Category Archives: Writing

These are posts where I share myself as a writer.

Happiness and Creativity Live in This Moment

It is a pretty foggy today in Aalborg, Denmark. So the next quote from Cheerleading for Writers: Discover How Talented You Are seems suitable for today:

Here is to the true gems we have and can enjoy now in this moment, not to the illusions which fog our vision and veer us away from the brilliant paths we have chosen to walk! Happy writing and happy creating!” – Victoria Ichizli-Bartels, Cheerleading for Writers

P.S. If you would like to enter a contest where you could win a copy of  Cheerleading for Writers then click on the picture above or here.

P.P.S. The art in the middle of the picture is by my son and me from May 31, 2014, more than a year before Optimist Writer and three years before Cheerleading for Writers were born. I have sweet memories of creating this with my son when he was as old as my daughter today, a little shy of 4 years old.

Copyright © 2018 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels

#NaNoWriMo #NaNoWriMo2018 #WritingANovel #WritingABook #WritingLife #motivation #inspiration #BeingHere #Fog #ThisMoment #Illusions #HappyWriting #HappyCreating #MotivatingWriters #CheerleadingForWriters #OptimistWriter

You Can Create Something Unique

I am sure that any person if he or she wants it can write a book or create something else equally unique. – Victoria Ichizli-Bartels, Cheerleading for Writers: Discover How Truly Talented You Are.

You can do it too. Happy writing and creating!

P.S. If you would like to enter a contest where you could win a copy of  Cheerleading for Writers: Discover How Truly Talented You Are then click on the picture above or here.

Copyright © 2018 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels

#NaNoWriMo #NaNoWriMo2018 #WritingANovel #WritingABook #WritingLife #motivation #inspiration #MotivatingWriters #CheerleadingForWriters #OptimistWriter

Results for This Year’s Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

Some of you might know that this year, for the second time, I have submitted one of my books with the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. As in last year, I haven’t won anything.

But once again the grades and the feedback from the judges was amazing!

Here are the results:

Entry Title: 5 Minute Perseverance Game: Play Daily for a Month and Become the Ultimate Procrastination Breaker

Author: Victoria Ichizli-Bartels

Judge Number: 39

Entry Category: Inspirational

A few quick notes~

  • Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”.
  • The 1-5 scale is strictly to provide a point of reference; the scores are meant only to be a gauge, and are not a cumulative score, nor are they tallied or used in ranking.
  • A “0” is not a negative score. Our online review system only recognizes numerals during this portion of logging evaluations.As a result, we’ve substituted a “0” in place of “N/A” when the particular portion of the evaluation simply does not apply to the particular entry, based on the entry genre. For example, a book of poetry, a cookbook, or a travel guide would not necessarily have a “Plot and Story Appeal, and may therefore receive a “0” – indicating that the rating was not applicable.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5

Production Quality and Cover Design: 5

Plot and Story Appeal: 0

Character Appeal and Development: 0

Voice and Writing Style: 5

Judge’s Commentary (Judge, 25th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards):

5 MINUTE PERSEVERANCE GAME by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels is an inspiring book that, if followed, will help people with the tendency to put projects off to accomplish their goals in five-minute increments. The style of writing is friendly and non-judgmental and will uplift those who read it with its encouragement alone. I like how the author feels like a buddy as well as a teacher. This book is suitable for all ages, so whether you’re an adult finally admitting you procrastinate, or if you are a parent with a child you need to encourage to get things done (such as cleaning their space!) then this book can be useful. The cover design is colorful and creative. The slimness of the volume will encourage people who need the book. After all, it takes more than reading to tackle a problem! The call to action on the back will get readers moving. I like the author bio and picture. Her background is intriguing and we feel we can trust her to help us! For some reason, this book seems to scream for illustrations. We read 18 pages before getting to the actual game, though I do appreciate the encouraging talk. The game itself isn’t really a game, but simply the suggestion of working in five-minute increments to accomplish a task. But the buildup will help motivate readers, and that’s a good thing!”

***

You can imagine my excitement and motivation when I saw that my book got graded as outstanding in all relevant categories in its genre. The commentary it got gave me more insight what the judge found valuable.

I am immensely grateful to all who helped this book come true. Some of these supporters got a separate e-mail from me with the news some time ago. But I would like again to shout out to the brilliant editor and amazing cover designer for this book, Alice Jago, who is also an exceptional illustrator. I am excited that we will continue working on many future projects together. If you are a self-publishing writer and look for a cover designer or illustrator for your book, I strongly recommend Alice’s services.

A small spoiler-alert: the next book on gamification will have illustrations also inside the book. With this, I am following the judge’s advice above. I can’t wait to see how this will evolve. The content development is well on the way. Check out the following categories on the Self-Gamification blog to find out more:

New Book “Cheerleading for Writers”: How and Why It Was Born

Writing and especially writing books is a long-term process. There are many great books on writing craft advising how to become a better writer, as well as those exposing the lousy writing examples.

A friend, who was first a stranger and who found me online, became not only one of my dearest friends but also became someone else for me. She didn’t edit or criticize my writing pieces (either blog posts or book manuscripts I sent her) and didn’t say how to improve them. She did something else. She pointed out what she liked most. But most of all she told what feelings my writing generated inside her, along with the memories of her childhood and youth. She related how my written pieces resonated with her.

