Three Ways to Begin Your (DREAM) Writing!

Did you know that 80 percent of Americans think they should write a book? Most of them will never do it. People get intimidated by the work. They don’t know how to find a publisher or even self-publish. They never try or give up because it seems too difficult, or they don’t know how to get started. These days, writers can self-publish with tools on-line, and there are ways to get your book printed by on-demand or you can go the route of Indie publishing if you’re feeling especially productive. Whether you publish independently, with a hybrid company, or with a traditional publisher–you are still responsible for marketing. Be aware. Authors are not only writers, they are marketers, “experts,” salespeople, speakers, and we wear many hats!

Keep a Diary or Journal

I would not suggest for you to publish simply because you want to. Millions of people write books each year, but the majority of them are not necessary or good. You don’t have to be born with the talent, but you have to practice! You can start by writing for fifteen minutes a day. You can then reread what you wrote as a way to reflect and recognize any thought patterns. You can add more or rewrite to help change any negative attitudes. You can’t heal from what you don’t acknowledge. Writing can be therapeutic. I’ve practiced this technique since I was a teenager. Write somewhere where you can focus and edit. If you can’t find the time to write every day, write for one to two hours a week. Three hours or more of writing per week would be an ideal schedule to begin.

Find a Writer’s Community

What do you want to write about? Who will be in your audience? Will you create a blog? You can start a free blog at WordPress.com or Blogger.com. You can start a blog at WordPress.org, but you would have to purchase hosting. I’ve bought a domain at Godaddy.com (I am not an affiliate of any of these companies). Connect with other writers: join a writers’ group, attend a writers’ conference, share your writing with your friends or family and ask for honest feedback but ask them not to be too harsh. Compliments with constructive criticism are healthy. You have to be willing to learn from others. Find an accountability partner (That was a new piece of advice I heard at a conference!). I liked it. Reading others writing can help also, and it is a great way to write better. The best writers are the best readers, and writing can help you be a better speaker–I have told many people.

Relax, and enjoy it!

I’ve taken the fun out of writing by focusing on trying to make it “perfect.” Trying to type the right words, word-for-word can be stressful. These high expectations can take the enjoyment out of it! Writing has to be fulfilling. I was listening to a live webinar in my Writers Guild, and I heard a man say he feels “parched” while he writes. He was asking our writing coach how to solve this problem. He shouldn’t feel parched; he should feel inspired. You cannot inspire someone else until you inspire you first. But this develops over time. Finding your “voice” can take a while, but once you find it, writing can become easier and more comfortable. You won’t regret all the work you’ve put into it!

(This article will appear in the Southern Writers Magazine – Suite T blog).

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored “Not Without God: A Story of Survival” and her forthcoming book, “Hope After the Storm” will be the second in a II part series. Her stories have been featured in various guest articles, medical journals, magazines, newsletters, and almost 200 of her very own blog posts. As an educator for nearly twenty years, she’s had the privilege of working with thousands of students from different backgrounds and parts of the world. Her writing endeavors earned her an invitation to speak at the Harvard Faculty Club’s “Business Expert Forum.” Zina’s goal is to help others overcome adversity, and she strives to do what she longs to – help others. Socializing with friends, taking road-trips, listening to music, and networking are among her hobbies.  You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

How to Become a Writer (if you’re interested)

Did you know that 80 percent of people want to write a book? It’s true, but most of them will never do it. People get intimidated by the work. They don’t know how to find a publisher or even self-publish. They never try, or give up because it seems “too hard.” Anyone can self-publish with tools on-line, and there are ways to get your books printed by paying for it. Whether you self-publish or publish with a traditional publisher (where they pay you an advance), you are still responsible for marketing. Don’t be fooled. Authors are not only writers, they are marketers, “experts,” salespeople, speakers, and we wear many hats!

I would not suggest for you to write a book simply because you want to. You have to practice writing. Millions of people write books, but the majority of them are not any good. You don’t have to be born with the talent, but you do have to practice! You can start by writing for fifteen minutes a day. Keep a diary, journal, or notebook. Write somewhere where you can focus and edit. If you don’t want to write every day, write for one to two hours a week. Three hours of writing per week or more would be an ideal schedule.

