Taking Care of Yourself This Holiday Season

So often we take care of everything and everyone but ourselves during the holidays. I know, because I’m a poster child for trying to do too much. Right now, I’ve got a miserable cold, and I suspect it’s from getting too little sleep and working too many hours.

The question seems eternal: “How do we care for ourselves, especially during the holiday season?”

One way is to listen to our needs, to make time for us. For those of us who work at home–especially those of us who are writers–it can be especially tempting to work around the clock and on weekends. That seems like a great way to get ahead, but eventually we pay the price in loss of enthusiasm, or burnout.

Making time for yourself pays dividends because it keeps you healthy in mind, body, and spirit. I find that crafting for others not only results in gifts that I like to give, but it also allows me a sliver of meditation space, time for myself.

With that in mind, I’m offering a FREE gift with the purchase of my new book, Handmade, Holiday, Homicide. The gift includes instructions, patterns, and images for thirteen crafty projects. Some are appropriate to do with children; some aren’t. All are thrifty and don’t require special equipment.

Here’s the list:

* A trio of Christmas Carolers
* An Icosahedron Ornament
* Crocheted Necklace
* A Snowman Luminaria
* A Spa Basket

Scented bath crystals are relaxing and help you sleep at night.

* Fantasy Jars
* A Turtle Trinket Keeper
* Gingerbread Men
* A Quilted Glasses Case
* A Scrapbook Album in a Folder
* A Dollhouse in a 3-Ring Binder
* Mini Book Earrings
* A Book Garden

Included with the FREE gift are six yummy recipes!

But hurry…these are only available if you purchase your copy of Handmade, Holiday, Homicide on or before December 15, 2014 (the release date).

Grab your copy today:  http://www.amazon.com/Handmade-Holiday-Homicide-Lowenstein-Scrap-N-Craft-ebook/dp/B00PA26YL2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417791560&sr=8-1&keywords=Handmade+Holiday+Homicide

How to Edit Your Work

The ability to edit your own work is incredibly important. For obvious reasons, editors prefer authors who can turn in clean copy. Beyond lightening an editor’s workload, there are other reasons that you need to be good at editing–it’s your name on the book!

Over the years I’ve picked up great ideas for editing. Here’s the best summary of what you should be doing–

Edit your work in passes.

 In other words, don’t go over it once and consider it done. Read it several times, for several different reasons. Read it first for pacing and continuity. Read it again for logic. Finally read it to proofread for grammar, spelling, etc.

Let’s break that down:

1. Read it for pacing and continuity. Does it drag? Does every scene contribute and move the plot along? If you delete a scene does it matter? (If the answer is, “No,” then the scene is going to drag the plot down.) Can you up the tension in the scene? Can you use a chapter break to create a mini-cliffhanger? Are the characters consistent in their behavior?

2. Read it for logic. Are the sequences of the sentences appropriate? Do they build on each other? Do they happen in a logical order? Are there any questions left unanswered? Does your premise and the premise of your characters make sense? Do you maintain an internal logic? And finally, if someone walks into a room, where do they go? What happens to them? Did you maintain a logic to their arrival and departure?

3. Read it for grammatical errors, spelling errors, and consistency of style.

It takes forever to edit a book this way. Unfortunately, a poorly edited book is a book that won’t be enjoyed by your reader, so make the time!