In honor of Valentine’s day, I've been thinking about nurturing relationships. There are different levels of relationship involved in writing, from beginning with one’s choice to commit words to paper, all the way to deciding to publish. I’ve created three categories I’ll be writing about, both today and in future insight posts:
🗸 Writer’s Relationship with their Words
🗸 Writer’s Relationship to Audience
🗸 Writer’s Relationship with Editor(s)
Since I’m hosting an Energizing Editing workshop on Vancouver Island in March, this post focuses on the relationship of writer to editor.
Once you’re ready to move beyond that rough first draft how do you get the most from your relationship with your editor? Do you just send off your manuscript and hope for the best? Do you know, or want to know anything about this person you’re hiring to care for your words? Are you both aligned in your approach to writing and ways to receive suggestions for revision? Believe it or not, the quality of your final draft will be much higher if you take time to get to know your editor.
Consider the editor as an ally in your writing process. This professional wants to support you to get the most out of your creative ideas, to help you polish your words so they shine as brightly as possible. It’s also important for you to know what level of editing you require. Are you at the stage where you require a structural edit, an overall manuscript evaluation with big-picture analysis? Or have you already gone through several levels of editing, and now you’re ready for copy-editing.
During your initial conversation with a prospective editor do you know what to ask? What is your relationship with your words? If you’re not feeling great about your writing, that may affect how you approach your editor selection process. Please avoid this scenario: Sending your rough draft to an editor with the message, “I’ve just written this rough draft; can you do the copy-editing so I can publish?” This is a red flag! Your rough draft could probably use a manuscript review or a structural evaluation first.
Are you prepared to hear difficult feedback, that your creative baby isn’t quite as beautiful as you thought? It helps to have a sympathetic relationship with your editor prior to receiving any manuscript feedback. With that in mind, here are a few questions any prospective editor will want to know about you and your words; and remember in this relationship, you are also a professional. If you intend to publish, consider yourself a legitimate, honest-to-goodness, I am worthy writer!
⚬ Who is your audience for this book? [Check out my insight post Audience and Purpose, and my YouTube video How To Define Your Audience for some helpful tips]
⚬ What are your goals for this finished manuscript?
⚬ How do you feel about the state of your manuscript?
⚬ What is your preferred method of receiving feedback?
My book is much stronger because of the professional editors I hired for each level of manuscript development. No matter how strong your writing may be, there will always be editorial feedback that can make your words even more powerful. For example, I was astonished at the copy-editing stage of my manuscript, when I’d already worked through two rounds of thorough edits. I was sure that my copy-editor would send back my manuscript and tell me what a perfect copy it was. WRONG!
Fortunately, we had built a working relationship, in which I let her know how I can best receive critical feedback. Her suggestions made me dig deeper, expand on descriptions, and add details to make certain sections come alive. Our effective working relationship resulted in a manuscript that I was proud to publish. All of my editors became allies in this transformative journey from rough draft to printed book copy in my hand.
Do you want to learn more about moving beyond the first draft? I’m hosting a workshop on Vancouver Island on March 8th: Energizing Editing. I also offer support to emerging writers by offering manuscript reviews and structural evaluations. Please contact me to schedule your free discovery session.
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