You also have to determine your topic. What do you want to write about? Who will be in your audience? Will you write in a blog? You can start a free blog at WordPress.com or Blogger.com. You could also start a blog at WordPress.org but you would have to buy hosting. I purchased a domain at GoDaddy.com for my website. I’m not an affiliate. I’m just giving you ideas for how to get started.

Your writing is not for “everyone.” People who think their blog or book is for everyone are mistaken. I’m sure the topic you choose to write about has been written before. Someone, somewhere may have wanted to encourage others through their personal struggle, or someone may have had a similar idea for a novel.

Don’t let that discourage you. You have to write about something fulfilling. In my Writer’s Guild, I heard a man say he feels “parched” while he writes. I was listening to a live webinar. He was asking our writing coach how to solve this problem. He shouldn’t feel parched, he should feel inspired. You cannot inspire someone else until you inspire you first. My writing is therapeutic for me. I realize things because I write about my own personal life.

Image found on Pinterest

You have to meet with other writers. Book events, conferences, and Writers’ groups are all good places to go to. If you cannot find one nearby, you can have a friend or family member help you. Ask for honest feedback, but also ask they that are not too harsh. Complements with constructive criticism are healthy for you. You have to be willing to learn from others, but you don’t have to get hurt. I’ve had that experience before!

Sometimes we don’t follow our dreams out of fear. You may have a fear of failure, or a fear of not “fitting in” anymore. You may have a fear of going too far! I believe there are endless possibilities for all of us to distribute good in the world, be prominent in business, or successful in some endeavor.

It’s hard work, I’ve stayed up many nights trying to type the right words and the right messages. The high expectations I put on myself are not from the Lord, though. What I mean is, He may have put the idea to write in my heart. But He does not expect perfectionism. In all my articles, I strive to do what I long to–help someone else!

About Zina
Zina Hermez authored the book, Not Without God: A Story of Survival. She works as an English Instructor and has been an educator for more than fifteen years. Her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, guest posts, newsletters, and medical journals. To learn more about Zina visit: http://zinahermez.com

The Breathe conference posted my article!

One of the many benefits of writing is meeting others and making friends. I have met some wonderful people! Today my friends at the Breathe Writer’s conference published another one of my articles. They have been so kind since I began this journey a few years ago. Writing can be a lonely experience, but it’s a bonus when your writing is shared on different platforms. I have learned so much from them. I’ve attended two of their annual conferences in October. The knowledge gained from authors, marketing advice and overall help is invaluable!

Thank you Breathe conference!

http://breatheconference.com/home/featured-articles/writing-is-a-way-of-life-by-zina-hermez.html

 

 

 

Writing Is a Way of Life

I write to process pain. It’s a channel to express my feelings—a way to self-evaluate. I examine my thoughts. The pen is my friend. Writing in journals and diaries helps me, and provides healing. Through ups and downs, I write.

I write for joy and for release. It truly is a spiritual practice when I share what’s inside my heart. I’m led by faith. Words will stick. Words will resonate, if they are meant to. Words will remain…in books, magazines, e-books, and the Amazon-book-seller page. But it’s about more than a platform – it’s a way to peace.

We live in a competitive world. Exposure holds a lot of weight. But number one, it’s about words. Don’t focus on the fame. Don’t focus on the pay. If you write a book or other publication, be encouraged; you are spreading your message. Your words will not only change the reader, but they will also change you!

For me it has to be about reaching people through my faith.

(This post is inspired by an article I submitted to the Breathe Christian Writer’s Conference blog.)

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Injury Solutions! website. Zina works as an English as a Second Language Instructor, and has been an educator for fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world. She writes articles on faith and overcoming challenges, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, guest posts, newsletters, medical journals and other publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

 

 

 

New Year’s Resolution

My New Year’s Resolution was to always have peace with everyone including myself. I strive to get better, and better how I relate with others each day. I believe part of the peace I am seeking comes from self-reflection. The only way to realize my mistakes is to boldly look at myself “in the mirror,” so to speak. It’s not easy to do. It takes courage, but it is SO worth it once you become aware of patterns of behavior. When you are friends with everyone including YOU. You realize that even those that seem to be in opposition may be helping you. Getting back up only makes you stronger! But you have to like YOU first.

