What the editor said…

letters-1500992_1280The only “editors” I’ve ever worked with are college professors and Tim.

But in spite of all of the heart and mind prep I’ve done and all of the advice and cautions I’ve read, I knew there’d come a day. A day when I’d have to let go, open up, and be truly willing to learn and revise and improve. There would be a day when I would work with a professional editor on a project that I couldn’t do alone.

Last Tuesday was it. “Here you go, Andi. What do you think?”

When I got her email Friday, I sat down. I prayed that I would be a professional and a grown-up. And then I clicked it open with one eye closed.

I read as slowly as I could. I wasn’t sure what to expect. But my head knew that there would be a lot to process, even though my heart hoped for flowers and applause. This is a reasonably accurate transcript of my initial response.

Oh, how sweet. Thanks so much…
Okay, sure, I see that …
Really? …
Ouch …
I don’t see that …
What do you mean? …
Ouch!! …

How do I do that? …
(etc. etc.) …

Oh, okay, well thanks, I guess.

You get the picture.

It wasn’t flowers and applause, but it wasn’t a steamroller. In fact, I’ll bet it was very much like a lot of other comments written by a lot of other really good and honest and kind editors.

But it was my first one. So, a little bit of ouch. (Okay, maybe more than I want to admit.)

And then I remembered praying for the professional and grown-up approach. So I wrote back quickly, promising to ponder and reread and get back to her.

Which I did just this morning. I’d read her comments and advice several times. I’d read the work of suggested writers and then reread what I had submitted. I prayed again. And I wrote an honest reply, with a few questions, a few explanations, and probably a little bit of whining. And…

Good golly, Miss Molly, she answered right away.

You know what? Those Ouches and Really?’s and What does that mean?’s were a bit premature. My own tendency to pile on and assume the worst and return to “not good enough” turned her honest comments into more slice-and-dice than she ever meant.

Her thoughtful and expert intentions were clear – just not to me.

Not to the one who either doubts herself into surrender or blurts stuff out without thinking. Not to the one who can’t find the balance.

But, believe it or not, this was a good day. Because instead of stewing in the dark mess I had conjured up for myself, I didn’t wait or hesitate or dawdle about looking for some reason not to put words to my feelings. I didn’t let the fear of hearing “the truth” keep me from being a grown-up and facing the editorial process with faith. And a little bit of confidence.

The truth is that I really do trust Andi. And the truth is I can’t do this by myself.

Even if I think flowers and applause are in my future.

So, stay tuned for project updates. Right now, it’s just an alphabetical dream. But I’m hoping soon I can give you all a taste of gratitude – seasoned with my personal spice and stirred by, who else, but my editor, Andi.


What the editor said… the very first time. Click to Tweet.


  1. I am not looking forward to that process Nancy. Kudos to you for jumping in. I do have some beta readers who are English teachers etc, but don’t have an editor yet. How did you find Andi?


    1. I had a chance to go to Festival of Faith and Writers in Michigan last April – Andi Cumbo-Floyd was there on a panel and also in the audience when I made a comment in another session. We connected and since then, she has been working with me both officially and casually. She’s great to work with… Her website is Andilit.com. (If you didn’t get the message already, she gave me one of her e-books to give away on my site. If you comment on the next post “What we remember best” you have a chance to win. I posted it on my FB page just a few minutes ago.)
      And thanks for your comments… I love hearing from you and reading your work, too…xoxox


  2. Thank you for being so open about your evolution, Nancy. I am not a writer but can certainly appreciate you sharing your vulnerability in this process. I admire your bravery! And I always look forward to reading more…….


  3. Showing anyone what you create is terrifying. Giving them the job of telling you about what you created is even harder. It’s weirdly intimate, can definitely make you cringe, but it can also be such a relief or the start of something better. You’re being strong, courageous and smart. Xoxo


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