When I tried to identify who she was to me and my writing, I realized that she was neither an editor nor strictly a beta-reader. She was my cheerleader!
As I experienced her support, I realized that she was not the only cheerleader in my life. Her presence and support made me aware of many beautiful and supporting people in my life, including my writing life.

I wanted to pay the gift of cheerleading for writers further. And with some contemplation of how to do that, I decided to create a resource for writers and to share the discoveries I made along the way. In November 2015 I started a blog category “Cheerleading for Writers” and wrote 26+ articles on various topics of writing, creativity, and life.

In October 2016 I completed this resource and after another year of polishing, revising and editing (both professional and self-editing), I have published “Cheerleading for Writers” this October with the following sub-title “Discover How Truly Talented You Are.”

I am curious to see how the stories related in the book will resonate with my fellow writers. I hope it will help them and you, if you are a writer, to relax and enjoy the processes of writing, publishing, and promoting your creations.
At the same time I will continue passing the gift of cheerleading in another way: by reading the writing pieces of my fellow writers and offering them honest feedback and motivation to find gems in their writing, as well as to continue creating more of such jewelry.

And I am sure interacting with them and sharing my writing with them will strengthen and improve my writing craft.

All that will also make sure that we all continue having fun on the paths we have chosen.

If you would like to find out more about “Cheerleading for Writers” then click here.

Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels

5 Minute Perseverance Game and Self-Editing

There are two major types of editing: self-editing and editing by someone else. The second one, from the point of an author, is rather connected to the reaction toward what the external editor suggested should happen to the initial text.

The 5 Minute Perseverance Game has helped me considerably in both cases.

In this blog post, I will address 5 Minute Perseverance Game and Self-Editing.

Independent on what you write, there are two components of self-editing and revision:

  • Verifying the text for possible errors and bits that could be improved, and
  • Implementation of the edits into the text.

Some authors might do both simultaneously; others do it separately. For example, I often print out extensive files, such as book manuscripts, read them on paper, and make notes which changes need to be made. Later I implement them into files. Afterwards, I repeat the procedure, sometimes varying the format of the text to be verified. One of the last versions I check is often in e-book format to see how it works there.

If the file is a shorter one (e.g., one page long) or it is an e-mail, then I usually verify and implement changes in one go.

I am sure that many authors do the same varying their practices depending on the text they are working with.

Let’s put the small files and e-mail messages aside. Then it is clear that the editing of large manuscripts might seem overwhelming. If you attempt to get done with it, I guarantee that you will become frustrated and make many mistakes.

Separating the components above into two distinct stages makes very much sense and is recommended by many writers. If you read guides on self-editing, you will see that many successful writers (Stephen King, Joanna Penn, and other) suggest reading and editing on paper.

The division of self-editing into reading plus making notes and first later implementing also allows you to be more thorough in your edits because during the incorporation of your edits into the text you might discover additional edits needed. So your writing becomes more qualitative.

But slicing the self-editing into two steps is not enough for larger documents. These two stages of self-editing are still too massive to do in one piece, especially when you self-edit one of the earlier drafts of your manuscript.

I can’t tell you exactly how little the self-editing steps should be for me to feel comfortable and doable. When the text flows nicely, then editing of a ten-page chapter might seem like an easy and small step, whereas a messy paragraph can send me into moaning, which is followed by tedious rewriting or cutting.

Reading about kaizen, the taking-small-steps philosophy and technique, helped to understand what was happening here.

Robert Maurer, whom I mentioned in the article “The 5 Minute Perseverance Game and Kaizen” in this series, has written the following in his acclaimed book One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way :

“Even the small signs that you are resisting the small step — are an indication that the step is too big.”

So I can’t say for sure that editing a paragraph is a smaller step than revising a page or a chapter because I might resist editing a certain sentence or paragraph, but not an entirely different section.

Thus I can experience different parts of my writing in various ways when I am self-editing. But what is the indicator or tool that can help me here and find what I need to change in my writing pieces?

I was reminded of the best answer to this question as I recently watched an interview with Heidi Klum, a German-American supermodel, television personality, as well as one of the four judges at the America’s Got Talent (AGT) Show.

After the result’s show of the AGT 2017 finals, a reporter asked Heidi what advice she would give to the winner, Darcy Lynn, a 12-year-old ventriloquist. Without contemplating, Heidi answered, “Always to have fun. If you don’t have fun, it shows in your performance. That is always the key number one.”

In my book Cheerleading for Writers, which will appear soon this year, I call this tool “fun detecting antenna.” In writing, I discovered that if I let myself be led by what is fun for me, then my writing becomes a pleasure to read too. But if I am frustrated about a paragraph, it’s not fun for me to read. Then the probability is high that my readers won’t like it either.

Fun as a tool to find out what to do next is just brilliant. Because in case of a “problematic” sentence or paragraph, the step for me to take is to make it fun or simply delete it.

5 Minute Perseverance Game is both about making small steps with the projects we want to pursue and about having fun while making those steps. I am immensely happy for these two tools to be at hand for me in any activity I take on, including self-editing.

A few questions for contemplation: What is your usual practice when you self-edit your written pieces? Do you try to get it done in one piece (or larger sessions) or do you usually do edit in small chunks every day? And what helps you to identify which parts of your work-in-progress need to be modified and which can stay as they are?

On the picture above: I took five pictures of this snail on my way home after delivering my daughter at her daycare. Watching it climbing through the leaves was simply fascinating. This amazing being is proficient at making small steps.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels