Shipped draft to my editor

Whew!

Even though my manuscript draft likely needs substantial developmental edits, it felt great to ship it out today.

About two weeks ago I got a strong impulse to find an editor. A couple of friends had volunteered to read the draft, but I realized after I had a few friends read the introduction the first time, that I really needed to have someone with experience to help me edit. I got great feedback, but it was not detailed enough to make decisions on the overall book.

About 15 years ago I finished the draft of my master’s thesis. It was only 40 pages, and it nearly killed me to write! I sometimes tell the story that it cost me my first marriage, my home and my job. But that’s probably an exaggeration. Just my marriage and my home then… 😉

This time around the book will likely be 110-130 pages. All in all, it’s a short book. But still, the number of decisions it takes to complete a project like this felt overwhelming to me. So I decided I would hire someone to professionally edit given that I am self publishing this time. Even if it costs me something, I want to spare my reader too much wandering from the main point.

So I posted a little ad on LinkedIn on September 10th for a freelance editor and in 2 hours I had 8 applications! Only two of the prospects actually read the posting carefully enough to see that I asked them to email me if they were interested. She reached out to ask about the budget and I told her I have no idea what I’m doing. But her quote (per word per round of editing) sounded very reasonable!

We decided on a small test project (an article for LinkedIn on the Shapes We Ask of Our Bodies) and I sent her $50 via Venmo for some accountability on that project. She gave me a wonderful edit and quick turnaround on that one. I was so happy, I Venmo’d about half of what I expected the next edit to cost me just to give myself the accountability to get it done by a week later.

So now my self-imposed deadline has been met. I expect I will also work with her on a second edit for line and copy editing and possibly a third for the proofread as well.

My relief is palpable. Nobody has read the entire thing, but I am confident that with her compassionate surgery on this project, it will turn out so much better.

Question to you: If you write books, do you work with an editor? Why or why not? And how did you find them?

Cheers,

Cristy

P.S. If you want to work with someone for an article or book edit, check out Kay Grey’s website. It may have been her amazing shot of her bookshelves that sold me… anyone that reads that much and has already improved my work is a great find. I just hope she doesn’t find the book-length project to be too scattered. I want to be worthy of the editor’s time!

Gathering energy for big projects

Lately I have had a stronger inclination to blog less often and work on a bigger project. I hesitate to write this here, because it feels a little raw and personal, but I have book aspirations. Some other part of me says, “don’t we all?” This community will understand, surely.

Ever since talking with a potential client about ghost-writing a book he wanted to work on, I started questioning what direction my writing will take me. I feel so fortunate to have worked for three different clients on a few writing and research projects in the past month.

succeed because I am crazy
Art found in one of our AirBnB‘s in Bemidji.

I can now claim an identity as a “professional writer” in getting paid to actually do this thing I love. It felt good to know that this daily blog practice has led to a portfolio of writing samples, several of which may have been instrumental to landing the contracts.

And now I find myself with stirrings toward working on a book idea. Titles come to me sometimes while I allow for quiet reflection. I turn stories around in my head to figure out how they might resonate, if I can find something of value in them. I think I may owe it to myself to figure out whether I can write something bigger and more substantial.

When I considered the idea of working for a client for a fairly low dollar figure to write his book, my response was: my time would be more valuable working on my own book! Then I thought: why not? I do have to earn some income, and I hope to keep a pipeline of projects going. But why not set aside the time, blog a little less often, and really invest in that bigger project?

Big projects feel daunting to me. I remember how hard it was to complete my master’s thesis, and that was only 40 pages long. Something deep within me beckons me to work on it though, to set aside regular time to turn my attention there.

I feel I have been distracting myself with little things, afraid of getting lost in one big project. At the same time, some “gear” clicked into place when I heard myself ponder the question, and I felt excited by the idea. So I have not totally committed yet, but I am imagining ways I could make it happen. I am considering how to block off daily and weekly time chunks for tapping that inner well and seeing what comes of it.

Do I have the endurance for that longer game? We will see. It seems a pity not to make the attempt.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com