The Writing Vitamin
Every year, North Americans spend over $21 billion on vitamins. Most of that money is spent in a quest to stay healthy. Whether taking all these vitamins actually improves our wellbeing is a hotly debated issue, but there is one “supplement” that has been clearly shown to be good for our health. That vitamin is writing.
Research has shown that regular creative writing can have far reaching benefits. One study even found that in addition to short and long term psychological benefits (including lower stress and increased happiness), expressive writing had significant impacts on physical health, including improved lung functioning in asthma, reduced severity in rheumatoid arthritis, even better immune response in HIV infection.
If so many benefits came in a bottle, we’d be beating down the doors to buy it!
In our quest for health and happiness, we often spend our time chasing what we think we don’t have - the right job, the right partner, the right pill. But what writing teaches us is that one of the best things we can do for our health is to make time to do what lights us up. Best of all, the writing pill is freely available and always in stock.
So pick up your pen or turn on your computer and get writing. It’s for your own good!
From the President’s Desk
Margaret Atwood once said, "In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt." That quote takes me back to childhood days spent laying in the grass absorbed in a good book. And since good books are what we’re all about here at FriesenPress, I’m excited to announce that we’ve just released three brand new Children's Publishing Paths.
Children's literature has been one of the fastest growing book categories, expanding by 52% over the last decade. Couple that with the deep love for children's books that the team at FriesenPress has, and it was a natural step for us to develop new, more powerful publishing options for children’s authors. Equipped with products and services that are critical to an author's success, such as our must-have Enhanced Interior Layout, FriesenPress is now the leading choice in self-publishing for children's books. In fact, we are the exclusive partner for several organizations that agree our expertise is unparalleled for this genre.
I invite you to check out our exciting new Paths by clicking here. If you have a story that kids need to hear, I hope you will call us for a complimentary, no pressure consultation.
I wish you lots of sunny days with tall grass and good books!
Team Member Spotlight: Bret Newton
Publishing Consultant and Peer Mentor by day. Musician, MC, and thespian by night. Full-time Dad. We may never understand where Bret's boundless energy comes from.
When he's not acting in a local theatre production or hosting an event, Bret is speaking with authors about their books and publishing goals here at FriesenPress.
I was born in Alfred, a small French town in Eastern Ontario but I grew up in Windsor, Ontario which is the border city with Detroit Michigan.
As one of the first people authors speak with at FriesenPress, what's a piece of advice you wish all authors knew?
The advice I would give authors is to trust our process and our expertise. Everything that we do is with the intent of making your book better. We believe in our authors and we truly want them to succeed. To this end, we work hard to ensure that authors are getting the services they need to put out the best possible product and this applies to both the book and the author's experience when working with our process. *Cue Bryan Adams*
Best part of your day?
The best part of my day, aside from that first sip of hot chocolate, is speaking with an author who is excited about their book. Whether they have finished writing or have just started, an excited author is a lot of fun to speak with!
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your role here at FriesenPress?
The most rewarding aspect of my role here at FriesenPress is seeing the published books of the authors that I worked with in our bookstore. I check our new releases every couple of days to see whose book is now available. I also love hearing about our authors in the news or about the awards that they have won. Knowing that I helped them, even a little, gives me a wonderful sense of accomplishment.
Tell us the best book you’ve read in the last year.
The best book I have read this past year is my favourite book of all time: Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. It is an incredible story that I find very empowering. It only takes me an hour or so to read but it always leaves a lasting impression on me.
What are some memorable books you’ve helped our authors publish?
Some memorable books that I have helped authors publish include, but are certainly not limited to:
- Yellowbird by Leslie Yaremko
- ISLE by Jes Dory
- Orion Surfacing by I. James Forrest
- You're not just a Publishing Consultant, but a Peer Mentor as well. What's something you've learned about yourself as a Peer Mentor?
As a peer mentor, I have learned the value of having clearly defined goals. Outlining what you want to accomplish and then creating a plan to get there has helped me with guiding my colleagues through various trainings as well as guiding my authors through our services and helping them see why FriesenPress will provide them with the best value. I use it in my personal life as well when it comes to my six-year-old or when I am getting into character for a show.
- Finally, any Stanley Cup predictions?
In an ideal world, it would be Edmonton and Ottawa for the cup, but in the real world, I think a Pittsburgh / Anaheim rematch is most likely.
Why You Should Always Carry a Notebook
We’ve all heard it before. Look at any list of writing tips, advice from history’s famous writers, recommendations from your local writer’s group or favourite blog. Carry a notebook. It’s painted as one of the most valuable methods to finish your book, one of the ways that you can look like a writer, feel like a writer, write like a writer. But, when all is said and done: Why?
What makes a notebook beneficial? Why not rely on your smartphone or tablet? They’re handy and you won’t run out of paper or ink. Or why not rely on secondhand paper—the back of a grocery receipt, or the bottom of a parking ticket? For that matter, why not rely on your memory?
- Your notebook is a promise. Carrying a notebook is your commitment to your creativity. It says that you’re ready to blindfold that pesky editor who sits on your shoulder. We all have them: practical, objective, revising every flaw and criticizing every idea before our book can truly form. Your editorial voice does have a place, but it’s not here—your notebook should be a haven for free thinking, a stepping stone to a first draft, and an invitation for your creative side to flourish.
- Jotting notes down leads to insights, deeper connections, and aids non-linear thinking. A notebook is a warehouse for your thoughts, ideas, and daydreams, a toolkit of smaller intentions that form the blueprint for bigger and better concepts—one idea fastening to another to reveal clear patterns. Try reviewing your notes after a week, or a month. What connections do you see?
- Your notebook is distraction-free. Let’s face it: most of writing involves “applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.” But inspiration does strike, so it’s critical you be prepared to catch the spark and put it to paper. Your notebook won’t lose battery charge, send you emails, or ask for bill payments. Life throws book-ready details at you when you least expect it—and it’s much easier to chase the muse with pen and paper than with a beeping cellphone.
The next time you’re running out the door, tuck that notebook in your pocket. You have a book to write.
High Fives for Five Stars!
Did you know that more FriesenPress books received 4 and 5-Star Foreword reviews in 2016 than any other year? How about that not one, not two, but THREE FriesenPress authors had their books named Best of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews?
What's the thread that ties all these successes together? Editing. The vast majority of titles who received a stellar review also received a professional edit.
Regardless of genre, an edit is well worth the investment. High fives for Five Stars!