S3 Episode 6: Resources

In season three, episode six of borrowed solace: the podcast, Addey was joined by Zulie Rane–freelance content creator, ghostwriter, YouTuber, and cat mom. Addey and Zulie talked all things writing online including some of her tips for writing on Medium, how she started her freelance writing business, and what it’s like talking about writing on YouTube.

If you’d like to learn more about Zulie, you can find her online in the following places:

Medium

Her website, ZulieWrites.com

Write Your Future, a collaborative weekly newsletter

Her YouTube Channel

Instagram

Twitter

And, of course, we’d love to hear from you. Pretend we are relaxing at the park now that spring seems to have finally sprung–what did you learn from this week’s episode of the podcast? Leave us a comment down below to let us know!

S3 Episode 6: Freelance Writing With Zulie Rane

Welcome back to season three of the podcast! We’re coming back strong with our first episode since our hiatus, all about freelance writing and content creation with Zulie Rane. Zulie is a freelance content creator, ghostwriter, YouTuber, cat mom, and a wealth of information for all things writing online–take a listen to learn more!

How do You Edit?

I am in the middle of furiously editing my novel manuscript, so editing is on my brain lately. As many writers will attest (me included!) editing is not always fun. I wouldn’t say it’s the bane of my existence exactly, but there are some days it comes pretty close.

As I have struggled through editing these past several weeks, I’ve been wondering how everyone does it. There seem to be a million different ways to edit, and that’s because, of course, there are a million different writers out there! Some writers have rough rough drafts, some writers have clean rough drafts. Some love getting into the nitty gritty of syntax, sentence structure, and grammar right away, whereas others put it off until the last minute or hire out someone else to take on line edits. There’s so much variation in how we, as writers, edit out stories, and so I’m curious: how do you edit?

Don’t worry, I’m not asking the question without planning to reciprocate and explain my own process so far. Here’s how I edit:

Read Everything

Much of my time so far has been taken up simply by re-reading all the words I wrote. It’s more time consuming than you would think, especially with a full-length novel draft. I’ve been going word by word (yes, all 70,000 something of them) and sentence by sentence, noticing where I let myself get too long winded (I’ve learned that my wordiness is my downfall) or where I didn’t make clear who I was writing about. Only after I work on making my prose less jumbly can I dive into the details of characterization and plot–at least, that’s how editing goes for me.

Identify Potholes

Here in Colorado, we have a lot of potholes. A lot of potholes. When you’re driving down the street, humming along to your favorite song and keeping an eye on traffic, sometimes it’s easy to miss the crater in the middle of your lane. And when you hit that crater, causing the steering wheel to jerk beyond your control momentarily, you send a little prayer up to heaven that your tire didn’t just spring a leak (at least, that’s what I do!)

When you’re writing your first draft, you’re often in a similar state of mind–typing happily away when you hit a good writing streak, paying attention to which words to use and the right punctuation for dialogue. Inevitably, you’re going to miss the potholes in your story. I know I did! As I’ve been going back through and reading everything, I’ve noticed the small spots in the story where I need to fill in some gaps, and I’ve also noticed the gaping holes in the road of my story where I changed someone’s name half way through or forgot a character was supposed to be dead less than a year, not more than three. You’re mind can get distracted when writing that first draft, so go back through and fill in those potholes so your future reader has a much smoother ride.

Figure Out What’s Lacking

I decided to use a new web-based software for my editing, Fictionary, this go around, and it’s helped me identify some parts of my writing that were lacking. The way the program is set up allows for you to note different sensory details, objects, and character motivations in every scene and chapter. While it’s not always the most intuitive in picking these things out (it is computer-based software, after all) I’ve found some of the questions it asks as I weed through each scene to be very helpful. I’ve learned that I don’t mention scent very often in my descriptions, something that I am aiming to focus on as I edit. On the flip side, I often use touch to describe things, which is something Fictionary doesn’t pick out as a particular thing to note. Either way, I’ve found it helpful to think through scenes in terms of what is and isn’t there. It’s helped me appreciate the things I am good at in drafting each scene, and strengthen my writing by picking out what’s missing again and again.

Now It’s Your Turn

Now that you’ve heard a little bit about my editing process so far, I want to hear from you! What are you currently editing? What’s the process been like for you so far as you make your way through this tedious process? And finally, what tips do you have to share? Although editing is still not my favorite thing in the world to do on a nice evening after work, I’m learning the value of it even more with a full-length manuscript, and I’m eager to hear your take.

Don’t Worry, We’re Coming Back

You may have noticed that the podcast has been on a bit of a longer holiday break than expected. Our time off from the podcast went from a short break to a long break, but we are coming back and, dare I say it, are coming back better than ever! We’re excited to interview more people, talk about even more writerly topics, and interact with you, dear listeners, even more than before. So stay tuned for what’s to come in the next few weeks. We can’t wait!

Snow, Snow, Snow

If you live in the US, there’s been a lot of snow lately. A lot of snow. Here are borrowed solace all of us editors live in areas where there’s typically snow this time of year, so we are used to it in some ways (our hearts and prayers are with those in the south and in Texas who aren’t used to these frigid temperatures and are dealing with awful problems from this weather), and in other ways, we’re still a bit…over it, just like many of you.

While we’re dealing with cold and snow, snow, and more snow, it definitely allows for lots of time to think about and work on creative endeavors. The nice thing about writing is that you don’t even have to have electricity to do it (though we sincerely hope all of you have electricity right now!) a pen and paper will do. You can create worlds with just some ink and paper, or a keyboard and a monitor.

