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Friday, July 8, 2011


I'm here, tonight, on behalf of writers who suck at drafting, editing, and self-proofing (go ahead and throw outlining onto our list). An email called, was mine, and described me to a T; it still does. But now... after proofing a political true crime book -- because of it's potential to be a country-changing vessel -- I do believe I remember what I learned all those years ago and may actually apply it at some point.

I'm talking about predicates, primer language, run on sentences, and all that other stuff I'm guilty of messing up completely (or using incorrectly/ erroneously/stupidly). I remember: they exist; therefore, one must check for them. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not going to do it right now, but I'm going to do it when I'm not the actual editor of the publication.

Let me say it again: if you want to write well, do proofread a serious book.

In case you forgot, or in case you never knew, proofreading does NOT equal editing.  As a proofreader, your concern is not the story telling, but the writing.  You are in charge of double checking the nouns, verbs, pronouns, parentheses, commas, splice commas... you get the er, uh, picture

WordPerfect Office X5 Home and StudentBefore you write anything new or begin any proofreading job, let me suggest the best of the best, in regards to grammar information (and self quizzes), found on the 'Net:   Guide to Grammar and Writing.  It's an amazing and interactive--yet simple--website.

For proofing, I also suggest you print out the entire book instead of reading online.  Not only will you be able to read faster, but you can use the actual proofreading marks.  Better still, when you are finished marking the hard copy, you are, in effect, double checking yourself when you get back to the computer copy and type it all in.   Somehow.  I'm unsure how to do much more than writing and editing in word processing programs.

I've been having one other problem while proofing this book.  MS Word lets me make comments and allows me to correct everything in the book, but I want to proof one page at a time and send each single page to the author (in order for us to work more efficiently), but I've yet to discover how to SAVE one page (and then send). I can print one page, or twelve, or all, but not save or send.  Are you able to help me  out here?  Please!?!?!

Does what I've said even make sense?

And that question leads to this question - why do I write, when it'd be so much easier and faster to just sell the AtHome America stuff? BECAUSE IT'S IN MY BLOOD!

However, in case you missed it, AtHome America's new fall catalog is out and it's fabulous.  If you want to get your favorite things FREE, book an online party this week (either go to the website and click on "more information" or inform me the old fashioned way, via email); we'll get it going on!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


How do you focus on work, while at home?  How do you concentrate when your children are present?  Are you able to feel comfortable working while your spouse is watching TV? 

These questions, and more, should have been well researched and studied before you started your business-even more than the actual business itself, after all, if you cannot commit focused time, your business will not thrive even if it was named Disneyland.

At first glance, babies appear to be the most difficult distraction, however, this is false.  Sure, they'll make sure you know they need you and, yes, you won't be able to move forward until you deal with the precious child's needs and wants, yet babies and their schedules (and lack of moving about and talking), work for you.  In fact, even if your babies are anything like every single one of mine [were], it's a simply a matter of not blocking set hours of time, but allowing yourself to work 30 minutes, take 15 minutes off; work 30, take off 15; work 30, take off 15. Smaller increments, but extremely productive (so much so, that I've adopted the "five minute plan") moments.  It's amazing how much you can accomplish when you commit to those 30 minutes.

Obviously, you'll substitute your increment times according to Baby and your schedule.  

Toddlers are not as easy to deal with, and they tend to be the most difficult.  They often can understand you a thousand times better than you understand them.   That's the cause of your needing to supervise nearly every single moment.  Thank God for naps!  

Though toddlers are extremely mobile and even more curious, you can make this work.  Choose the things you can nearly count on to occupy five to ten minutes without standing over Toddler, like playing blocks (cars, ball, etc.) to do the things you most have to concentrate and get them done in small sessions (or wait a couple of years to start your home business). Use a high chair, a coloring book, and Crayolas once a day for fifteen minutes of business concentration.  If your toddler can sit quietly for a cartoon, know that "their brains won't turn to mush" if they watch a limited amount each day you need to work.  This can be a bigger break, generally a half an hour to two hours, and you can even sit beside Little Guy.

Never leave your baby or toddler alone in the bathtub and I do NOT advise you working whatsoever during bath time (I know, this is a no-brainer, but statistics of children drowning in a tub while the parent is home is staggering).

If you absolutely cannot share the concentration, hire a young sitter to play with Toddler for a few hours (or use an older sibling or the other spouse). 

School age kids, unless homeschooled, and your business work magically. It's a natural home business progression that your work hours equal their school hours.

Teens don't want to need you and will continue to do so as much as possible.  However, I find that my needing to focus on work brings about their neediness almost without fail.  I set everything down and look into their eyes while they talk and secretly be thinking, "Hurry up! I love you, but I have work to do and you didn't give me the time of day while I was washing dished, folding clothes, or watching Jerry Springer!"  This brings about some paralyzing guilt on my part once they leave my side, until I remember I'm working from home in part for them.

You can cure this one by doing two things:  work while they're at school or socializing, and deep clean the house daily (the second idea's a joke, of course, get it?).

Your spouse. For me, it's my hubby.  I don't know what to say about this because my husband doesn't even care if he talks to me, as long as I am near him.  I try focusing at the table near his Call of Duty TV, but I can't. He's cussing at his online buddies and it's distracting.  And back to kids for a moment, this is also the time when Dad can totally deal with all their needs--but their inclination is to come to me and ask me something.  Hubby says, "Hey!  Mom's working, whatever you need, come to me."  And I inject my theory that they already interrupted me so that just makes it a longer interruption.  Sigh.

Murphy's Law, right?

Anyway, my working is a no-go while Hubby's home. I work while he works or I work in the wee early morning hours.  You may have a completely different situation (and we did set up a home office where I can close the door, but sometimes, me working by his side is all the free time I have to spend with him) and will learn to know it, work with it, and love it.

Maybe you can't sit and focus for hours at a time, but with a bit of creative maneuvering, you can run a business and run it well.