I’m not a real editor. I can pick out a few things, but wow, I give huge credit to those who edit professionally.
I’ve been told that writing a book is hard and after you’re done, you’re barely coherent and so sick to death of your own voice that you can’t see straight (I would not know). Sometimes you need someone to say you’re not crazy and your ideas are not crazy. I also know this friend and her writing very well. I was inconsistent, ruthless and I wrote all over her drafts. I did it in pink ink though, well, because is just nicer than red.
Despite helping her edit, you will find copious amounts of mistakes in my own work. Those of you who write, know that editing your own work is one of the hardest things to do. We are so emotionally attached, it’s sickening. It’s like Fatal Attraction. Sure, we can rip through other writer’s work without a hint of remorse, but when it comes to our own…deep breath in, deep breath out.
What I appreciated most about my friend is that she’s teachable. She received my edits with graciousness. She didn’t have to. She could have said, What do you know, you little twerp?! This is her fourth book. She led a writer’s group that I was apart of for a few years. She is my Jedi Master of action. She actually writes, as opposed to myself. I think about writing. After years of procrastination and some measly publishing credits here and there, I’m just now getting to work. She trusted me enough to hand over her guts on paper. She wasn’t afraid to seek a new perspective.
I love people who are teachable. I strive for this quality in myself. I have little patience for those who have all the answers, lecture with no breath between sentences, give advice but never take advice, never share their own struggles, never shut up, think they’re the authority on everything, judge from afar, and…you get the idea.
I realized I may be one of those people, but in a different way. I prefer passive aggression.
I’m selectively teachable.
I’m teachable to a point. I’m teachable with the people who like me and I like them. With people I don’t like, I’m prideful, regardless of whether or not their advice is helpful. I’m sneaky and I tend to seethe with pent up…ickyness, for lack of a better word. And regarding unsolicited advice? Oh, please don’t hurt me.
I know. And I call myself a writer? I need to accept the good with the bad, when it’s painful and when it’s life-breathing. Receiving criticism well, knowing when to take it or leave it, should be an entire college course in itself.
I have to cowgirl up or my own growth will die.
We all have areas where we need to be teachable. What are yours?
**Being teachable and criticism go together like peas and carrots. To learn more about them from writers who are much better at what they do than I am, check out 10 Tips for Dealing with Online Criticism by Rachel Held Evans and There Will be Haters byJeff Goins. These articles are for dealing with online criticism but I think there is so much to pull from and apply to all areas of life.
***These links will take you to their websites but from there, you will have to search for the article by name. I’m sorry about that. I’ve not yet learned how to link directly to an article. This is a one woman show–very low overhead.