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Y’all know me. I’m constantly scheming up new, fun things to start on my YouTube channel or on Twitter to encourage community and discussion! Usually, these initiatives are centered on the idea of LEARNING, and more often than not, these ideas are meant to spark bookish conversations.

I recently learned about #AuthorTube, a new community forming within the #BookTube community. How cool is that?! So many booktubers I’ve come to know and love want to be authors, and so this seems like a natural progression. On AuthorTube, you can find anything from writing vlogs and monthly goals/updates to advice on how to crush your writing dreams and improve storytelling techniques (plot/characterization/POV, et cetera).

As an editor, I’ve loved getting to know people in the publishing world through my Editor Talk videos, especially the independent authors, many of whom I’ve begun working alongside. Lately, I’ve been taking on more critique/developmental editing projects than I have in the past, and it’s pushed me to think creatively about the art of storytelling and all the different techniques authors have to master to ultimately create a story readers can connect to and love.

I’m constantly humbled by how much I continue to learn from fellow editors and authors! I started taking more classes and reviewing old resources that have sparked new and helpful conversations with authors, and I’m addicted to how this knowledge is serving and inspiring authors to tell their best stories. 

SO! I’ve decided it’s time to create tangible goals toward continued education. Because I’m an editor and I don’t feel the pull to become an author at this point in time, I’ve often gravitated toward editing books rather than writing books. But writing books have just as many—if not more—resources for my clients! And since I’ve made it my goal to help authors with their manuscripts or their WIPs, I’ve decided to read one book on writing a month to review and discuss on my YouTube channel. This new book club is called Writerly Reads! I probably won’t be choosing editing-specific books, since I read a lot of those anyway and I’m assuming mostly writers will be joining in, but I think writing-specific books will be just as valuable for editors and aspiring editors. I won’t stop creating editor-specific videos or reading about editor-specific topics, but we can’t help authors excel in their craft if we don’t learn the craft ourselves—regardless of whether we, as editors, plan to write books ourselves! I would love for you to join me. We can have #WriterlyReads discussions in many ways: through my YouTube channel, through yours (if you have one and want to review books with me), and through Twitter and Instagram chats by using #WriterlyReads.

HOW THIS WILL WORK: 
1.) I’ll announce the book at the beginning of every month, hopefully early enough so participants can check out the book at the library or find it/order it online.

2.) We’ll read the book and update/encourage one another through the #WriterlyReads hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.

3.) I’ll review the book either in a wrap-up or separate book review video.

4.) In my review video at the end of the month, I will include a date and time for a brief Twitter discussion. No worries if you can’t make it; these will be casual and you can always go back to read them later or respond earlier/later with your thoughts!

5.) I’ll also include the next book we will read in my review video.

6.) If you make your own review video/blog post/picture/whatever, include it in the comments section of my video so I can check it out! I’d love to know what you’re learning as well. Let’s make this a dialogue.

Are you in?! If you are, let me know on Twitter or Instagram using #WriterlyReads. I’m so excited to create this little space for us to continue to learn and grow as writers and editors! Stay tuned for what book we’ll be reading together in August!

 

Hi all!

I wanted to share some exciting news. I’m joining the team* at The Reading List, an editorial agency created by Lindsey Alexander and her partner, Salvatore Borriello. I met Lindsey through the Editorial Freelancers Association a while back and was delighted to meet her when I moved back to Raleigh, NC. I’m honored to work alongside all of these incredible editors; I know I will learn so much from their work experience and skills.

I’ve also started my first course through the University of Chicago Graham School toward earning my Editing certificate—something I’ve wanted to pursue for a long time. Cheers to new editorial adventures!

* I am a freelancer for The Reading List, not a full-time employee. I’m still living that entrepreneur life! 🙂

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Hey wordsmith!

I realized people stumbling upon my editing blog posts may not realize I’ve been talking about my life as an editor over on my YouTube channel. I’m overdue for another relevant video, but go ahead and hop over if you’re looking for more info on the best editing books, how I became an editor, and more! x

Edit on, and may the Oxford comma be with you!

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This past week, something unsettling happened. Well, to be real with you, a lot of unsettling things have happened recently: We uprooted and moved (back) to a hustling city we love, for starters. This place was our home, and we left it for a short time and have happily returned after three years.

This move left me a little shell-shocked (excuse the drama), stressed, and sick. I wasn’t prepared to dive into our “new” life, which happened to run head-first into our “old” life. Ah, but that’s another story for another time. . . .

No, this particularly unsettling incident happened in the middle of church. My friend, rather ruthlessly, confiscated my pen in the middle of the service because, well, my hand seemed to be doing something simultaneously impressive and horrifying: editing. Editing the bulletin. Was my brain on? I don’t know.

I literally began to edit the church bulletin without fully realizing—like a nervous tic. And then, even when I knew what I was doing, I continued copyediting.

“Who are you?” My friend asks, playfully. But his question awakens something in me. It was as if my hand—or rather, my editor-brain—had taken on a life of its own. I couldn’t seem to turn it off, even though I was truly enjoying the sermon and worship. And now, I can’t decide if this is a harmless, albeit undesirable, habit in my life—like chewing my finger nails—or if there are repercussions much worse than I now realize. What if I peel away the layers and discover I have the dark supervillain-esque potential to become that embittered editor every grammar nerd fears? Does every editor have to face this reality like an existential crisis? Does every editor carry the burden of holding back the compulsion to change every hyphen to an em dash? Are you there CMOS? It’s me, Mollie.

