Creative and Memoir Writing: The Right Editor or Coach, Part 1 September 7, 2022

Carol Brennan King teaching for the Abington Community Library in Clarks Summit, PA.

We have talked about many aspects of writing, from how to get into our story to how to finish it this last year. But once you have written The End, then what? That was my position at the end of the summer when I wrote The End at the end of my work of historical fiction.

Unfortunately, writing the book or story is just the beginning. A t the front end of your writing career it is useful to have a Coach, and at the end of the writing, you need to have an Editor. Or in reality, many editors.

I have a coach, and she really helped me finish my book by requiring me to turn in weekly goals – like I will write four days this week for at least 90 minutes a session. That worked for me because I am retired, so my time is more open than it is for a lot of people. But regardless of your situation, I do believe, you are more likely to achieve your writing goals if you schedule the time and place where you will work on your project.

Then at the end of the week, she required us to turn in weekly accountability reports.

Here is what that looked for me in May:

Goals and accountability  May 15-20

This last week was a very bad week. I injured myself the previous week at PT and ended up back at the orthopedist. They recognized the new back injury (strained back muscles on the left side), prescribed more PT, prednisone for inflammation and a muscle relaxer.

  1. Meanwhile, I got nothing done with my book. Amazing how pain is counter-creative thinking.
  2. I did get to Madhushree Ghosh’s book!!! An amazing work, and one I will talk about in my own classes that are supposed to start in June. I think it is a good example of an unusual structure and one that worked well here. I have not finished it and hope to in the next couple of days.
  3. I did work on making class notes out of the various promotions from other classes I have taken. I think I am ready for the nine-week class I teach that starts the first Wednesday in June.
  4. I did get a new short piece of creative writing (poems) every night. I may post some here this week.

New Goals for May 23-28

  1. Establish a new work routine around PT Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I am a morning person and losing most of my morning going to PT, the hour of PT and recovering from it, and making our big meal, which is our noon meal, had thoroughly messed me up. So, a new routine is a must.
  2. I will finish Ghosh’s book and write a response to it, so I don’t forget what I thought about it…!!!
  3. I hope to get back to the editing of my book – table of contents, etc.

I also invited two people to call me on Mondays to check up on how I was doing. These accountability partners don’t have to be writers or any other kind of professional. They just have to want to be a part of your team.

So that’s what a coach does in a nutshell. They do more, things like providing resources for you and guiding you, but for me, the biggest help was in the area of accountability. If you want to know more, google Leigh Shulman – coach and you will find more about my coaching experience.

Then, as a writer, you will need editors of many different kinds. We will talk more about that in my next post. But for today, let’s talk about editors. If you need someone who will give you lots of feedback and very specific feedback on your manuscript, you need an editor.

Coaches get you going, but editors make sure that what you are writing is marketable. Either way, the following questions can help you determine the right person for what you need.

For more specifics on the subject google https://goldenmay editing.com/how-to-hire-the-right-editor or click on the title of the article below

  1. First, you need to determine your goals as a writer and what type of specific help you need. And you must have an idea of what a good edit looks like.
  2. But how do you know if an editor is right for you? You must find out if this person works in your genre: think fiction/ nonfiction. Then think: mystery, romance, horror, historical fiction, etc. Do they work with your age group? Ask them about their editing process. Ask what their qualifications are and reading a lot is not sufficient. Ask about what their turnaround time is. They may be a great editor but if you need your manuscript back in a week, and they can’t do it in a month, you need someone else. Then ask for referrals or the names of people they have worked with before and who would be willing to chat with you. And make sure they believe in and will support your vision. Finally, can you learn from them? This is important, and it has to do with personality. If they speak their mind without concern for how you will process it, it is hard to see this as successful.
  3. Once you have settled on an editor, before you sign on any dotted line, talk to them, and not just online. If they will not respond to your request for a phone call, see that as a red light.
  4. You should ask for a sample edit. This is normal in the business and you are not asking for anything unusual. Remember, time is money for you and for your potential editor…so maybe ask for a five-page edit. Then you will learn how they give feedback, and whether they focus on fixing your mistakes or teaching you how not to make them again. You will want to find out if this person is a good fit for you.
  5. Ask the potential coach or editor what services they supply so that you know whether they will meet your needs. And how they think they can help you. I turned down one coach because they talked about how much they could help me without ever seeing or appearing to want to see my work.
  6. Finally, talk about the hard stuff: money. Some editors work on price-per-word rate while others give hourly rates. Some Coaches have a monthly fee which can be lowered if you sign on for a year. Do get a dollars and cents quote before you agree to this partnership, especially before you sign any agreement.
  7. We talked earlier about turnaround time. Be sure you are clear on expectations for both yourself and your coach or editor.

For more, just click on the title below.

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