What kind of editor are you?
Good question! I’m a developmental editor first and foremost. I help writers figure out what they want to say and then help them say it. I look at big picture stuff like structure and pacing and characterization and give feedback, but I am also rigorous when it comes to language.
So do you provide line edits and copy edits and proofing too?
I do line and copy edits for style, consistency, accuracy, grammar, and general linguistic awesomeness. If you need proofing for your project, I subcontract.
But you are also a writing coach, right? How does that work with the editing?
Editing is about craft — about getting the words to do what they need to do. Coaching is about process. It’s about helping people — helping writers, helping you — get out of your own way, so that you can get the words down in the first place. This might involve addressing your organization or your emotional process, or it might just involve reflecting your work back to you so that you can see it clearly. Or it might involve giving you some tips and techniques to make the task of writing seem more doable. Writing is big. It can feel monolithic. Having a to-do list, a way to navigate through the quagmire, a path in, can make a big difference. That’s what coaching does. It gives you a path, so that you can make progress.
And you teach too, right? How does that factor in to the work we might do together?
Yes, I teach. I have been running writing workshops in New York City since 2006. Teaching involves a little editing, a little coaching, and lots of reading. Reading other people’s work to see what it can teach you. Revising, rewriting, submitting. (Don’t you think it’s just perfect that, as writers, what we have to do all the time is submit? It’s so giving-up-the-control of us. It’s so sublime, so spiritual.) When I teach a workshop, I often give my workshoppers assignments. I always send out follow-up reading — published work that can illuminate some aspect of craft, or just act as a model for what the students might be trying to achieve. And when I work with clients one-on-one, I also provide extra resources and assignments, as necessary.
So when I work with you, I’m getting some holy trifecta of editor-teacher-coach?
Yes, you do get that, but I’m also a writer myself, so I’m coming at this from the inside. I know what it’s like. I’ve been there. So you can expect rigor and compassion, in equal parts. (When delivered with compassion, tough feedback is easier to hear, I find.) When you work with me, you are also less alone with your work. It can get lonely out there, in the writing world. When I’m your editor or your coach or your teacher, I’m also your cheerleader, advocate, supporter and, if you want me to be, your companion on the journey. All this while still delivering the hard truths (if that’s what needs to happen).