Tag-Archive for » Bikes Trikes Toads and Roads «

March 10th, 2009 | Author:

Recently, I heard someone say, “there are no great writers, just great re-writers.”

Hmmm?  Could that be true?  Then I thought about writers like J.K. Rowling or C.S. Lewis, or Christopher Paolini.  They are great writers, right?  After all, look at their books and how successful they are.   But do you really think they wrote their books and didn’t have anyone edit them before they were published?  NOT!

As I meet more and more authors at different speaking events, I’m always amazed at how many people become authors.  Even if someone self-publishes, it would be pretty silly not to have an editor at least review it.  We all make mistakes and none of us want to have things in print with errors.

I have received many compliments on my blog posts which I really appreciate but I can’t take all the credit.  I’m only 13 after all and still have a lot to learn.  On my blog, there’s a page that says, “All Posts Mom Approved.”  Not only does she approved them before they’re published but she also edits to make sure they are the best they can be.

I think many people learn best by example.  Plus, the more you do something,  the better you become.  Unless you are taking a specific writing class in school, most teachers don’t take the time to edit and show you how to improve your report or story.  I’ve had many assignments in all of my classes where I had to write a report on something.  It seems they don’t really care how well it’s written, only that I did it so they have something to slap a grade to.  That isn’t really helping kids improve their writing skills.

Regardless of your age or what you’re writing, whether it’s a blog, a school report, or maybe you’re working on a book, find someone else to critique and edit it.  How else are you going to learn and improve?  And for every editor that reads it, you’ll probably have a different opinion from each person.

Here’s another tip.  For the people that hate to write or think they’re not good at it, just write something.  Maybe start out with a daily journal and just makes notes.  It doesn’t have to be anything formal.  You don’t even have to think about something big like writing a book.  But if you at least get started and in the habit of writing something, pretty soon you may find that you actually like it or that you have a huge journal of information that could become a book some day.  That’s how my new book started out.   Before Christmas when I posted my 12 BizTips of Christmas, I received so many positive responses and a few suggestions that I should put them together in a book.  That got me to thinking about all the business, self-help, inspirational books that are out there and I thought, “Hey, why not me?  I could do that too.”

With a lot of help from my mom, we started writing everything down and just recently, I sent the proposal to an agent.   I’ll keep you posted on that.

The point is, everyone has something of interest to say and share so start writing it down.  My grandma had her first book published last year when she turned 75.  She didn’t set out to become a published author.  All she wanted to do was write her family history and stories down on paper and give copies to her kids so they would have something for their kids and their kids . . . well, you get the idea.   After my mom saw how many stories she had and heard her idea of just going to get them copied, Mom offered to be her editor and help her self-publish a real book which she did.  “Bikes, Trikes, Toads, and Roads:  A Lifetime of Stories” won’t make any best-seller list but very few do anyway.   At least she wrote what she wanted, had the smarts to have it edited, and then was able to give a real book to her kids AND she’s sold a good amount on top of that.

So whether you write a little or a lot, it’s a good idea to have someone else read it before it’s published.  Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.

December 11th, 2008 | Author:

Grandma's Book

My grandma (aka Betty L. Smokov) became a published author this summer about a month after she turned 75.   It’s a pretty cool book called “Bikes, Trikes, Toads, and Roads: A Lifetime of Stories.”   To read one of the stories, go to their website www.smokovranch.com.  Then you can buy your copy of the book.   It has a ton of short stories about everything from way back when her ancestors came to America in 1883 to sad stories about how my mom and her three sisters almost froze to death in the car during a snow storm when they were young.  Then there are more recent stories like the one about how Grandpa (aka Paul Smokov) became pretty famous by forecasting the weather reading pig spleens.

Pig spleens you ask?   Well, it’s an organ inside the pig just like people have a spleen.

In December 2007, an AP reporter did a story on him and it appeared in more than 1500 papers around the world.  Well, wouldn’t you know that Jay Leno and David Letterman both called to invite him on their shows.   But here’s the most amazing part:   Grandpa said “no thanks, I have cows to feed.”  Well, it was winter in North Dakota and it’s pretty hard to feed cows when it’s so cold and Grandpa doesn’t like anyone else doing his work.

Needless to say, neither Jay nor Letterman called back.  As they say, opportunity only knocks once, especially when it comes to TV shows.

But back to Grandma.  She’s been having a lot of fun doing book signings around North Dakota and also giving presentations at schools.  Since 4th graders study about their state, lots of them like reading the stories too because she talks about things that aren’t in regular history or science books like what caused red snow one winter and how it’s possible to rain frogs and toads.  Really!   My mom has even seen that happen for real when she was a kid.

I guess I’m lucky because I come from a pretty amazing family with lots of different talents.  Probably where I get my entrepreneurial spirit.