IWSG and the Editing Bug

Hi, fellow insecure writers, Sher A. Hart here with a post that may hit home with a few of you. First off, kudos to Alex J. Cavanaugh, ninja master of all insecure writers and inventor of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG). I think he must have at least a hundred clones running around to do all the things he does. If I can be one-hundredth as productive, I’ll be happy.

I didn’t think when I signed up that my blog would get so busy. I ended up filling the first Wednesday spot over the holidays with book giveaways for authors who I couldn’t turn down. As a pushover for great  talent, I promote deserving authors whenever I can. I hope Alex will forgive my lapse. Pretty please? With SF on top!

Believe me, my writing insecurities didn’t go away in the last few months. They multiplied. Like all those bugs going around. Many years of critique groups, writing seminars, conferences, and online continuing education gave me the practice and tools I needed. But I kept rewriting. Doomed by  some negative beta-reads, my own perfectionism and…for some reason, I prefer helping other writers develop their stories to writing my own books. Maybe that’s not so bad–as bugs go.

My first love is reading, and I read even when I don’t want to write. That’s how my writing blog ended up as more of a book blog. Lucky for me, I have an artist’s eye for alignment and an eagle eye for errors except my own…yeah, that part’s not so lucky. Anyway, last year when I finally got a kindle, I bought the old fashioned kind with a keyboard to take notes. Boy, am I glad. Now when I find mistakes while I read, I can send a list to the author. My kindle is the kind pictured below, a little cumbersome to type on for more than short notes, but okay for proofreading.

Those familiar with me know my hubby was impatient for me to make money writing. Making money is part of my goal too, but I’m more charitably inclined. I sent those error lists free until this year. See, I hoped that someday an author would offer to pay for my help making his or her book error-free. It finally happened in December. Woo-hoo! I’m an editor–a very cheap editor because I want to build clients and times are tough, but still an editor. I like this editing bug.

Besides the proofreading, I’ve now metered twelve rhyming picture books, edited a letter of introduction, copy edited two novels and two chapter books, and formatted another novel for print and ebooks. Okay, a few of those were free, but for most I got paid or will get paid. My name is now on a YA SF novel’s acknowledgements page, even if it’s half my real name and half my pun name. The last author whose book I proofread said I caught many more errors and style problems than two other professional proofreaders. So things are looking up. I’ve updated my website and made a sample business card. I have a tendency to overdo things, so you’ll have to tell me if it works before I print something that’s too busy or doesn’t send the right message.

I won’t quit writing. I don’t think that door has to close to open another. Sure, I may be stuck between for a while, but I hope to grease the hinges so I can go both ways as needed. I’m happier and hubby is happier. Best of all, I now have an excuse to keep reading other writers’ books!

By the way, I finally figured out how to make Blogger publish something while I’m snoozing in bed. It seems you have to do more than set the schedule. You have to click the publish button too. Another small victory. But I won’t let it go to my head. Another bug got there first, the shingles. Three weeks later, my tongue still burns as if to remind me never to take taste for granted and to appreciate every bit of progress, no matter how small. So tell me, have you had any victories this year?

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. I love reading, too! That act is usually a catalyst to stir my creative juices, even when I’m struggling with a piece of work. Haha…for me it’s plot drafting. Geez, I wish I wasn’t so complicated. lol

    • I can sympathsize with the plot drafting part. That’s the biggest reason I’m still rewriting. Before I found out there was a word count limit on middle grade books, I wrote one as long as the first Harry Potter. I got 100% refusal to read from agents because of that even though they liked me idea. The ideas in that book are now spread out between four.

    • I mean my idea. Yes, the editor needs an editor, LOL!

    • I didn’t realize the first HP book was considered too long. The later books I understand, but the first one too? I didn’t know 300 pages is too long for MG.

    • It goes by word count rather than pages. At the time Rowling wrote it, Harry Potter came within the middle grade limit at almost 77000. When the economy crashed the limit went way down, max 40000 to 50000 for fantasy or SF. You get extra words for world building. That’s how I ended up squeezing so much into so little space and the reason you keep telling me to slow down. Since then the word count has gone back up again. Now 70000 is the upper limit, but I get up to 80000 if it’s fantasy or SF.

  2. Thank heavens for people who like to edit! 🙂 I’m glad you and hubby are happier with the choices you’re making. Good luck with the new venture.

  3. Oh, I’m so glad to read how to get Blogger to schedule a post! I have tried that so many times and couldn’t figure out why it never worked for me. Now I know I have to hit publish! Your small victory is now also one for me, yay!

    Good luck with your new venture, and I’m so glad to meet you through the IWSG. 🙂

    • Thanks and I’m glad to meet you too! And wow, two newly published authors in a row. That’s great! I said it on your blog, and I’ll say it again: Happy book release day!

      I’m glad that publishing button news helped someone else. I think blogger should put a separate button down by the calendar labeled “publish on schedule” so it’s not so confusing.

  4. Wow, look at you go! And I adore your editor’s blurb “I’ll edit with heart.” Wishing you all the best with this new adventure in the book world. 🙂

  5. There’s nottin wrong wit saying, ‘they liked me book’! Ye are on the Pirates’ Coast of de Gulf O’ Mexico, my littal Pippin! Aaaaaargh!

  6. I can defintely testify to Sher’s critiquing and editing skills. When she goes over by drafts, she always points out spots where I missed chances to strengthen my story. And she doesn’t let me get away with wishy-washy passages either.

    Thanks Sher.

    • You’re welcome, Ken. And I swear I’m going to get to your latest chapter by this weekend. New business keeps popping up, which is a good thing for me but not so great for my critique partners.

  7. You are getting a lot done! Congrats on the editing work. That sounds rewarding and you are getting to read and make money. Yeah! I agree with you that it is always harder to edit your own work. 🙂 Wishing you lots of success> 🙂

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