Your Life in Words

October 29, 2013

Writer’s Styles

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nancy Miller @ 7:52 pm

What is your writing style? Your style is not only the way you combine words, paint a picture, and invite the senses, but also your choice of audience and the “voice” you use to speak to them.

Some writers have succeeded so well in creating that distinctive voice that adjectives have been coined from their names to describe their writing styles. Maeve Maddox

My writing style changes somewhat with my audience as well as evolving over time, but my style is still recognizable as part of my personality style, passion, and values.


June 1, 2011

All or Nothing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nancy Miller @ 6:07 pm

Blogging, working, volunteering, and writing. I’ve spent the last 3 years saying I’m writing a book, while at the same time taking on projects, jobs, and being involved in various distractions. I finally decided it was time to put “real” time into writing.

Now I have to face the music so to speak. It’s all or nothing. As I find myself spending a significant amount of time looking at the words I’ve written and wondering if it was worth the effort, I hope that putting my “all” into the project produces something I am proud of. With no concrete results to show for myself, I often wonder what I am doing with my time. I’ve got binders full of my words, worksheets, quotes, and research, but nothing yet published.

I had a breakthrough today and realized I like much of what I have written. I am taking time out to be with myself and feel my emotions so that I have something to put back into my writing.

Organizing my writing feels painful and numbing at times. But I am finding that in the process of organizing my ideas onto blank pages, I am arranging and rearranging my thoughts into something that makes sense. Writing is a way to process my feelings about my life and career–to make sense of myself.

Some form of writing or self-expression is helpful for “finding oneself,” exploring interests and talents, and getting motivated to make a difference. There are so many ways to tell my story. When I get stuck, I just tell the same story from a different perspective.



May 23, 2011

10 Steps to Effective Writing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nancy Miller @ 6:04 pm
Tags: , ,

Effective writing takes creativity, discipline, and organization.

  1. Have a great idea, story, information, or desire to write.
  2. Outline your story idea.
  3. Say what you want to say.
  4. Research, interview people, ask the experts, and add additional information to strengthen your ideas and add interest. Document sources of information.
  5. Clarify your thoughts, ideas, and feelings so they are understood by others.
  6. Organize and self-edit
  7. Add references, appendixes, glossary, etc.
  8. Ask for input from others: Did they find it interesting and understandable?
  9. Review edits
  10. Have your document, article, or book edited by a professional.

May 18, 2011

My First Editor

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nancy Miller @ 4:42 pm

I am my first editor, and I don’t really like the job. I like being the writer of my own work, but it is not really my best work until I edit, edit, edit. I work very well at home in my office when I am my own boss researching, writing, commenting, and networking. But it seems like an invasion of my creative space to bring in the editor.

Yesterday I spent the day visiting coffee shops, having lunch with a creative colleague, and walking in the rain. I found myself at the coffee shop amidst the people and noise happily editing the Introduction to my book. It was much easier to put on the “editor” hat and be objective about the writing when I was in an unfamiliar place. I felt like I was editing someone else’s work.

I have always known that walking and talking to interesting people was energizing, but I didn’t know I could be so motivated to edit if I got out of my office and into less familiar territory. I like my first editor, I just don’t necessarily want her working with me in my office.

Love Your Audience

Filed under: Creativity,Inspiration,Writing — Nancy Miller @ 2:44 am

If you are writing for pleasure, research, or publication it seems obvious that you would think about your audience. Yet, I often think more about what I want to say, and how I want to say it, rather than putting myself in the shoes of my audience. If I ask myself “Who might be listening?” or “What do they need?” I can become my audience. They are people I care about, and they have needs and fears just like mine.

I can honestly say that I start editing and a fear wells up inside of me. I may feel blocked, lose my desire to write, or question everything I have to say. In other words, I live in fear of my readers. What will they say about me? Did I just waste a year of my life writing something no one cares about? Wow! I can hear myself thinking about me again. It’s hard to love my audience when I fear their response and focus on myself.

Taking time to picture my audience and spend time with them helps me love my audience. I have been working on my writing projects for a long time. I want to focus all of my time on finishing—just to be finished. But again I am forgetting my audience. By teaching a class, socializing, exercising, and going to meetings, I connect with my audience in a very real way. I can picture the student who needs this information, I can add real scenarios, and I exercise my communication skills, my body, and my mind.

