Something I consistently hear as a book coach and manuscript editor is, “Tell me the honest truth. Don’t worry about my feelings.”
But here’s the thing… As your book coach and manuscript editor, I can do both.
Truth be told, I should do both. It’s not even close to being an impossible task. And it’s a very necessary thing for any book coach or manuscript editor to combine if she actually cares about you as a person, much less as a writer.
A professional resource should always approach your writing with the understanding that it’s your writing. You’re the one who thought it up. You’re the one who turned it from an idea into readable copy, who is turning it into readable copy, or who is preparing to turn it into readable copy.
Not your book coach. Not your manuscript editor.
A few years ago, there was an idea circulating that each of us owes society for our intellectual and physical property. This was based on the very true premise that not a single one of us exists in a vacuum.
To some degree or another, we all rely on other beings for our survival and abilities.
Again, that basis is irrefutable. We never would have made it to the point where we can write a book without our parents or guardians looking out for us, without teachers giving us worthwhile instructions on how to make sense of letters and words, and without other mentors out there offering productive models to follow.
Moreover, all of us have relied, do rely or will someday rely on outside sources of inspiration for our story ideas. That might be through someone else’s art, research or experiences. Or it might be from our own interactions with others.
In addition, from a legal and moral perspective, it’s important to give credit where credit is reasonably due.
But it’s also important to own your work. Because when you own it, you’re far less likely to let someone else push you around intellectually speaking or pander to you in an emotional sense. Which brings us right back to being truthful and respectful at the same time.
Yes, your book coach or manuscript editor should be honest with you. She shouldn’t be telling you that you’ve written the next great piece of laudable literature when you have a complete mess on your hands – which, newsflash, you might.
Writing out a whole book’s worth of smooth sentence structures and engaging ideas is a process that requires a whole lot of perspective. That is, after all, why you’re seeking out professional writing help.
But here’s something that society doesn’t always understand: There’s a way to respect the facts and express opinions while still being respectful of other’s feelings.
So yes, as your book coach or editor, I will tell you if your novel-in-the-making doesn’t make sense in parts. It’s just that I’m also going to tell you where it really grabbed my attention in all the right ways.
I’ll inform you where your nonfiction work-in-process needs more explanation or backing or logical layout. Yet I’ll also point out the spots that blew me away.
And, if you’re just starting out the writing process, I’ll most definitely give you feedback as you develop chapter after chapter. But I’m also going to encourage you to keep writing because you’re doing a great job of getting your rough draft down on paper.
That’s what you should always seek out in a book coach or editor, no matter who you ultimately go with.
You deserve that level of honesty. And you also deserve that level of consideration.
Not just because it’s your hard work we’re talking about. Nor is it only because it’s your money at stake.
It’s because you’re a writer looking to expand your possibilities and potential. Which is a kind of person well-deserving of respect.