As an editor, I work with writers – and as a writer, I work with editors, too. I get to see and experience both sides of the equation, and I know from personal experience both that it’s hard to find a good editor and it’s hard to be one.
So I enjoyed this reflection on what working with a good editor taught one writer about Jesus:
For all that I thought I was being forthright and honest in my writing, Rich could see what I couldn’t, that I was holding back. As he read my second draft on Sunday evening, he asked me in a conversation over Facebook, “Are you afraid of writing about emotion? I feel like you stripped out a lot of the emotional language here.” I was taken aback, thought for a moment, and then replied that yes, maybe I was. “I think I’m afraid of being seen as naive, ignorant, and a radical feminist extremist,” I told him.
“Just Tell The Truth”, he said. “The whole point is to show how this junk affects people.”
Something in me broke open that I didn’t even realize I’d been holding back. Tears started to fall from my eyes, and through them I wrote, “Even if that truth is ‘I’m afraid no one will take me seriously because I’m a woman writing about women and that I fear admitting that will make people dismiss me as weak?’”
“Yes, absolutely,” he said. “Here’s the thing. That’s the meta-truth. But there’s truth other than that. That’s the other truth. You’ve got to allow yourself to have something to say. Otherwise this is pointless.”