Expressing myself in writing is so personal that it is very easy to get wrapped up in myself. Unless I participate in a writing class or workshop, I find myself often working alone in my office. With quiet time to focus, I can concentrate and do my research. But getting out to a coffee shop occasionally puts me in the middle of my audience. They are real people. They are all different from each other and different from myself. They are my audience. I can love my audience when I spend time with them, listen to their interests and concerns, and tell them about my passion for my work.

When my creative mind is open, free, and spontaneous, I am “in the zone” or “flow.” I write, grab information, and then see what happens. But it is easy to become overly critical of my self and others when I spend time observing, researching, analyzing, and editing. Then my critical mind goes to work to analyze and edit. At this point I begin to lose my sense of whom my audience is and the reason I am writing. You are my audience. I am writing this because I want to share something of myself. Some of you will relate to me feelings if I am honest. Others of you may will not understand my struggle. I like to read your stories and hear what inspires and motivates you. Share your thoughts and love of your audience.

April 7, 2011

Giant Puzzle

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nancy Miller @ 8:56 pm

Writing a book can feel like putting together a giant Jigsaw Puzzle. So many beautiful parts scattered all over my computer. I bring like pieces together and find the corner foundation pieces–what the book is about–then work inward.

I get excited about getting out the box with the sensational picture on the cover. It is my vision for a fabulous book. With great insight and enthusiasm I look at each piece that has great meaning for me. But I have moments of confusion as I look at what seems like a thousand pieces. How can I put them all together?

A mental block stops me cold. Is it worth the time and effort to figure this out? Do I really have all of the pieces to make my picture? I keep thinking I’ll quit and put the pieces back in the box. Then I see the picture I want to display and get back to work on the puzzle.

The thrill of a section coming together makes my day. It is hard work but I will persist as long as it takes to bring my picture together. It is a part of myself, a part of my heart, synchronicity in action.

Do you find yourself puzzling over how your book will come together or do you start at the beginning and keep writing?

March 26, 2011

Writing From the Heart

Filed under: Creativity,Inspiration,Writing — Nancy Miller @ 5:42 pm

When you tell your story, you speak from your heart and bare your soul. It is the gift you give to others. Being honest and transparent with your ideas, thoughts, and feelings leaves you open to criticism by those who don’t understand heart work or share your passion and ideals. It is a push pull relationship between the push to share, inspire, and inform with pulling back. The need for approval, fear of rejection, or resistance to criticism may cause a pulling back from creative self-expression.

We all want approval. We don’t spend hours pouring our hearts out just to have our feelings ripped apart. Writers have a desire to share, but they fear the opinions of others. When your heart is speaking someone is listening. Whether the message is received by a mass audience, or a few who need the inspiration, your words came to you and they need to be shared.

Some people work for money rather than creative approval. Financial gain gives them a sense of success. But creatives often write having no idea whether or not they will make a profit. The need to create is what drives them. As a writer I sometimes have waves of inspiration, an overflow of ideas, and my heart sings. At other times I feel dry as the desert waiting for rain. I don’t know why I keep writing when it seems like so much work at times, but I just do. I am looking forward to teaching a class on Portfolio Development next month. I expect the anticipation, feedback, and interaction will motivate me to finish my first book.

Writers want an audience. We want to think that someone is listening, understanding, and being inspired. Often writing takes place in the privacy of a home of office. It can be lonely, private, and all encompassing. Then the writer needs to come out of their creative thought cocoon and share with the world. Shore up your arsenal of support before you launch your project into the media and printing presses. Strategies for sharing your heart work will make the transition easier.

  1. Find approval for your writing before you throw it out to the wolves. Share your ideas and your work with like-minded people.
  2. Give a small portion of your work to friends, family, and colleagues. Ask if they find it interesting and understandable.
  3. Collaborate with peers and colleagues.
  4. Be true to yourself. Make sure you said what you wanted to say and you like the way you said it.
  5. Expand your network. Blog, comment on blogs, and share snippets on social networking sites. Join groups and professional organizations.
  6. Get recommendations. Complement the work of others and ask for recommendations from them.
  7. Give presentations, write a press release, write articles, and/or appear on radio or television shows.

