Occasionally, at the Sweet Sixteens blog, we feature submitted posts by our members. Today, the wonderful Meg Leder talks about going from editor to author.
For the past seventeen years, I’ve worked as a nonfiction editor in book publishing. And I love it. I love books; I love working around books; I love helping people make books; I love working with people who love books.
I also love editing because of the confidence I feel when I’m doing my job well—I get to work with authors in identifying what’s shining, what needs help, how to grow things, how to prune things. There’s a very satisfying zing of recognition when you’re making your way through a manuscript and you realize you know how to make something great even better.
I’ll admit it: I also love editing because I’m secretly a bit of a bossy know-it-all. I like coming in, competently surveying the scene, and saying with certainty Here’s where we go next!
So after enjoying the confidence and security of editing for all this time, you can imagine my surprise when I got a deal for my first novel and realized I didn’t know much of anything at all. My seventeen years of experience has helped, but for the most part, I’ve found being an author disconcerting and terrifying and sometimes exciting and sometimes even very wonderful but also the exact opposite of being a confident know-it-all. Call it being a stupid-it-all or call it being Jon Snow, because despite all those years of editing experience, when it came to my own novel, I pretty much know nothing.
Okay, yes, I did know some stuff of this stuff going in. But now I know-know it, all the down to the depths of my deeply anxious author heart.
(Caveat: the editor in me hates this blog post. I can hear her saying, These aren’t parallel points! Are you talking from one point of view or the other? Author or editor? Why is some of this personal and some of this professional? You are using the Jon Snow reference solely for humor even though you do know some things. The author in me says, Ummm… exactly?)