Learning to Love the Editing Process
Some people fear public speaking more than death. I guess that makes me the outlier.
I’m a high school Spanish teacher by day. On the weekends and during the summer, I speak at conferences and events. I work with teachers to challenge how they think about education and to encourage them to incorporate technology in their classrooms.
I love seeing teachers get excited about new practices that they can use with their students. It means the ideas from my sessions are spreading farther than I could take them myself. The reach of my conference sessions is limited, though. I wanted to spread the ideas that motivate me to as many teachers as possible. So, I sought advice from a fellow teacher and presenter. His suggestion: write a book.
As a blogger, I write two new posts a week, so writing wasn’t my concern. It was the editing that made me uneasy. Earlier in my life, I worked as a newspaper reporter, and editing made me feel inferior. Plus, when the editing was complete, the article often didn’t even sound like something I would say or write. My writer’s voice had been neutralized.
I crafted my manuscript and handed it over to the publisher, hoping for the best but expecting the worst due to my previous editing struggles.
Our worst fears often aren’t anything like reality, and that was my experience. Erin Casey and her team at My Writer’s Connection provided content-development editing, as well as copy editing and proofreading. And, mercifully, and the process was very smooth and I ended up with an even better book. Here’s why:
- My voice stayed intact. My editor read my manuscript, learned about my tendencies as a writer, and helped to improve my writing while keeping it “my writing.”
- The overall structure of my book was strengthened. The contents of my book were organized, but that organization was still a bit sloppy. My editor saw the big-picture view of my book and helped to align everything sensibly.
- My opinions were valued throughout. In many traditional publishing settings, the editors and publishers dictate how the author’s work will ultimately look. I was given the freedom to accept or reject all changes, and I could ask for clarification or advice at any time.
The process wasn’t as daunting as I expected, and all our efforts were totally worth it. After two months of editing, revising and proofing, my book was ready to publish. It felt surreal when my book went live on Amazon. Finally holding it in my hands was a lifelong dream come true.
Many people have aspirations of writing a book and feel like they have a story or advice to share with the world. Does this sound like you? Your dream may not be as distant as you think. As technology and the publishing world continue to change, it becomes easier to spread ideas to the masses. A year ago, I didn’t think I had a chance at publishing a book; now a copy of it is sitting next to me on my desk. You’ll never know until you give it your best shot!
Leave a comment: What fears or concerns do you have about writing or publishing a book?[guestpost]Matt Miller is a teacher, blogger and presenter. He’s the author of Ditch That Textbook: Free Your Teaching and Revolutionize Your Classroom. Find him at DitchThatTextbook.com or on Twitter at @jmattmiller.[/guestpost]