When you decide to publish your work you will already have positive feedback under your belt by people who understand and care about your work. Cushion yourself with positive feedback. Then accept the fact that you aren’t interested in reading all subjects. In fact, you probably critique the work of others just as they will critique yours.  Listen to the critiques with one ear for professional growth then let it go out the other.

Share strategies that work well for you and keep writing!

With Love and Happiness,

Nancy Miller, M.S., CCM, Creativity Coach

March 12, 2011

WingSpan Press

Filed under: Publishing — Nancy Miller @ 5:06 pm

With WingSpan Press you can use their ISBN, or for an additional fee you can use your own. There is a $50 imprint setup fee in addition to the publishing cost.

Author services and publishing support are offered for various fees (see website for details.) Retail Pricing and Print Costs are outlined, and the website offers many resources for authors including “Preparing Your Manuscript for Submission.

$499 package includes:

  • World-class customer service
  • ISBN
  • Bar code
  • International copyright
  • Choice of trim sizes
  • Interior layout
  • Custom full-color cover
  • Add hardcover edtion w/ dustjacket for only $200
  • Library of Congress number
  • Interior images are only $10 each
  • Tables and charts are only $20 each
  • Listing on all online retailers
  • Worldwide distribution and availability
  • Printing on 20% post-consumer, acid-free paper
  • Listing in Books in Print
  • Listing and distribution in UK/Europe
  • The very first printed copy of your book
  • You earn 20% of the retail price of your book
  • Your approval before your book goes to print
  • The first book delivered to you in just 6-8 weeks

This blog is not intended to give advise or direction. The purpose is to share information that you as a writer can explore. Share what you learn in the comments. Thank you for following this blog. Best wishes on your writing or freelancing efforts.


Filed under: Publishing — Nancy Miller @ 1:14 am

CreateSpace Services

Author’s Express

The simplest least expensive way to publish with CreateSpace is using the “Author’s Express” option. Using this option, you need to have your own editor and create your own cover and manuscript. CreateSpace offers cover templates and online uploads of your manuscript.

If your book files are in a print-ready PDF, then Createspace says that you are ready to begin the publishing process. They say that they can provide guidance and phone support during the publication and distribution process.

According to CreateSpace, your PDF interior and cover files will be proofed to make sure they meet publishing specifications.

The price listed on their website is: $299.00* (check their website for any changes in price and processing requirements.)

Author Services

CreateSpace offers a variety of author services charged by the hour or package programs for helping you publish your book. Prices vary.


CreateSpace will assign your book an ISBN number at no cost with the imprint CreateSpace as the publisher.

If you are a publisher, you can provide your own ISBN number with your publishing company imprint at no extra charge.


CreateSpace offers a ProPlan with higher royalties and expanded distribution for a $39.00 fee and $5.00 a year.


CreateSpace has links to articles with tips on setting up your document, templates, and author’s community.

This blog is not intended to give advise or direction. The purpose is to share information that you as a writer can explore. Share what you learn in the comments. Thank you for following this blog. Best wishes on your writing or freelancing efforts.

March 11, 2011

Subsidy Publishers

Filed under: Publishing — Nancy Miller @ 11:55 pm

Everyone has a story to tell, and there are a growing number of people who want to see their story in black and white with a glossy cover. Because of the demand and the new digital technology, subsidy publishers are flourishing. You aren’t going to make a lot of money with a subsidy publisher. In fact, you will probably be paying more than you make. Despite the cost which varies greatly between publishers, they can be a good introduction to publishing and a good choice if you just want to get your book printed for yourself, family, and friends. This might even be a good choice if your book is more of a marketing tool for your business rather than a mass market book.

When it comes to subsidy (or vanity) publishing, companies will usually publish anything an author is willing to submit. They often charge high fees for services that are inexpensive or free such as: Bar code, Copyright, and Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN.) If you are a publisher planning to publish more than one book, you will probably save by buying your own ISBN ((International Standard Book Number) from Bowker.

A few large subsidy publishers got my attention because they allow the publisher to use their own publishing company name and ISBN. Most companies charge the same amount for an ISBN whether you use your own or theirs. At least one company charges you extra to use your own ISBN. Examples are:

I’m sure there are many more out there. If you know of other subsidy publishers who allow you to use your own ISBN, please share.

This blog is not intended to give advise or direction. The purpose is to share information that you as a writer can explore. Share what you learn in the comments. Thank you for following this blog. Best wishes on your writing or freelancing efforts.

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