Be a detective, not a judge

Be a detective, not a judge

On the surface, so much of an editor’s job appears to be the practice of “getting it right.” But really, what we do is guide the writer in their practice of not knowing. Committing to not having the answers can bring you somewhere new. Asking questions can be more generative, allowing reflection and growth.

Working with an editor allows you to ask questions in answer to questions, to paraphrase Lynda Barry (explored in Felicia Rose Chavez’s wonderful book The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop).

You do not need to go it alone as a writer. Creativity does not emerge fully formed; it grows in relationship, in community, in shared decision-making. Writing is an interdependent act. A spirit of co-creation infuses every book. By pausing and reflecting, you can go even farther…you can experience not a leaping but a loving.

Me crossing a stream in Olympic National Park, Washington.
Credit: Colin Goldblatt.

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