Monday, October 31, 2016

The Discovery Draft: Permission to make a mess

Permission to suck, John GreenIt's time for our "first Tuesday" meetings — midday at Sacred Heart Books & Gifts in far north Dallas, evening at the University of Dallas in Irving, November 1 at the usual times. Why not bring a sample of something you're working on for peer critique? Don't worry about bringing something that's already polished — you don't need to impress us. In fact, you'll get much more benefit if, instead of bringing a polished draft you bring a discovery draft.

"Get it out of my head!"

What's a discovery draft, you say? It's that first crummy draft — the one you really don't want to show anyone — that get your ideas out onto the page, even if it's a bit artless at this point. It's the draft that helps you discover what you really want to say, the one that you feel free to slash mercilessly and rearrange freely until it starts to look like the idea you had in your mind when you first started. Don't worry if it starts out a mess — there's a lot of satisfaction to be gained by cleaning up that mess, putting things in order, pruning out whatever is not helping, adding in anything you might need to make things clearer.

Permission to make a mess

I suspect a lot of people who say they suffer from writer's block are really suffering from premature perfectionism. If you're one of those people, try giving yourself permission to write a messy first draft — or even two or three — that just let you get the ideas out of your head onto the page. Turn off your internal editor while you write, and let your draft "cool down" overnight before you give it another thought. Then, the next day — or the next week, let your internal editor look it over and decide what can stay and what needs to go. A couple of rounds of drafting and editing will probably help you bring your ideas into focus — and then you can tweak and polish it until it's "ready for prime time."

If you need some "fresh eyes" on something you're working on, you will always find friendly, constructive criticism at meetings of the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers Group. 

Can't make this week's meetings? Remember that there is also a "third Tuesday" evening meeting at the University of Dallas. Here are the details of time and place. Hope we see you soon!

If you want to make sure you never miss a meeting, contact Nancy Ward  to get on the email list. You can also sign up to receive all blog posts by email. Just fill in the form in the right-hand sidebar.

Monday, October 3, 2016

New Editing Service for Indie Catholic Authors

Recent visitors to this blog may have noticed one small, unobtrusive addition to the navigation bar above: “Need an Editor?” Clicking the link will take you directly to, a new editing service especially for new and indie Catholic writers.

MItey Editing, affordable editing for indie Catholic authors

A uniquely affordable editing service

What makes this editing service unique? First, it is available only to Catholic authors who write works (fiction or non-fiction) that are in some way motivated and illuminated by the Catholic faith. Second, writers may negotiate to arrive at a fee that they can afford. The editor will do everything she can to make quality editing available to those who really want it. If you would like to know more, fill out the query form on the Mitey Editing website.

Who is your “Mitey Editor”?

Well, that’s me, Lisa Nicholas, the editor of this blog. The idea to offer editing (and book coaching, and a variety of related services that indie authors often need) grew directly out of my long-time membership in the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers Group, and in the Catholic Writers Guild. In fact, as I state in this blog post on the Mitey Editing blog, “Polish Before You Publish,” my decision to launch this service is inspired by the same purpose embraced by the Catholic Writers Guild, to support “the rebirth in Catholic arts and letters” by offering independent Catholic writers quality, professional editing services at exceptionally low rates.

Join the DFW Catholic Writers Group this Tuesday

If you’re not yet ready for an editor but could use some encouragement and peer-critique from other Catholic writers, and if you live in the Dallas area, why not join us at one of our “first Tuesday” meetings? There are two times and places to choose from, midday in Plano and in the evening at the University of Dallas in Irving, this Tuesday, October 4. There are no formal requirements for membership – just show up! And don’t forget to bring several copies of anything that you want to share or have critiqued. (Here are the details of time and place.)

If you don’t live in the DFW Metroplex, you might like to join the Catholic Writers Guild, which has a lively Facebook group, an annual writers' conference, and local chapters around the country.