Friday, August 13, 2010

Spanx, anyone?

Photo by jarpur/stockxchange.com

Most women I know want to fit effortlessly into their clothes, with nary a ripple or bump marring their longed-for sleek silhouettes.

And while most women I know may not admit it, we've probably all resorted to Spanx--a little manufactured assistance to smooth out our tummies, torsos and tushes.

The reality is, sometimes we have to face the reflection in our mirrors and accept some help.

Which brings me to editors.

Most writers I know want to write effortlessly, with nary a misspelling or incomplete sentence or confusing thought marring their manuscripts.

But we need to admit that we need help to polish our work in progress (WIP). And we need to realize that editors are not The Enemy.

I'm working with a writer who has a great book idea. She also has some insecurities--don't we all--and was hesitant to show me her writing. We weren't going to see a whole lot of forward motion if I never saw anything she wrote.

So, I told her to think of me like Spanx. As an editor, I'm here to smooth out the bumps and ripples in her manuscript. I'm here to make her look good--to make her look better than she thought she could look.

The "editorial Spanx" analogy got a good laugh, which released some tension. But, humorous or not, there's a truth that both editors and writers need to remember: An editor should accent the positive, while helping a writer smooth out the rough spots in their writing.