Wednesday, Feb 04, 2009

The Teachable Writer

Dear Power Writer, 

One of the major reasons for writing failure is a proud spirit. What do I mean? I mean the kind of writer who refuses to learn from editors or other writers. 

The story is told of an editor who once received a cover letter in which the writer warned that if the editor did not accept her article, he would be struck by lightning. Why? Because God had given her the article verbatim. 

Well, unruffled, the editor replied that if God had given this writer her article verbatim, then God’s writing had certainly deteriorated since He wrote the Psalms. 🙂

The wise writer will realize that editors are her friends, and that an editor’s goal is to make the writer look good. When an editor makes a correction to your work, pay attention. I’ve found that editors are almost always right. 

Of course, occasionally an editor may overstep editorial boundaries by changing the substance of your piece. But this is rare and has happened to me only once in my entire writing career. 

On the whole, an editor is your best writing friend. So pay attention to what your editor says. Remember that humility will keep us from humiliation and that pride comes before a fall.




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One thought on “The Teachable Writer

  1. You are absolutely right, Mary Ann! And we need to remember that if an editor suggests a change that stifles our voice, they are also willing to work with us. No editor that I know wants to change an author’s voice.

    February 7, 2009 at 1:44 PM