Last week, I got the editorial letter for my book, Roadmap to Holland. In it, my editor made suggestions like, “There seems to be a line of dialog missing here” (yes) or “Why are you spending three pages discussing nutritional therapy? Is this an issue that deserves an in-depth look?” (yes). She also asked larger questions of me, things like, Did I feel the ending was rushed (yes), and was there more to tell about a particular incident? (Again, yes).

About the same time that I got my edits back, I received an email from a fellow mama-writer, asking me to look at an essay of hers. I loved what she’d done; in fact, I worked on her essay even before I began tackling my own revisions. And as I worked, I was keenly aware of one thing: how hard it is to write, and how much we open ourselves up when we do. Any word, even a kind one, can seem overwhelming, when the writing is still new and close to your heart. But if we want to make the stories as strong as they can be, if we want to make the writing as clear as glass, then we revise.

So back to the words I go, as I encouraged the other mama-writer to do, too. I think that’s the mark of a professional writer: more than publication credits, more than the number of bylines, more than any amount of fame, it’s the willingness to push up your sleeves and go to work.


9 thoughts on “Editing

  1. And we all know you are not afraid of hard work. This is just one of the many things I do so admire about you, and try to remember myself in my own process. Roll up the sleeves, get to work. You’ll be fine!

  2. You’re right. It is really hard work, much harder than when I was a student and barely cared. Back then I could poop something out last minute and slide by. Of course, I read that stuff now and realize that poop is a pretty appropriate word for it.

    I can’t wait to got all your thoughts on it and roll up my sleeves. I do so appreciate your help!

  3. Jennifer, I couldn’t agree with you more! I am not a professional writer, but a writer none the less. I think anyone who feels the need to express themselves by writing down words, is indeed a writer! Of course, we all know there are those, like yourself, with an inate ability to turn the words into a sort of orchestra, that just flows like a melody. And then there are writer’s like myself, who just can’t get the words out fast enough, then after re-reading what I wrote, think, “that sort of sucks.”…I did major in English, and grew up telling everyone I knew that I was going to be an “Interviewer”. I did become Editor of my College Newspaper, (mainly to get a scholarship ), and did go on to work at the Sun Sentinel Newspaper her in South Florida then on to NEW TIMES an Alternative FREE Newspaper. I even went on to Start my own Magazine for which I put out 2 High Glossy Issues, (Maybe I’ll mail you the copies some day). But, I realized I didn’t have the stamina or True drive required to continue this project at the age of 26!

    So…I relate to what you say, completley and fully. I have the journals and binders full of poems and songs and thoughts. A full length story, I have never been able to finish, because my ideas are shorter so I admire you, for writing so eloquently, and for engaging me, a fellow writer/reader. I always look forward to reading what you write, because your essence comes through loud and clear, and you are truly someone I would, if I knew more personally, call a friend!

  4. Jennifer,
    This is lovely, so well said. One of my favorite things about your writing is that it is “clear as glass.” I can’t wait to read the book…

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