YYAAAAAYY!!! *twirly dance twirly dance twirly dance* It is SO AWESOME to be working with an editor! I love it!
So I've started volunteering for VoiceCatcher, which so far has been a great experience. I've agreed to interview past contributors to the journal--both artists
and writers--and write one article per month for the blog based on those
interviews. One interview/article per contributor.
My first assignment was to interview and write about Willa Schneberg, who is an amazing person and whose website you really need to check out. Anyway, when I was done with the initial draft of the article on her, it ended up being a little over 1600 words--eek! Obviously too long, but I didn't know what to cut out. Everything I'd written seemed important to me. If I were on my own, I would've had to set it aside for a while or make random guesses about what other people might find less compelling than other bits.
But I didn't have to do that because the President of the Board, Carolyn Martin, agreed to work with me to edit the article. I told her what was important to me to keep and what I was trying to do with it, and she told me which parts she really liked (very important) and made some suggestions about what paragraphs I might cut, how to rephrase parts to make the article more succinct, and copy edits. We passed it back and forth a few times over a couple of days, and eventually we agreed that it was done. After she'd reminded me a few times to put a title on it, that is.
What I really liked about working with Carolyn is that it took a lot of pressure off. Of course I put a lot of effort into that first draft, but I didn't feel like it had to be perfect either. I loved that I didn't have to guess at how someone else might read the article: she provided that outside perspective. I liked that I got to retain autonomy (I got the final say in what stayed/went) but at the same time had someone else partnering with me on the piece. Someone who respected my vision for it and could bring a fresh perspective because they weren't so close. Someone who could suggest different approaches in service of my vision.
I don't know yet whether the work I'm doing with Carolyn will translate into my being able to look at my other writing differently, but it's happened that way in the past, so I have reason to be hopeful.