Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Successful Writer: An Editor's Perspective

Source: carpediem

As a freelance editor and writing teacher, I’ve enjoyed working with all sorts of writers on all sorts of projects. Over the years, I’ve discovered there are four basic types of writers—and I’ve realized that at various times during my nearly twenty years of writing and publishing, I’ve fit into each of these four categories myself.

Which type of writer are you?

·         The One-and-Done: This writer revels in the draft, which she pursues with abandon, forsaking sleep, food, and family for the pleasures of freewheeling through her story, spilling words onto the page. Forget mere books—she writes epics, logging thousands of words in each writing session. All year long, she looks forward to NaNoWriMo, when she throws herself into the challenge of drafting an entire novel in thirty days. The One-and-Done is speedy, determined, productive, and wildly imaginative. She has no problem finishing her draft, but in the glow of her accomplishment, she’s prone to releasing her work too soon—and suffering disappointment when it isn’t well-received.
·         The Winchester: Remember the Winchester heiress who feared she’d die if she ever quit adding onto her mansion? Some writers suffer from a variation on this malady, writing on and on but never completing a project. Not uncommonly, these writers tend to share a subconscious fear of finishing, which inevitably invites judgment. In other cases, the author just isn’t sure how to finish, and so she keeps on writing and writing and writing and writing…
·         The Wheel-Spinner: This writer paces nicely through a project. When she hits a rough patch, she finds her way through to the finish, wisely seeking help wherever it’s needed. Recognizing the difference between a draft and a marketable book, she seeks advice on how to improve her project, then rolls up her writerly sleeves and attempts revision. But somewhere along the way, she gets stuck. She knows change is needed, but the means to accomplish it alludes her. Her wheels spin and spin, rutting her road to completion.
·         The Sequoia: This writer is strong and productive, but she started out like all other writers, as one tiny voice in a big literary forest. Hardy and adaptable, she learns, grows, and perseveres through the years. Criticism that makes others wither only strengthens her resolve. She stands tall yet acknowledges her dependence on a vital ecosystem of fellow writers, devoted readers, and insightful editors. She’s seen lean seasons and full ones, but by the time she’s old, you could drive right through her middle and she’d continue to thrive.

As a freelance editor, Deb Vanasse enjoys helping all types of writers. Co-founder of 49 Writers and founder of the independent authors cooperative Running Fox Books, she has also authored sixteen books. Her most recent are Write Your Best Book, a practical guide to writing books that rise above the rest; What Every Author Should Know, a comprehensive guide to book publishing and promotion; and Cold Spell, a novel that “captures the harsh beauty of the terrain as well as the strain of self-doubt and complicated family bonds,” according to Booklist. Her next book, Wealth Woman: Kate Carmack and the Klondike Race for Gold, comes out in April, 2016.