your handling skills.
  • You and your dog will be observed by a tester/handler during three visits with medical facility residents.
  • After these steps are completed, along with completion of the application paperwork, you and your fur baby are a Therapy Team!

So – what do you think?  Are you looking for a way to volunteer to help others but still have bonding time with your pooch?  Training your pup to become a Therapy Dog may be the perfect way for you to contribute to others’ well-being.

For more information on becoming a Therapy Dog member, visit the Alliance of Therapy Dogs.

After researching this subject, I’m considering looking into training my dog Lola to become a Therapy Dog!  Are you part of a Therapy Team, or know someone who is?  Do you know someone who has benefited from a Therapy Dog’s services?  What experiences can you share on this subject?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments!