On working with an editor…

learn how to accept and adopt critique without letting it affect your confidence as an artist

Well, this topic is timely for discussion for me. I’m in the tail end of final revisions to my novel right now and have experienced working with different editors to get my novel ready for publication.

I first have to start by saying this: I am so very grateful for the editing process, for the time and care editors and beta readers have given in helping make my creations better. I used to be a writer who was really prickly about feedback. Any suggestions for change felt like veiled insults at my ideas or writing. I was way too sensitive over my work as a young writer!

But I worked to gain confidence in my voice and realized feedback is neither personal nor mandatory to accept. I allowed myself the chance to assess if the feedback can genuinely improve my writing. This allowed me the opportunity to begin to hear critiques, instead of just feeling them. I could then envision how I could, or wouldn’t, adopt what was being suggested. When thinking of working with editors in this way, I find that I still feel excited and in control of the creative process, there’s just more heads on the table!

To further de-tramatize the process of working with an editor, I also advise that it is helpful to realize good writing is often more a marathon, than a sprint. It’s not going to be a single lap and we’re done, let’s get it published! It’s going to take some work to get your writing the best it can be, and a good editor is a major asset. A good editor is like a great coach, believing in the mission, calling out the weak points, and praising what is going well. I’m so grateful for the constructive criticism that serves as guideposts to help me get to the finish line of the creative expression I’m striving to achieve. I feel so much gratitude for the skilled editors at SparkPress, because I can see that they are doing their best to make my novel a knock out. So, don’t be afraid of working with an editor, instead consider it a valuable chance to level up your writing in ways you might not have thought of on your own.

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Yodassa Williams is a powerful conjurer of black girl magic (70% Jedi, 30% Sith). A Jamaican American writer, speaker, and award winning performing storyteller, alumna of the VONA/Voices Travel Writing program and creator of the podcast ‘The Black Girl Magic Files’, Yodassa (Yoda) launched ‘Writers Emerging' in 2019, a wilderness writing retreat for women of color and non-binary people of color. In 2020, Yodassa's debut YA Fantasy, The Goddess Twins, will be published by Spark Press. She grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and currently resides in the Bay Area.

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