Musings Welcomes:Author Lois Roelofs!

Five Tips to Help You Complete Your Book

Lois Roelofs has graciously agreed to stop by today as part of her Wow! Women on Writing Blog Tour. I’m honored to have her and can’t wait for you to meet her too! She’s bringing what every writer needs: 5 Tips to Finish Your Book!! Enjoy!

5 Tips to Finish Your Book

I remember the day when finishing my book suddenly seemed possible. I had been shagging pages to my writing group for eight years, on and off,  and was methodically leafing through their comments, making what I hoped may be the final revisions.  My excitement that this arduous process may actually come to an end sent me into a tailspin for a minute. I needed to calm the commotion and draw up a plan. I grabbed my calendar and looked ahead to identify a target date. My birthday was a month away.  A finished book would make a most rewarding birthday present!

I’m a planner, so here are five tips that pushed me through to the professional editing stage.

1.            Give yourself a schedule.  Say you have thirty days. Make a list of what you need to do. My list included days to complete the final revisions, a day to do a word search for words that added nothing to the sentence or were overused, and two days at the end to stand at my kitchen bar and read the entire manuscript aloud.

2.            Prepare for computer malfunctions. Remember Murphy’s law? “If anything can go wrong it will.” Plan ahead to have a second computer or a computer expert on call.

This is not the time for your computer to crash, your document to turn into gibberish, or your “save every five minutes” setting to fail. I had to call a computer friend more than once to rescue me from my nerves.

3.            Notify your readers that your completed draft is coming. You’ve probably asked a few friends to read your final draft. Now is the time to alert them to your target date, so they can clear their calendars. Also, telling them your target date will help you stay accountable. It motivated me to just sit in the chair and do the necessary work.

4.            Invite your internal editor to come home. As much as our internal editors can intrude, this was a time I wanted my editor back in my head, not to criticize, but to alert me to things I could have overlooked. Sentences that were there because I liked them, but didn’t add anything to the narrative. Misspelled words that spell check didn’t catch. Passive verbs that slipped in while I slept.

5.            Track your progress. Use a spiral notebook to track your work. The pages will not get lost, and you’ll have a log to document your efforts. Reward yourself if you’ve met your goal for that day. A writing friend of mine gives herself a star. As a veteran note taker, I jotted daily notes and crossed off items on my list as I finished them.

While your book is out to your final readers, organize your book files, clear your desk, tidy up your hard drive, and empty your wastebasket.

Then take a week off.  Breathe. Sleep. Eat out. Go shopping. Throw yourself a party. When your book copies come back, you’ll be refreshed and ready to correct the occasional error these final readers will catch.  And you’ll be confident that your book is in its best possible form to continue on its way to publication.

Title: Caring Lessons: A Nursing Professor’s Journey of Faith and Life

Lois Roelofs describes herself as a rebellious minister’s daughter, a reluctant nurse, a restless mom, and a perpetual student who eventually became a fun-loving teacher of mental health nursing. During her forty-year nursing career, she cared for patients and taught nursing students in primarily mental health and medical-surgical settings. As a caregiver, she learned the value of caring for herself and did so by changing jobs to suit her interests, going back to school more than once to feed her crave for learning, and seeking professional help when personal and family crises invaded her life.

You will be amused, saddened, and inspired as you read this intimate and introspective memoir. Plus you will learn the importance of faith, family, and friendship—whatever your profession—and come away with a new appreciation of caring for yourself as well as caring for others.

About the Author:

Lois longed to fly the friendly skies but in 1968 minister’s daughters did not become stewardesses. They chose practical careers like teaching or nursing. For the entire first year of nursing school, Lois made weekly calls home to beg her parents to let her come home. Then her instructors decided she had a “bad attitude”. Despite her lukewarm feelings about a nursing career Lois set out to prove those cranky old instructors wrong.

Lois’s attitude, as well as her feelings about nursing, changed radically during her over 30 year career. She retired in the year 2000 as professor emerita from Trinity Christian College with Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in nursing. But even that wasn’t enough classroom time for Lois. She recently completed three years of the University of Chicago Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults. She now spends her days writing and being a happy grandma.

Find Lois Online:

Lois’s website: http://loisroelofs.com/

Caring Lessons’ excerpts: http://loisroelofs.com/excerpts-3/

 

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