Author Archives: Meredith Hinds

Words for Word People, Week 2 – “Antiphon”

I should probably write one of these for myself that defines the word “week.”

The word of the week is “antiphon.”

An antiphon is a line of a psalm that is repeated between each of the stanzas, kind of like a single-line chorus. In traditional services, psalms are sung together this way. The cantor, up at the front, sings the antiphon, then extends their arm, inviting everyone else to repeat it. After each of the cantor’s stanzas, all gathered repeat the antiphon.

This is an efficient way to get people to sing together without much rehearsal. Psalms and antiphons. The same line, over and over. The meaning of “The Lord hears the cry of the poor,” evolves throughout the psalm, as each new stanza contributes to and builds upon that original idea. To understand something, we need to hear it repeated in different contexts.

Too many books (and book concepts) lack antiphons. The ideas are lined up neatly, each in their own chapter “box.” But starting another chapter is like starting a new book. The best books say just one thing – there’s only one antiphon, and it’s repeated after every stanza. Every idea hearkens back to the antiphon, every example supports the antiphon, and, as the reader sees the same antiphon again and again, she finally comes to understand what it means.

If you want to write a great book, don’t try to say the right things. Say just one thing.

Words for Word People, Week 1 – “Jesus”

The word of the week is “Jesus,” which is kind of an ambitious place to start.

I type the word “Jesus” on a regular basis – I work with many manuscripts that revolve around him (or Him?). Recently, I was doing a round of quick edits on something and I accidentally edited the “u” out of one of the many instances of “Jesus.”

“Jess.”

I paused my editing whirlwind to laugh. One exempt vowel, and “Jess” is being baptized in the Jordan, which is still great, but certainly lacks same significance.

One “u.”

I don’t think anyone needs to be obsessive about “getting it right” the first time, especially when it comes to words. I am decidedly on the side of just getting out of the way and WRITING, of allowing the many others in the chain of publication to take care of things like a missing “u.”

But when I do catch things like that, I am grateful for the reminder that combing through a manuscript for little oddities matters because words matter. And, evidently, one “u” can change everything.

10 Rejections

That is the goal for this afternoon. But what I’m learning is that most good work is done in the morning, and I only have half an hour left to get rejected 10 times. Off the start line at 3:04 p.m. sharp.

One down. I asked for coffee AND rejection in that email. I had to rearrange my sentences a few times.

Two down. I am not sure if I had already sent the same email to that contact or not…

And as it turns out, that contact has an auto-reply for medical leave (say short prayer for contact…). Not sure if I should still count that rejection.

I’m counting it.

Three and Four down. I shamelessly asked to be on that contact’s podcast, so that should be two rejections with one email.

Five down.

Six down.

Seven down. I included the URL of this website in that email, which might have been a little risky…

Well, one affirmative reply for the coffee. And another out of the office email.

Eight down.

Does it count as a rejection if I can’t find the email I’m looking for?

Nine down.

And the toddlers are back, so I am out with nine at 3:43 p.m. Looking forward to tomorrow’s rejection.

Thoughts on Platform

To the authors I know:

I’m not envious of many of your tasks. Especially not the task of creating a platform. I don’t know if this is true, but I get the sense that authors in ye olden days (like the 80s) were vigorously promoted by their publishing houses. Please comment if I’m mistaken, I would really like to know. My impression is that in the here and now, to sell even a single piece paper, you need at least six social media platforms with significant numbers (we’re talking thousands) of followers.

Dad and I own a URL because it’s part of being a business, any kind of business, in 2020. But we’re not trying to attract traffic to the site necessarily. Hello, Russian bots! Actually we’ve only managed to attract ONE Russian bot. That is how little I understand about attracting traffic to a site. I guess this is my way of defining my job – I am only helpful when it comes to Word documents – email me one of those, and I’m all in. Your twitter account, though? You know much more than I do. Dad and I just need the site listed on our business cards to be a valid link, not an Error 404 kind of situation.

All that to say – I know that platform can be a difficult part of your job. But don’t give up. The world (or a select portion of the people in the world) need your words. Good luck out there.