One of the ways I perform self-reflection is through writing my thoughts down. I began the practice of journaling years ago as a teen when I had no audience. Writing for myself comes easy. If you are not much of a writer, remember that no one else has to see your writing. You don’t have to share your inner-most-thoughts. Writing helps me, and I believe it can help you too. Complete happiness requires self-reflection, many people are afraid of it. It’s a lot of work. Writing is more than a need for me it’s a necessity!

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Injury Solutions! website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages. Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming challenges, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, the Breathe Writers Conference blog, newsletters, guest posts, and medical journals. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

 

Dare to Dream

Do not be afraid to fail. Be afraid to never try. Fear of failure is the most tragic. ~Zina Hermez

There are moments in life we will never forget. Having book signings- meeting strangers who are touched by my story, and traveling to distance cities are some things I have encountered. These moments are precious to me. The friendships I’ve made, and the help I’ve gotten with writing my story is priceless! I can never forget it.

Without writing, and without self-expression I feel empty.

At times I want to spend hours on my love of writing, and not do anything else like attend to daily chores, and complete other tasks. I’ve thought about going on a writer’s retreat before. I’ve found pictures on line of places you can go to next to lakes or even oceans where you can stay in beautiful cabins. Where you go to write, and do nothing else for days.

I want to express myself through writing more than anything else.

When your book is published, it is only the beginning. And you have to begin writing long before that. Starting a blog, joining a writer’s group, or attending a writer’s conference are only a few steps you can take. Writing is an art. Like any other career, it takes time to develop. It’s a craft that you have to work at.

I want to write another book one day. I like to write quotes, and I think a book of inspirational messages would be nice. Please pray for me as I try to figure out how to undertake this new journey. We don’t always understand our direction and why we are being led. There are reasons we cannot understand until we have fulfilled our mission. ~Zina Hermez

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages. Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming challenges, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, newsletters, and medical journals among many other publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

How Writing Can Help (YOU)

Do you dream of becoming a writer? Do you want to write better for work? School? Or for yourself? I dreamt of becoming an author, and my dream came true! For any dream job to occur, you must put in endless hours of dedication and effort. I can’t tell you the exact amount of hours I’ve spent at my computer writing and reading others articles and books. I’ve learned about many different techniques and styles. My craft still needs work!

Can we ever perfect our writing? I don’t think it is possible. Writing is one of those careers where there is ALWAYS room for improvement. It’s like an art piece that can never be complete! There’s more to learn. Today, I would like to encourage you to write more. I don’t think everyone has to become an author but if that’s your goal, it is attainable.

You can simply write for the health benefits. It’s been medically proven that writing improves the neural pathways of the brain. Keeping a journal can greatly help. It’s a form of therapy. Through writing your thoughts down, or by putting them on a screen by clicking on a keyboard–you can learn about yourself, and even break harmful patterns.

Writing can change your behavior once you realize your actions you can change them for the better. No one has to even see what you wrote! You don’t have to publish your innermost feelings. “Write without fear, edit without mercy” is a quote I came across on Pinterest. I like that one!

Here is the link to a recent guest post of mine on the Breathe Writers conference blog to further give you tips on writing:  http://breatheconference.com/home/featured-articles/2330.html Check it out! Feel free to share your thoughts on writing with me…

“When we write we heal.” ~Zina

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

Writing is an Art

“Thoughts” ~ by Zina Hermez

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

 

Christmas–a poem.🌟👼

Christmas is for the poor… Christmas is for the weak… Christmas is for the refugee… It’s for the lonely…and the meek. It’s the magic of Christmas that captures us. Christmas movies often portray beautiful families and almost always have a happy ending.

Christmas is not only about gifts under the tree, though. It’s about something greater. It’s not about what you get, but what you’ve already got–a Savior. Christ entered, and as a man He changed the course of history. A human sacrifice.

He came for you and for me. Sent by God, the Holy Father, He performed miracles, signs, and wonders. Fully human and fully divine, He died and rose to redeem us. Christmas is about hope and peace.

It’s about a dark-skinned baby born among animals because no one would welcome him. How can we celebrate Christmas this season? Can we welcome Him into our hearts, or into our homes?

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created a Spinal Cord Injuries website. Zina has worked as an English as a Second Language Instructor and has been an educator for many years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming challenges. Her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, the Breathe Conference blog, the Southern Writers magazine, medical journals and various other publications. Her upcoming book, Hope After the Storm, will be the second in her II part Not Without God series and will be out sometime next year.

