The Right to Remain Silent: A Compassionate Writer’s Manifesto

A rural, artistic-looking houseI’ve been thinking lately about spending less time on Facebook. Not that I don’t like my friends, but that I don’t like hearing quite so much about all that is dangerous or wrong in the world.

This isn’t new with me. It started 30 years ago when I stopped listening to the radio, then the TV news. Over the last few years, I’ve stopped reading national print news, and last year I even canceled our local, community paper.

It’s not that I want to stick my head in the sand. I am an activist in my own right. In the ’80′s, for example, I marched frequently for the ERA in Wyoming and Colorado. (That’s the Equal Rights Amendment, for those of you who have arrived on the planet more recently than I have. Its purpose was to specifically include women as citizens and human beings in the U.S. Constitution. It never passed, but it isn’t dead either, by the way, just sitting a closet awaiting final ratification to fall from a spider’s web or something.)

No, it’s just that I know fear and reactivity to be contagious, and I don’t want to “catch” it Continue reading

The Comma: “When in Doubt, Leave it Out” (Don’t We Wish!)

Marge Hulburt, author, editor, writing, coaching, author servicesWhen it comes to punctuation, the most aggravating mark in the English language has got to be the comma. It is so misused, I would say at least 80% of my “punctuation time” with the average manuscript is spent editing commas. Authors and editors alike would be ecstatic if only we really could just leave them all out….

This situation does bring with it a hidden gift for you as an author – just by paying attention to a few simple rules, you can easily and significantly improve the professional quality of your own work. Here’s how:   Continue reading

Self-Editing Tips & Tricks (revisited)

Statue of a man thinkingThis is a repost of a popular article from about two years ago. It’s wisdom and guidance are still worthy today. Enjoy!

An editor can be an invaluable resource for adding clarity, impact, and saleability to our written work, but many of us don’t always have an editor at our disposal. When we do choose to hire one, we want our work to be as strong as possible going into the editing process.

Here are some things you can do yourself to add impact to your own writing:

Continue reading