Sincerely,

Meredith

First Post

 

Editor’s Log.
Day 1
5/12/2020

Goal: Become involved in the online freelance community. Make connections, make friends, make dreams come true. Experiment with more of my own writing.

11:30 a.m.: Unbox new laptop.
11:33 a.m.: Read instructions. Realize that laptop needs to charge for 8 hours before use.
11:34 a.m.: Plug in laptop.
11:35 a.m.: Find spiral notebook, begin journal entry: “Things are a Mess right now with a capital M. The toddlers are taking turns breaking the retired espresso appliance I left on the dining room table. My son buckled himself into the high chair and is screaming for help. And the advice I have to offer him is this: ‘Don’t get yourself into a place you can’t get out of.’”

Day 2
5/13/2020

Goal: Post something to the blog of the new website.

11:30 a.m.: Take laptop out of the case, press power button.
11:31 a.m.: Mute Cortana.
11:35 a.m.: Realize that this laptop has Windows but not Office. Of course.
11.38 a.m.: Tell Cortana that I have a product key somewhere and I’ll find it later.
11:39 a.m.: Make a new email, because I’ve been needing one anyway. Also I’ve heard Outlook outranks Gmail.
11:40 a.m.: Start digging around for product key.
11:56 a.m.: Type in a 16 digit code.
11:57 a.m.: It’s not the product key.
12:01 p.m.: Give up and share Office through email.
12:02 p.m.: “Can’t send email right now. Waiting for a bit might help.”
12:04 p.m.: “Can’t send email right now. Waiting for a bit might help.”
12:06 p.m.: “Can’t send email right now. Waiting for a big might help.”
12:09 p.m.: Open link copied and pasted into my old email and sent to the new email.
12:14 p.m.: “Can’t download Office right now.”
12:16 p.m.: “Can’t download Office right now.”
12:17 p.m.: “Downloading Office. This might take several minutes.”
12:48 p.m.: Laptop dies.
1:01 p.m.: Plug in and reboot laptop. Press F1.
1:03 p.m.: Confirm that new laptop has Office capabilities.
1:05 p.m.: Try to log in to WordPress. Realize that new website is linked to old email.
1:07 p.m.: “Oops, that’s not the right password. Please try again!”
1:08 p.m.: “Oops, that’s not the right password. Please try again!”
1:09 p.m.: Send link to reset password to old email.
1:13 p.m.: Check old email. Link is not in inbox. Or in spam.
1:15 p.m.: Update and Shut Down.

Day 3
5/14/2020

Goal: Log in to WordPress on new laptop.

10:52 a.m.: Check old email on iPhone to confirm WordPress username.
10:53 a.m.: “Oops, that’s not the right password. Please try again!”
10:54 a.m.: Click sign in with Google.
10:55 a.m.: “Hi Meredith!”
10:56 a.m.: “Incorrect password. Click forgot password to reset it.”
10:57 a.m.: “Incorrect password. Click forgot password to reset it.”
10:57 a.m.: “Enter your 6-digit code to complete 2-step verification.”
10:58 a.m.: “We found a WordPress.com account with the email address ‘meredithsloan24@gmail.com.’ Log in to this account to connect it to your Google profile, or choose a different Google profile.”
10:59 a.m.: “Oops! That’s not the right password. Please try again!”
11:00 a.m.: Say prayer.
11:01 a.m.: Connect Google account to WordPress account with old email.
11:02 a.m.: View site.
11:03 a.m.: Realize that I trashed the posts page a few iterations ago. Click the “Get started here” link.
11:43 a.m.: “Your battery is running low. You may want to plug in your PC.”
11:47 a.m.: Plug in PC.
11:50 a.m.: Notice that the page for blog posts has the same content as the home page in a different format.
11:51 a.m.: Mother returns toddlers. Shut down.

Day 4
5/18/2020

Goal: Publish something, find it on the website, have system for next time.

1:48 p.m.: Log on.
1:52 p.m.: Copy and paste post from Word doc.
1:54 p.m.: Press Publish.