What’s strange is that this horrifying moment kind of snuck up (sneaked? OMG WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?) on me. I have always been proud of how chill I am as an editor. I don’t think what’s grammatically correct should ever get in the way of the authenticity of voice and story. I think there’s a real danger in being overly critical (which is why I think “Bullet In the Brain” by Tobias Wolff is the best short story of all time). So, what’s going on? Is this merely a muscle memory reaction or somewhat of a snag in my heart preventing me from truly enjoying beauty?

After the service, the pen-stealer asks more about my compulsive behavior. “I bet you can’t read poetry and enjoy it like you used to,” he says. I rattle my brain trying to remember the last time I read poetry, let alone enjoyed it. “No,” I say, “I guess I can’t.”

And that’s when it all hits me: the lack of creativity. The drive to write my own stories, blog, scribble in a journal . . . it lies dormant in my heart, and I can’t remember the last time I created something for myself that I truly loved. This is what’s really unsettling. I love helping other writers create something bigger than themselves, making it the best version it can be. But at the end of the day, I don’t crave the same fate for myself.

So, here’s my dilemma, fellow editors. How do I turn off the editor-brain when it’s time to let inspiration strike in my own work? Do you struggle with this, too? If you don’t, is it because you actively do something to keep the editing-terrors away? GIVE ME ALL THE SECRETS . . . because, honestly, I don’t trust my hand around signs, pamphlets, or bulletins any more.

4 THINGS I’VE LEARNED AS A BIZ BOSS LADY

I can’t believe how much this little brain-child business of mine has grown in the past year. I’m humbled and honored to walk alongside authors, publishers, and business professionals on their publishing journeys and creative project goals! I’ve learned a lot over the past year about what it means to be a freelance editor and writer—and a lot of what I’ve learned has nothing to do with editing or publishing. It’s amazing how our professional lives can spill out into our personal lives!

As a freelancer, I’ve learned the following:

1. YOU CANNOT SWEEP WORK STRESS UNDER THE RUG.

Because I try to maintain a healthy work-life balance, it’s easy for me to neglect the stress of deadlines or client interactions when five o’clock rolls around. Unfortunately, sweeping stress under the rug means I look completely relaxed on the outside, when I’m actually feeling the pressure and stress on the inside. I can’t totally “leave the office” and adopt the out-of-sight-out-of-mind attitude that most people can cling to in the evenings or on the weekends.

As a result, I realized I needed to communicate my deadlines and crazy schedule to my dear husband, who, unfortunately, cannot read my mind. It sounds silly, but it took a while to figure this one out. My coping mechanism to all the stress—and the way I procrastinated—was to pretend the pressure to deliver didn’t exist, and that I was free as a bird. I’ve learned that it’s important to acknowledge the pressure for so many reasons. It’s actually freeing to admit when things are a little crazy. And guess what? My husband wants to care for me during the busy seasons and help me carry some of the load, so finally blurting out just how busy I am is actually a huge relief. Dealing with the stress and being honest with myself—and my spouse—removes some of the burden. Imagine that!

2. THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE SAVES LIVES. 

Okay, so it doesn’t actually save lives, but I’ve found that timing myself—particularly in twenty-five-minute increments and little breaks in between—is a wonderful way to boost productivity. Editing is a meticulous process that demands total concentration and strains the eyes. Giving myself five-minute breaks or fifteen-minute breaks helps me stick with it in the long run. It really is like a marathon, not a sprint. Having a timer to keep me on track of projects is also immensely helpful—not only to limit distractions, but also to track my hours for future estimates and quotes. I’ve really gotten into a rhythm; I know how long a certain type of editing or project will take me, which really makes all the difference with scheduling.

3. PEOPLE WON’T ALWAYS “GET IT.” 

As a freelancer who works from home, people tend to automatically assume I have a ton of flexibility and that I set my own hours. It’s true that I do have some flexibility—I can usually schedule doctors’ appointments during the day and go grocery shopping at 11 a.m.—but that doesn’t always mean I have hours to kill with my friends at the coffee shop or that I’m down with unexpected visits during the work day.

I may work in my PJs most of the time (it’s true!), but I promise you: I am working hustling. I’ve had to learn that people won’t always understand what it means to work from home as a freelancer, so I need to set appropriate boundaries and protect my home office time.

4. IT’S WORTH IT TO GO THE EXTRA MILE. 

I know this is a cliché, but it’s so true: It’s so important to go the extra mile with clients. There’s no greater feeling than exceeding clients’ expectations. If I’m working 59 hours on a project, I want to make it count. Why coast your way through, only to deliver a half-assed job? When you go the extra mile, it is not only satisfying to receive positive feedback, but your clients stick around.

Disclaimer: Going the extra mile ≠ an unhealthy pursuit of perfection.

In my business, editing and revising is all about the process. Sometimes, there are drafts upon drafts before a better product emerges. And guess what? That’s okay. In fact, that’s where the magic happens. One thing I’ve learned as a biz boss lady is that there’s no way to kill off joy and creativity faster than trying to be a perfectionist. Even as an expert in your field, there is always more to learn. In fact, I think it does a huge disservice to your clients to assume otherwise.

Continued education is huge, so don’t stress over reaching that moment when you’ve officially “arrived.” Keep striving toward different goals, refining your process and skills, and giving yourself time and grace to learn new things.

Freelancer friends: How do you manage stress and *own it* as a boss? What wisdom can you share for aspiring freelancers? I’d love to hear your thoughts!