I came across this article on Writer's Digest this morning and thought it was too accurate not to share. Please read below and click on the read more link to read the original article. The tips are great.

Before you hire an editor, you need to know what kind of help you’re looking for. Do you want developmental editing—“big-picture” feedback about structure, style, pacing and voice? A developmental edit for a work of nonfiction may include feedback about the book’s organizational structure, as well as both stylistic and informational strengths and weaknesses. (For example: “The strongest parts of the book are where you use humorous anecdotes to illustrate your points about how bad managers don’t even know they are bad managers. Why don’t you try opening each chapter with one of those anecdotes, to make it easier for the reader to identify with the problems you’re about to discuss?”) If you’re writing fiction, developmental editing also includes notes on plot, point of view and characterization. (For instance, “I think the real story starts in Chapter 3, at the moment when she wins the lottery,” or, “While I love the way you show the character growing throughout the story and her sarcasm is often funny, she comes off as unlikable. Here are some things she might do/say to get the reader.

1. You should avoid the temptation to hire someone to edit your first draft. I know you’re really excited that you finally finished that book! I’m happy for you … you should be happy for you. Celebrate it! But don’t send it to an editor yet. Put it away for three weeks and then reread, making notes on its strengths and weaknesses, asking yourself what’s missing, and flagging places where you find yourself skimming. Then rewrite the manuscript at least once—twice is better. Don’t bring in a professional until you have made the book the best you possibly can on your own. At this stage, you are still best equipped to take your book to the next level. Only when you’ve taken it as far as you can on your own will you get the most for your money in hiring a freelance editor. Read the full original article here

You've been staring at the blank screen for months, you probably have a title or you don't, but either way you're stuck and can't seem to move forward. Here are a few tips to get you started on your journey to put words on paper/screen.

Believe in your story: in order to give your story a voice and bring it alive, you must first believe in your own story. If you don't then you'll have difficulty trying to put words on paper for fear that no one else will believe it.

Believe your story is worth telling: Every story is worth telling, and every story has its reader. So know that once your story is told, it will find its audience. You just have to give them something.

Reading is key: Read for inspiration. Read for style and voice. Read for lessons - to know what you like and don't like. Then find your own unique voice and own it.

Pay attention to that tug: Don't ignore that yearning tugging on your heartstrings. It is the one voice you must listen to.
Just write: If all else fails, just sit down and write a starter sentence. You'll be amazed at how the story will flow from there.

Write everyday: Once you get started, be sure to add a little to the story everyday. Then be sure to stick to it until you have a final draft.

If all else fails, seek outside help. A writing coach can help you get started, and a ghostwriter can help you write if you feel you have the right story but not the right skills to get it in print.

There are many reasons why someone with a book/website/print content idea might want to hire a ghostwriter, but the most common reasons usually cited are lack of time, difficulty getting started and lack of focus or sense of direction. A ghostwriter is supposed to be able to take your ideas and listen to your story and translate those ideas and stories into words. But before you hire a ghostwriter and trust them with your story and your ideas, here are a few things you must consider before signing those dotted lines:

Have a clear vision in mind: You must know exactly how you want your story to be told in order to have it written just the way you envision it. The vision doesn't have to be unalterable, just solid enough to give your ghostwriter a sense of direction.

Know you own story: In order to put your story into words in a way that pleases you, you must make sure that you narrate your story and ideas to your ghostwriter in such a way that makes it easy to tell the story in a creative way without losing sight of what matters. Have as much information available (timelines, scenes, lessons etc.) ready ahead of time.

Be ready to put in some time: One of the reasons you're considering hiring a ghost writer might be due to lack of time. However, remember that during the story-writing process, your ghostwriter will need to be able to get a hold of you at different times, for various reasons. It is therefore important that you not schedule to have your project started during a stretch of time when you know you'll be hard to reach. 

Communication: Be ready to communicate your needs to your ghostwriter. Again, this is your story and a reflection of you so you want to be as involved as you possibly can be. Review drafts, suggest changes, and voice concerns until you feel satisfied with the final product. Your ghostwriter is there to serve you the best way they can and you have paid for their expertise. Never feel like you can't suggest a different way of doing things.

Know that it takes time: Any piece of writing takes time. The key to finding a good ghostwriter is not to find one who promises to have your project ready in the quickest time possible, but to seek out someone with a track record of dedicating time to producing a quality product. A good ghostwriter should be able to judge how much time is needed to complete a specific project - and it almost never is in two weeks or less.

Make sure you like your ghostwriter: Never hire a ghostwriter you're uncomfortable with. If you have an odd feeling about their personality, chances are you will find their writing odd as well. Seek out someone who suits your personality, someone who gets your story and brings a certain enthusiasm to your project. It is okay to reject a writer with whom you sense a lack of compatibility. The process is supposed to be fun, not stressful. Remember that you and your ghostwriter are a team and should be able to work together as such during the duration of the project.

At the end of the day, this is your story, your project, and a reflection of you, and you want it to represent you in the best way possible. So make sure to do your homework and hire only the best match for your needs. Good luck!

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