The long game

“I’m planning on writing a novel,” she told me. “But I have a bunch of ‘life’ things to sort out at the moment. I’ll be in touch in September about working together in the fall.”

“You can absolutely take your time,” I said. “But in my experience, booking an editor in September leads to pushing off your writing until January.”

Editors are wordsmiths, therapists, project managers, and creative coaches. One of the best ways we support writers is by helping to build accountability in a creative practice.

If you’re writing fiction, it’s not necessary to hire an editor until you have a manuscript, unless you need help sorting out pacing or plot. But hiring an editor at this early stage can be the investment you need to actually start—and finish—your manuscript.

Procrastination is very real in a creative practice, alongside its twin: perfectionism. A monthly call with an editor can help you build accountability in your creative practice as you hit deadlines and work through common writing problems. It can also be plain enjoyable to talk about your work in a safe space at this early stage.

Writing books is about playing the long game. Cultivating a relationship with a supportive editor can help you build a creative practice that’s more of a leisurely walk toward your goal rather than a series of exhausting sprints.

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