Writerly Peptalk: You are MAGIC

Writing does not always feel like magic. There are days when revisions feel more like climbing a smooth rock wall with no gear. There are other days when my house gets cleaned before I open the doc I’m working on. Days when I’d rather match socks than open my computer. These are not “happy writer” days.

This happens to all of us. It even happens with stories we love. With characters we love. I know, without a doubt, that there will be a time in every project when I hate it. When I think its crap. When I feel like I’ve wasted my time.

There are a lot of problems with this line of thinking. First off, if I’ve written anything, I’ve moved forward, even if those words don’t make it into the final draft. Second, the project I hate one day, I’ll love on a different day. It’s not always easy to remember that, because logic doesn’t always come into play when we need it to.

But the one thing that carries me through a project when I want to quit is the idea that books are magic. Even mine.

You know how the best stories make you feel as if you’re living inside the pages? Feel like the characters are your friends? That the places they frequent, are places you’ve been? I can’t fathom that the people in my favorite books aren’t real.

Books are magic.

So often we lose the vision of what we started to do in the beginning—tell a great story—and get bogged down in plot points that aren’t working, or the crazy world of publishing.

Focus on the magic.

YOU, as a writer, are bringing worlds to life (even if you write contemporary like me). You are bringing people to life. Your words are going to make people laugh and maybe cry and maybe stop breathing as they turn pages.

Focus on this, because in the end, the worlds we create will touch more lives than just our own. And yes, that feels a lot like magic.


~ Jolene Perry





I see people apologizing for their genre, what they write, where or how they’re published… Or, maybe apologizing isn’t the right word. The right word is dismissing their accomplishments.


If you weren’t comparing yourself to someone else, would you be using phrases like, “Oh, I just do (insert thing here)…” or “It’s not a big deal, I mean, a ton of people are better/further/faster/smarter (insert a word of your choice) or “I’m small potatoes” or “My little book is just for” or or or OR…

Own what you do. TAKE UP SPACE. Your accomplishments ARE WORTH FEELING GOOD ABOUT. GREAT ABOUT. Your hopes and excitement are WORTH SHARING no matter where you are on the road to your goal. YOU HAVE A GOAL THAT YOU’RE WORKING ON. GO YOU!

Do I dismiss what I’ve done? Yup. I do it all the time. But I need to stop. I’m working on it, but I wanted to elope to avoid the attention, and it took me AGES to feel okay about displaying some of my titles OVER MY OWN DESK. Whyyyyyyyy? I don’t know. I DON’T KNOW! I write books. It’s a pretty fun thing to do. I love it. < – See me trying to do better?

On the flip side of this. Stop being rude and/or dismissive to people who write in genres you don’t like/read. You’re part of the problem. Honestly, a great life rule = Don’t be an asshole. Works for so many things!

I don’t care what kind of creative endeavor you’re working on, if you’re putting any amount of positivity into the world, I AM CHEERING YOU ON!! FROM MY DESK! THE ONE WITH THE BOOKS I WROTE SITTING OVER IT!

I’ll leave you with a few words of wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert. If you are AT ALL creatively minded, you need this book in your life. If you think you’re not creatively minded, you are 😉

“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us. Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise—you can make anything. So please calm down now and get back to work, okay? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”  

Happy Creating Everyone! GO FORTH AND CONQUER!

~ Jo



Edit Rounds, Typos, and the Finished Project…

This meme has been floating around, and got my re-thinking about something I think on often… HOW DO TYPOS SURVIVE?


For those traditionally published, you KNOW that typos make it into the final version of your book – almost every single time. (I’ll admit to a tiny part of me being giddy when I find one in a big 5 book. Totally selfish) And what the meme above left out, are the line edits that should happen between content and copy.

I just printed ARCs of The awful wonderful Story of Us. That book has gone through AT LEAST as many rounds of edits as it would have if I had gone traditional with that story. Still, there were small things ALL OVER that book that I changed. Things my eyes fixed as I read before, or didn’t pick up on in the version I read (over and over and over) on my computer. Most were tweaks of ellipses, but about 5 typos survived all the eyes that went over that book. These are things I didn’t see until I held a PRINT COPY in my hands.

Does this mean everyone needs a print copy?


This means that everyone, traditional or indie – large, small, or self press… NEEEDS to figure out the solution that works best for them.

Proof rounds for indie peeps should happen AFTER the author is happy with their story, tension, arc, sentence structure, and has done a round of copy.

But, anyone submitting to agents and/or publishers can benefit from doing some solid proof reading.

A few things to help make the most of your proofreading :

  1. Change the font and make the print HUGE on your computer screen.
  2. Change the color of the font.
  3. Print a copy – either as an ARC or printed pages.
  4. Don’t skimp on edit rounds, and if you’re indie and have to (b/c edits can be spendy), make sure you have MORE THAN ONE proofreader that comes after copy edits.
  5. If you’re indie, and can only afford one round of edits, DO LINE EDITS and then bribe friendS to read a printed version of your book to help you find those tenacious goofs.
  6. If you’re traditionally published, when you get your galley copies (where the book is all pretty and formatted), PRINT IF OFF if your publisher doesn’t. If they do, keep reading.
  7. Read OUT OF ORDER so you’re not sucked into the story.
  8. NEVER do proof pages for more than 30 minutes at a time, even if all you do is stand up and stretch.


So, there you go. A few ideas on how to kill off the tenacity of typos. (And now Jo wonders how many snuck themselves into this post…)


~ Jo

Found a cool post about typos HERE.

If you’re curious on what edit rounds should cover, Cookie Lynn has a basic overview:

A Content Edit includes overall notes on plot, characterization, and storytelling. A content editorial letter will be delivered with the edited manuscript.

A Line Edit will cover style issues such as word choice (misused or overused words), smoothing out awkward sentences, finding passive sentences, and improving clarity and flow. It will include an editorial letter and a style sheet.

A Copy Edit includes checking grammar, punctuation, and spelling and will also include looking for typos and echoes. A style sheet will be delivered with the edited manuscript.