 

My Writing Life

Found on pinterest.com

This is how I feel about my writing. There is so much I want to say. Many thoughts I have remain, and they keep piling up. Little by little, I get them out. Each time I express myself, I feel relieved. Still it’s not enough. It’s never enough. I hold back at times. I don’t want to say too much. So I write again and again. Writers can get good at holding back. I have so much to say. So much I want to share. Not enough time. Sometimes not enough guts.

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages. Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

Why I Write

From the examiner.com

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

How Writing Helps

Do you have any hobbies? What are they? Writing has been a hobby for me. I’ve been drawn to it, and I’ve always written. I wrote when I was in the second grade. I’ll never forget winning my first story contest in elementary school. I won a few. My teacher was so proud that she designed a nice booklet for me with all of my stories.

The first loss I ever experienced was losing that book. When I couldn’t find it, I remember searching the basement tirelessly for at least a couple of hours. I could’ve misplaced it, but it was my first heartbreak. I was so sad. My first award, and here, I lost it.

I wrote letters addressed to God each night at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital after my accident as a teen. I poured out the sorrows, hopes, and prayers of my heart in the most difficult time in my life.

I wrote through college–successes, heart breaks, frustrations, and accomplishments. I kept thick journals, and wrote often when I felt the urge. I had to get out my emotions and thoughts.

I wrote as a child. I wrote as a teen. I wrote in college. I’m still writing… I believe writing is a great release. I know it has a healing effect on me. I believe it can help all of us.

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! on line website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

 

 

Three Basic Tips on How to Become a Writer

I went to the Breathe Conference yesterday, and I got back earlier today. I always like going to Writers conferences because they are a nice short getaway. You also get to meet other writers, and spend a little time bonding with others who have the same interests that you do. Writing can be a lonely experience. Instead of being at a desk behind your computer, you can get out there and share!

You can pick and choose which workshops you would like to go to. Breathe had four or five seminars going at one time so there were options. Some of the workshops I went to were on how to start and maintain a writing career, how to create good dialogue in your writing, and how to add cool graphics to your website/blogs.

All of them had great information, and were very interesting. One of my favorites was the one about adding graphics to your blog. I gained a lot of new information. Some of the tips and suggestions in the other workshops I’d already heard before, although I did learn some new things.

Have you ever thought about becoming a writer?

Here are a few simple things you can do:

Connect with other writers: join a writers’ group, attend a writers’ conference, share your writing with your friends or family, find an accountability partner (that was a new piece of advice I learned at the conference). I really like that one!

Start a blog. I know it sounds intimidating. If you’re really worried about your grammar and spelling, or unsure about what to write. Let me know maybe I can help you. Your blog should have a focus. Who would be your ideal audience?

Reading others writing can really help, and it is a great way to write well. Reading and writing go hand in hand. The best writers are the best readers. I have shared this with my students before. Make reading a priority.

I’m looking into starting a writers group. Let me know if you’re interested! I would like to meet at least once a month…

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez has authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and has created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! on line website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

 

Breathe Christian Writers Conference

Hi everyone,

I’m excited to go to Breathe Christian Writers conference this weekend! I haven’t been to Breathe yet, and I’ve heard great things about it. I love to meet new people, and I will be able meet writers in my home state of Michigan. It will be nice to get some questions answered and exchange information.

I’ve met many writers, but both of the conferences I’ve been to so far were outside of my state. I went to a conference in Las Vegas last year in October, then I went to another conference in Las Angeles earlier this year in March. I will stay closer to home.

I love this time of year – the fall! I look forward to the drive, relaxing, and staying in a nice hotel. It will be a short getaway, only for one night but it should be fun. I’m thinking of it as a gift to myself after a lot of hard work, and I want to celebrate the release of “Not Without God,” my book!

I also registered for a poetry workshop called “Perspectives on Writing and the Poet’s Life” with Matthew Landrum. I’ve been really interested in poetry lately, and I’ve added a poetry section to my blog so I’m looking forward to the workshop.

Have you ever been to a Writers conference before? Did I peak your interest? You can learn a lot about writing, marketing, and speaking there. Let me know if you have any questions about what happens at a Writer’s conference, and I will be happy to answer in the comments.

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez has authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and has created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! on line website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.