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Growing as a Writer - Becoming an Editor

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

One of the new jobs I have taken on is that of an editor for an online magazine, Metapsychosis. This is the publishing arm of Infinite Conversations, the site in which I have invested considerable time and effort over the past several years, in reading groups and writing groups. Note also that my novels will be published by Untimely Books, which is the book length imprimatur of Metapsychosis. Note that although there may technically be a conflict of interest there, I have done my best to have my novels vetted by a range of individuals, many of them not associated with Metapsychosis, and Untimely Books is in any case a cooperative venture, it seeks to publish manuscripts developed by its own members.

I consider that taking on editorial responsibilities is one of the ways that one can grow as a writer. Indeed, I find it a challenge. I was reticent to take this on, as I wasn't convinced I would make a good editor for a long time. I didn't believe I had a good handle on my own editing process, that is, the process of revising my books to get them ready for publication. This latter, however, has changed over the past months as I have become involved in a range of creative writing activities and engaged with a broader community in this area. Hence, my experience with the Clarion West Write-a-thon this summer (see earlier post) led me to develop some experience critiquing the writings of others, as well as a broader experience having my own work critiqued. Also, even with the other editors of Metapsychosis, as I started to articulate why I liked or didn't like particular pieces submitted, I learned that when I am in doubt, usually so is everyone else. It is through the discussion that a clear idea of how to proceed emerges. So I feel less unsure about my own sense of what good writing is, and hence more engaged in the process of assessing the writing of others and giving feedback.

This is not unlike the learning that I went through in writing grants. Sitting on evaluation committees for grants gave me tremendous insight into what a winning grant looks like, and this was folded back into my own grant-writing process. Assessing the work of writers with a view towards publication is serving the same kind of role for my writing, although the process is actually substantively more demanding than was the process of grant writing!

For Metapsychosis, it was also decided that we editors would post individual blogs to showcase who we are and what we are looking for in contributions. I also found the effort to identify what I like useful and also to identify my own sources of inspiration. That might make a good blog posting here, for me to talk about in more detail which writers have influenced me.

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