Building Writing Communities

Building Writing Communities

I’m building new communities of people and relationships with others to support people in their creative ventures. I'm also thinking about how to have more joy in writing. What might shift for us as writers and people if we looked for those moments in which writing feels joyful and creative? What if we allowed struggle and joy to overlap? Struggle and joy in the creative process might be better thought of as a both/and than an either/or.

Good Questions: How Do I Know When I Need an Editor?

If you haven’t been reading my blog regularly, you might have missed announcements about the new Twitter chat that I co-host with fellow editor Katie Rose Guest Pryal. We launched this chat to make writing more social and to see if we could find the answers to life’s persistent writing questions.

During the last #EditQs chat, friend and PhD career coach Jen Polk asked a great question:

Her question got me thinking about at what point in the writing process people tend to seek out the help of an editor. Most of the time, people start reaching out for editing help towards the end of the writing process to iron out style issues. Many times people hear the word editing and think of putting the finishing touches on a piece of writing. Sometimes people use the word editing when they really mean final proofreading for typos.

Editors do all of these things.

Some editors do more: they do what’s known as substantive editing or developmental editing.

As I told Jen, anyone can benefit from working with an editor on anything at any time:

Developmental editors help writers to develop their ideas, build structure, and organize their writing. This kind of editing usually takes place during the early stages of the writing process, when the writing is messy and the writer's ideas look more like an amorphous blob. Developmental editing often overlaps with mentoring or writing coaching. Editors who work with writers in the early stages coach writers and ask them questions to clarify issues of purpose, meaning, and audience.

I think it is important to mention that developmental editors don’t write their clients’ stuff for them; they are not ghostwriters. Developmenta leditors work to guide writers towards greater clarity and organization. This kind of editing usually involves substantial reorganization and restructuring of pieces of an existing manuscript (or article, book, etc.).


Does this mean you can bring an editor a pile of messy scribbles and say, "HELP!"?


If you've got a piece of writing, or some ideas, an editor can help you get your ideas under control and on to the page. Bring us your ideas. Bring us your thoughts. Bring us your scribbles. We can help.

P.S. We'll be co-hosting the #EditQs chat again on February 29th at 1pm EST. Got writing questions? We've (probably!) got answers.

[Photo: sunset, Boulder, Colorado, February 2015]



Presenting the #EditQs Twitter Chat!

#EditQs Chat answers YOUR writing.jpg

The marvelous Katie Rose Guest Pryal and I are launching a brand new Twitter chat this week! Using the hashtag #EditQs, we'll be answering YOUR writing questions on Thursday, January 14th at 1pm EST.

Never participated in a Twitter chat? It’s easy. Using your Twitter account (you’ve got one, right?), tweet us your question and be sure to include the hashtag #EditQs. We’ll answer as many questions as we can!

Want to learn more about why we’re doing this? Head over to Katie’s webpage to learn more about why we we thought that this kind of chat might help writers.


Why does anyone need another Twitter chat about writing?

There are lots of Twitter chats that deal with writing. Many focus on a particular topic or aspect of writing. There are chats about academic writing, chats about general writing, chats for editors, and chats for different kinds of writers. Lots of chats are focused on discussion and the exchange of ideas. Don’t get me wrong; these are great chats.

So what makes our chat different that other writing chats? We’re throwing caution to the wind and letting YOU pick what you want us to answer.  

We realized that there wasn’t a chat devoted to answering people’s writing questions in real time. As writing and editing people, we thought it would be useful (and fun!) to host a chat in which we answer YOUR questions. Sure, you could Google for the answers and writing tips, but we are more charming and fun.

Also, writing is way more fun when made social, so feel free to use our chat to network with people and schmooze some new writers!

What kinds of questions are you prepared to answer?

Katie and I both have different kinds of writing styles and experiences as writers, editors, and coaches. Some of the things that you might want to ask us include:

  • Citation (especially if it’s Chicago style)
  • Style guides
  • How to write an analytical topic sentence
  • If your main argument makes sense
  • How to do a lit review that doesn’t suck
  • Mysteries of developing your “voice” and style
  • How to properly use a semi-colon
  • The use of the singular “they”
  • How to organize your messy writing
  • Using a citation manager
  • Making a writing schedule and sticking to it
  • Bibliographies
  • Formatting
  • How to eliminate flabby writing, jargon, and omit unnecessary words
  • My opinions on fountain pens

Who are you people, anyways?

Learn more about Lisa and Katie!

See you Thursday!

[Photo: Bear Creek, Boulder, Colorado, 2015]