The New York Times recently profiled book editor Judith Gurewich. In addition to being the publisher of Other Press, Gurewich is a Lacanian analyst. Perhaps because she was trained in an aural tradition—listening to patients, asking questions—Gurewich employs a unique method for editing books: she has authors read their manuscripts aloud.
“When my stomach intervenes, I stop the reading,” Gurewich says.
Not her ear, her stomach.
A skill I’ve developed is how to trust my gut when editing. My mentor advised me to drop into the manuscript with my whole self—not just my head, but my heart and stomach, too. I found it difficult as I didn’t want to “give myself over” to the manuscript—I wanted to remain in control, in my head. But when I got out of the way, my editing became stronger and more direct.
When your work feels truest to you and your intention, are you writing with your head or your gut? Do you write with your gut and edit with your head, or vice versa?