Welcome to the Look Better In Writing Podcast!

The Look Better In Writing (LBIW) podcast is finally here. YAY! It's an audio outlet for all things writing and all things grammar. Think of it as another branch of this website. :)

Now, let me share why this podcast is so important to me...

Since turning 30, my birthday traditions have consisted of:
* A few hours of pure solitude to reflect on God’s goodness
* A new personal & professional challenge, and
* A conquered fear

Well, today, I combined 2 & 3 and started a podcast. YIKES! 😳 I sat on this idea for years now, but fear held me back. And while I’m still uncomfortable with recording my voice, I believe in feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

That being said...

I would love if you guys celebrated my birthday w/ me by taking a quick listen to my #LookBetterInWriting podcast and helping me spread the word.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE: https://soundcloud.com/lookbetterinwriting/episode-1-intro

4 Things Good Writers Do to Edit

4 Things Good Writers Do to Edit

After writing and publishing books for over five years, I feel like I have useful tips and hacks to help new writers have professional-looking work whether they write a book or not. For whatever reason, it's hard for me to outwardly call myself as a "good writer," but I will say that I'm an experienced writer. That being said, I hope you take these tips into consideration because they were created from mistakes and lessons that I've learned along the way.

1. Make Sure the Punctuation is Correct and Proper

Correct grammar is true across the board and is error-free. Proper grammar is suitable and/or appropriate considering the social standard. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it is correct. Knowingly, correct and proper punctuation dresses your words and ensures that readers read what you actually say and not what you mean to say. “In writing, punctuation plays the role of body language. It helps readers hear you the way you want to be heard." –-Russell Baker

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The 4 Different Types of Book Editing

The 4 Different Types of Book Editing

Good morning, writers!

At the top of the year, I said that 2018 is the year of the writer (specifically, the author). It is now the end of April and I still believe that. But you what I realized? I encouraged aspiring authors to write their first book, but I didn’t share the tools to help them/you edit and publish their/your book, as well as write it.

So, today, we’re going to talk about the editing process.

Depending on your need, the editing process may be lengthy because you may need multiple steps instead of one step. And that’s okay!

What are the steps in an editing process? Well, let’s break it down by editing type.

There are 4 different types of book editing. I will list them below:
 

DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING

Developmental editing is an in-depth edit of a manuscript. It focuses on the story’s setting, plot, characters, and flow. This editing type is very involved and checks for the fluidity/clarity of the author’s content, tone of voice, etc. Developmental editing also examines whether or not a story is missing something or in need of a few cuts. (Rewrites happen in this editing phase.) Authors, have thick skin when dealing w/ your developmental editor. They’re there to help you develop your story and make it...well, worth reading.

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My Classroom Conversation at an Elementary School in Los Angeles

My Classroom Conversation at an Elementary School in Los Angeles

Hello, writers!

I'm feeling very inspired today. My classroom visit last week plays a big role in today's inspiration. But before I talk about my "classroom conversation" at an elementary school, I want to encourage my fellow writers, specifically you aspiring authors. The best advice I can give to you is to think of the end goal. Think of the possible opportunities your book will create on your behalf. Let your end goal outweigh the overwhelming book-writing process.

One goal I have for all of my books is for them to be accessible to people in (and outside of) my community. Last week, I was blessed with an opportunity to speak at an elementary school in Los Angeles. I spoke about the importance of language capital and grammar awareness (but, of course, I broke the topic down so that 5th graders would understand). I challenged the students to think of the English language as a key that opens the door to many global opportunities (e.g. writing, teaching, government affairs). I shared the short version of my career story including teaching in South Korea. I also shared some book-writing tips and answered 1,535,546 questions about writing in general. It was a fulfilling feeling to see hope in so many students' eyes, and it reminded me of the fact that everyone has a story inside of them. Whether it's fact or fiction, I strongly believe that everyone has a unique perspective, family history, or life experience that is worthy to be shared.

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3 Easy Capitalization Rules

3 Easy Capitalization Rules

We all know the basic capitalization rules like capitalize the first word of a sentence. But there are a few more common rules for capitalization that I'd like to bring to your attention.

1. Capitalize Proper Nouns

A proper noun is the name of noun (a person, place, thing, or idea). More specifically, a "proper noun has two distinctive features: 1) it will name a specific [usually a one-of-a-kind] item, and 2) it will begin with a capital letter no matter where it occurs in a sentence. For example:

President Obama is writing a book.
I would love to interview President Obama.
I wonder if President Obama is fully rested after serving two terms in the White House.

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Writing to Speaking: How to Teach Outside of the Classroom

Writing to Speaking: How to Teach Outside of the Classroom

What better way to close out the year 2017 than to blog about the biggest transition of my career. This was the year that I actively transitioned from writing to speaking (hence the title of this blog/video series). I purposely stepped away from the classroom and did not sub like I normally do throughout the year. Instead, I focused on my writing career. No, I did not write and/or publish any new books, but I had a few freelance writing, copywriting, and copy editing projects that held me over till the new year. (Okay, that's the partial truth. My brother and I published a keepsake book for our mom on her 55th birthday, but that's different. That was a passion project...a passion project that made it to Amazon.)

I digress.

This year, I forced myself to get outside of my comfort zone and build my brand, so that my brand could gain exposure and put me in the presence of a wider audience...with more potential clients...and more opportunities to speak. And it did. I am very thankful AND grateful to God for entrusting me to be a part of the journey of aspiring authors, writers, students, and online business owners. It was a pleasure and a learning curve. The biggest learning curve has been encouraging people to share their stories and write their books...and doing so in person.

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My Classroom Conversation at Compton College in 2017

My Classroom Conversation at Compton College in 2017

Hopefully, today's blog post will be motivating. Why? Because it shows me actively trying to accomplish one of my 2017 goals--which was/is to expand my brand by securing more speaking engagements. Well, I definitely spoke to more audiences than usual, but not as much as I would've liked to. In any case, I'm very grateful for the opportunities I had to enlighten people on the importance of proper (correct) grammar, language capital, and diverse teaching methods.

Here's the second video in my #ClassroomConversations video series. (You can watch the first video here.) I am in my element--the classroom setting--discussing ways that the home, school, and community can impact a student's academic journey!

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Celebrating the Bookiversary of My First Grammar Book

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving!

Second of all, it's almost the bookiversary (book + anniversary) of my first grammar book, Look Better In Writing: A Quick & Easy Guide to Punctuation Marks (LBIW).

This time last year, I was writing and adding the finishing touches to the LBIW book. I released it on Black Friday in 2016. So, tomorrow, I'll be celebrating my bookiversary. In the past 364 days, my LBIW book has made its way to seven different college and university libraries. WOW!

In any case, I wanted to celebrate tomorrow by offering my LBIW book for $3.00. Say hello to Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

Happy Gobble Gobble!

Nailah