So whether you are battling the flakes that have already fallen to the ground or are bracing for another round of the white, fluffy stuff to fall from the sky, don’t fight it–use it to inspire you and spend that extra time bundled up indoors to write. Start a new story about a futuristic universe where snow is as valuable as gold. Think about how settlers during the great westward expansion battled blizzards on the Oregon Trail and create the characters who would have been there. Take your first-hand experiences and write about them creatively, scribbling pages that one day might end up in your memoir.

There’s inspiration all around us, and this snowy weather we’re experiencing is no exception. Even if you simply take advantage of the extra time you might be facing stuck indoors right now to write more words in that novel you’ve been working on, or polish up a poetry collection you’re preparing to send to publishers, snow can serve all of us as writers.

If all you’re thinking about and all you’re dealing with right now is snow, snow, snow, don’t let it go to waste. Find inspiration where you’re at–even if that’s buried under inches (or feet) of powdery white stuff.

How to Find Your Voice

What is it that separates good writers from mediocre ones? How does one make themself stand out in the midst of so many other writers in the world? Voice. Voice is sometimes elusive and sometimes hard to explain, but it is important to every great writer. Diction and voice go hand in hand, so do point of view and voice, but it’s not defined by any one thing. Voice is unique to each individual writer — you have a voice too — and it can make you stand out from the metaphorical crowd.


So if it’s so hard to explain, then what is voice? How do we, as writers, work on establishing our individual voices? Jennifer Sinor in The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction explains voice as being defined by what is lacking. She says “Voice…is one of the most vital yet ephemeral qualities of writing. We can’t point to it on the page, pin it down, say that here, right here, in the way this sentence runs or in this choice of words or in this use of detail, we have a voice. Rather, we note its absence by the distance we feel from the writer, from the subject, or from the words on the page.” If you’ve done your fair share of reading (which you should have, if you are at all interested in becoming a writer), then you’ve likely identified an author’s voice in writers you‘ve come to love. Most often in my own examination of a work of literature, I notice voice when I see clever turns of phrases and ways of using words that just make sense. Voice makes a story flow on the page in a way that works and that gives insight into a character, narrator, or world perfectly.


Janet Burroway compares a writer’s voice with their audible voice in Imaginative Writing. Often, you can tell who is speaking — celebrity, family member, or friend — just by hearing the sound of their voice. We all have ways of speaking that differentiate us from each other. It may be that we say “uh” too often, have a southern twang to each syllable, or pronounce words uniquely so that they stick out when you hear them said. We lack the ability to hear words being said when we read, as writers, we have only the words on the page to develop our voice, and Burroway says, that this is done primarily through diction, which conveys “not only the facts but what we are to make of them, not only the situation but its emotional coloration, not only the identity but also the attitude of the person who speaks from the page.”


But how do we, as writers, write in such a way that makes our voice clear?
The most important step is to simply practice writing. As I recently heard from my boss (who is not a writer, I might add), writers write. So start writing! Experiment. Write from a third-person point of view and make your narrator a character in the story. Write the same scene a million different ways with a different tone each time. Make a character come across as snobby without describing them that way, make a character seem shy without describing them as quiet, figure out how to describe a character by only explaining their physical actions, and then try it all over again.


Developing your voice is hard work, and, as Burroway also says, “an author’s voice has a quality developed over time.” Your voice won’t become distinct overnight, you have to get to writing! So pull out your pen and notebook, or your laptop and your trusty fingertips, and get going. The best advice, for now, comes once again from Burroway (go read her book if you’re new to writing — there is much to learn from her skilled essays and prompts) — “seek to voice, and your voice will follow.”


We live in a world where there are a million voices coming at us every day — a mile a minute — so cultivate your own garden of words and your voice will grow. One day, and one word, at a time.

Previously published in The Creative Cafe

Merry Christmas

Hello to all,

Happy Holidays! To all and any holiday you may celebrate, the editors here at borrowed solace wish that your celebrations be blessed and as happy as they can be in the middle of COVID-19.

For a quick update, submissions for our Spring 2021 journal will close January 31, 2021. If you want to submit, we would love to see what you have in store. Head over our website and click the submissions tab!

For those who want a list or something to read on this day of merry cheers, check out the link for some of the most highly recommended Christmas books.

Thanks for sticking with us this year! May your Christmas be very merry, and very bright!

Love,

The borrowed solace editors

Write Forevermore

If you’re like me, you’ve probably already listened to Taylor Swift’s new album, evermore, multiple times this morning. Or maybe you’re a normal person who didn’t wake up and immediately play the new album and lay in bed reading the lyrics as you listened. Either way, I would encourage you to use evermore (or your favorite album from your favorite artist that came out recently) as writing inspiration!

I find that I get my inspiration from the oddest places at times, but something that almost always can serve as inspiration is music. Music is essentially poetry put to instruments. Lyricists rely on words to tell a story through their music just like writers use words to create other worlds. Words are the foundation upon which we stand, so why not take inspiration from the words of others?

evermore is an album made up of stories. Taylor Swift created people–some imaginary, some based on real-life–to write these songs about. Some of them are characters from her folklore album released earlier this year, some have tragic storylines, some wind up with their true love at the end. But they are all stories.

So today, if you are looking for inspiration or somewhere to start with your writing, I’d encourage you to pick a song from evermore (or another story-driven album) and write the backstory, what happens next, or the other character’s perspective. Turn your writing into a response song, or a poem, or a short story. I’m sure you could even find enough inspiration to write a novel if you tried!

As always, we are eager to see what you come up with. Share in the comments below or, if you are so inclined, submit it to the journal for consideration!

S3 Episode 5: Writing and the Holidays

On this episode–our last of 2020–Addey and the other borrowed solace editors, Amber and Nicole, talk about the holidays. What does writing have to do with Christmas? Have any of the editors written stories about the holidays? What does December look like this year? Tune in to find out!