We’re on a journey together identifying who’s in our Village (of support), and how being part of that Village helps us on our journey to write a book (or a song, or create a picture, or become a photographer…).
Two weeks ago we talked about those Villagers who have and continue to cheer us on, even when the road seems to be going nowhere and our spirits have fallen. Cheerleaders are essential to keeping on the long, windy trail of following our dreams.
Last week we talked about our Mentors, those Villagers who share their wisdom, their experience, and their knowledge to help us grow smarter, work more creatively, and try new things.
This week we’re talking about the Villagers who have a difficult job, perhaps the most difficult job. These are the people who share the page (or canvas or song sheet) with us – who edit, critique, give feedback, let us justify, offer suggestions. These are our EDITORS. And we love them. Really, we do!
To many, the word “editor” conjures an image of people holed up in a major publishing house, a stack of red pens beside them as they gleefully slash at our work. Odds are, there are few people (any?) like that. The Editors in our Village are those with whom we trust our “baby.” They know how hard we’ve worked, they know our dreams and the roadblocks we’ve encountered. And they want to help us while in the trickiest position of all – critiquing our work.
I’ve been blessed with wonderful Editors – people who want to see me succeed and are doing their best to help me along the way. Some of my Editors have a list of publications to their name. Others have paths that mirror mine. Some focus on fiction, others write poetry, screenplays, nonfiction. And some don’t write at all – they just love to read.
My Editor-in-Chief is Sharon Hinck. When I realized I needed a professional to pick through my work, I was thrilled to discover Sharon only a short drive away right here in the Metro area. With numerous books and countless devotions to her name, Sharon was surprised to discover how much she enjoyed editing other people’s work – and how good she was at it. Her gentle guidance has not only made me a better writer, but a more informed one as well. I’ve used many of her techniques when I’ve had the privilege of being asked to critique the work of my fellow sojourners. Thanks, Sharon.
My first critique group came about from meeting Ann at a writing class. Her group kindly invited me into their monthly meetings where I’ve been supported, encouraged, and cared about on so many levels. Thanks, Ann, Barb, Zenith and Sharon R.
Over the airwaves, so to speak, I connected with a gal from Washington state and another from Australia. We formed a critique group that meets across oceans and time zones where we’ve learned a bit about how other cultures think (and write). It’s been fun and fascinating. Thanks, Suzie and Narelle.
Closer to home, I’ve been fortunate to be part of a group that meets monthly for a writing retreat. We get to spend some hours writing, then share lunch and catch up on personal news before doing a group critique. These are amazing, gifted writers, many of whom are already published or just on the brink. Thanks, Sharon, Brenda, John, Carol, Michelle and Chawna.
I love small groups. For me, they’re an awesome way to connect with people you might otherwise never get to meet, and do some life together. The Fiction Writers at Church of the Open Door has been a fabulous place to learn, grow, and share the journey together. Meeting twice a month, we’ve learned the art of critiquing, shared joys and concerns over writing and life in general, spent time in prayer together, and grown as writers and friends. Thanks, Karen, Nina, Kathy, Mary, Steve, Julie, Doug, Dan, Noah, Jeff and Wendy.
And of course there’s the amazing group called MN-NICE. The first thing every new writer should do is find a group of writers to join. MN-NICE has members who are multi-published and award-winning, and members who are in the early stages of learning to write. I’ve learned from every single one of them. There’s nothing like being with your peeps. Thanks, MN-NICE peeps!
I hope you’ve been blessed with people in your Village who will stand beside you and be strong enough to point out the good and the bad, what’s working and what isn’t – with the sole purpose of making you a better artist.
Who are your Editors? How have they helped you?