lessons from my editor

I think I told you that I’m writing a novel. I’ve pretty much told everybody at least three times. I’m that excited.

I think I’ve also mentioned a few times that I do some leadership coaching.

Last week, I was at a sticking point in my novel. I needed to wrap things up and craft the right ending. I had too many choices, and I was behaving like a child. It was hard and I just wanted to hang up on the book and say “Okay, bye!” Yeah, yeah, I knew that would really be quitting, not just a crappy ending.

So I scheduled a meeting with one of my book coaches/managing editors over the weekend. In preparation, I had to fill out a form that included a summary of my book and a status update.

The session was fantastic. She writes in my genre (sci-fi). She got my story and the things that I think are cool and what I want to grapple with. She got it because she’s been there.

She asked questions and she made a few suggestions. She pointed out where I might be missing something, heading down the wrong track, or maybe wanting to spend more time thinking to go deeper. She gave me some examples of other works that could teach me something; how other authors had handled similar structural questions. She shared what she was working on and how she handled it when she hit the periodic blocks.

I listened to her. I enjoyed it. We were talking about my work, something I cared about and something she knew about. Together we played with possibilities. She gave me some homework, and we decided when we would meet again. I know that I’m going to have some changes to make, maybe some big editing to do on the second draft, and I’m excited about all of it. Because it will be better. It will be much better.

This is like an employee review at its best.

I caught her up on what I was working on. I let her know where I was having some issues – okay, to be honest: where I was struggling.

She gave me feedback. She asked me questions and gave me some ideas from her experience and perspective. Together we played with how I would shape the storyline and the characters. We made a plan for how I would work going forward. And she gave me some accountability – homework to have done by our next session. I left excited about the new challenge and clear on what I needed to do. Translated, I was inspired and motivated and knew where I could get help when I needed it.

Yeah, that sounds like a great review.

It only took 45 minutes, but it’s going to carry me for at least another twenty thousand words. Best of all, I have another metaphor to add to my collection!

In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love, and light in the pages,


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