Dear Editors: co-creation

Dear Editors,

I’ve been working on my first book for about four years. Tracking Giants: Big Trees, Tiny Triumphs, and Misadventures in the Forest is coming from Greystone Books in spring 2023. It’s a travel memoir of learning to search for big trees in my home province of British Columbia, Canada.

My editor sent the manuscript to copyedit last week.

Cue balloons dropping from the ceiling!

Cue imposter syndrome!

For a long time, I didn’t think I would be able to finish this project. I was writing amidst the pressures of a day job and the creative black hole of the pandemic, and I had a lot of personal upheaval too—namely moving from the city to a small island.

When we’re supporting writers in creating their books, it can be difficult to make space in our lives for our creative pursuits. I took a few months off so I could focus on my writing, and that helped a bunch.

But the main impediment to progress was my belief that I wasn’t really a writer, despite constantly writing in my work as an editor.

Over dinner the other night, friends asked me how I’m feeling about my book. I shrugged. I know too much about publishing, so I am managing expectations. I set out to write a funny, light read that’s about the benefits of smaller pursuits, so I really have no idea. In this, I am trusting my editor. Books are never really done, until they are. If my editor thinks my manuscript is ready to go to copyedit, I’m game. She has been a trusted co-creator from the start.

My approach to writing and editing is one of co-creation. It’s a more generative and less controlling approach. Walking the creative path with trusted companions is a lot more rewarding than walking it alone, don’t you think? There’s always someone to share the load.

Yours,
AL

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