In honor of Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month, I wanted to focus on the kind of writing and editing I do. One of my skills, and passions, is seeing potential in people. When I listen to others and their stories, even if they’re complaining, I can also hear the underlying benefit for others in their message. They may utter a phrase or talk about a problem that causes me to think, “That’s the title of your book,” or “When you figure that out, you’ll be able to help others going through what you’re struggling with now.”
If you rate the pain you experienced by the worst thing that ever happened to you from zero to 100, understand that there is an equal amount of positive effects you have yet to uncover. Just as coal, with heat and pressure, can transform into a diamond, so can people, with heat and pressure, transform into better versions of themselves. In my Mental Freedom process, we dive into tragedy and hardship to discover the GLOW: the inevitable gifts, lessons, opportunities and wisdom that result from trauma in our lives. As long as you hold the belief that the negative outweighs the positive, it is likely you will hold yourself hostage, a consequential victim, to your pain and circumstances. However, when you do the work and uncover the positive balance resulting from what happened to you, then you can be freed from the pain and cross over the line to something so much better.
When that happens, at least one of your opportunities is to help illuminate the path for others who are in a similar situation, and writing a book is a great way to do that. You can also go on the speaking circuit if that is something you aspire to do. There are many people who do both.
How can you “be kind” to writers and editors?
General consumers can be kind to writers and editors by:
- Buying their books.
- Reviewing their books on Amazon or Goodreads.
- Sending a note to let them know how much you appreciate their work.
- Recommending their work to others.
Here are more ways to be kind to writers specifically:
- Set up a book signing in your area.
- Invite the writer, virtually or in person, to your book club for a guest appearance.
- Recommend them for speaking engagements when their book or voice is appropriate.
- Ask your local bookstores or libraries to carry the writers you like.
As an editor, be kind to your writers by:
- Honoring their deadlines.
- Being clear about the type of editing you’re doing.
- Committing to the subjects and writers you find a pleasure to edit.
- Honoring their voice and content.
- Sending them a thank you note for trusting you with their books.
As a writer, be kind to your editors by:
- Editing your own work first.
- Asking someone else to proofread.
- Being clear about the type of editing you want them to do.
- Honoring their deadlines.
- Allowing them to do their job without interference.
- Sending them a thank you note for improving the quality of your writing.
As a writer, I would like to pay tribute to my writing tribe. I have several writers I consider mentors, even though we have never met; Brené Brown (I did meet) and Marci Shimoff (she has helped me even though we never met) are at the top of my list. I have colleague writers who help me improve each time by providing advice, and often peer review, for me. And I have my own tribe of writers that grant me the honor of mentoring them through the process of writing their books. I feel like the consummate matchmaker by transforming a person’s pain into their purpose and then matching their book about their purpose to their eventual audience. It is one of the many joys of my life.
As an editor, I want to thank all the writers who have entrusted me with their babies. (Yes, if you’ve ever written a book, you understand the analogy to a baby completely.) I do not step into the role of editor often but, when I do, I am appreciative for the experience.
And finally, as a writer, I want to thank my two editors. I used to use a professional editor, Despina Gurlides, and she was fabulous. Despina edited my first two books, Leveraging Diversity at Work and Secrets of Happy Couples. Then, when it came time for editing my third book, Choosing Me Now, my wonderful, talented niece had recently graduated from college with a professional writing degree and was looking for work. I asked if she’d be interested in editing my book and she jumped at the chance. I haven’t looked back ever since. She is now an experienced, fantastic, professional editor and edits just about everything I write, including this blog. I will always be forever grateful for the style she brings to the things I want to say. Thank you, Veronica.
See? Like that.