Quick Editorial Tips IV – Stop following my advice

A tool in the tool box

Struggling with advice overload?

I have a few friends who are struggling with “advice” – from other writers, publishers, agents, editors, critiquers, writing group members, bloggers, social networking gurus, marketing specialists…


Don’t follow my advice

No, seriously.

I post Quick Editorial Tips as another tool for writers. I’m not the only tool, I’m not the last tool, and I may not be the best tool.

My editor                            

My editor, Shawn MacKenzie, gives me loads and loads (and loads) of comments, tips, suggestions.

A sharp tool

I consider all of Shawn’s editorial suggestions. I chew on them. I have arguments in my head. I may sleep poorly that night.

What Shawn said

I don’t simply delete the old stuff and insert “What Shawn said” stuff.

Sometimes (*gasp!*) I decide to not take Shawn’s advice. The same goes for any writer/editor exchange or relationship.

It’s not Shawn’s story, it’s my story

I pick and choose Shawn’s editorial and critique suggestions.

What feels right for me – for my poetry, my short story, my blog?

Is someone giving you advice that doesn’t feel right?

Just because some Super-Superwoman-Editor has been in publishing for 30 years doesn’t mean all her advice is good for you.


Check out Shawn MacKenzie‘s editor page.

Are you enjoying a good writer/editor relationship? Have you experienced a bad editorial experience? Are you confused by all the advice?


Filed under Editing & Proofreading, Quick Editing Tips

8 responses to “Quick Editorial Tips IV – Stop following my advice

  1. I’m so lucky I found the perfect editor for me – YOU! Thanks, Shawn.

  2. I think you have great advice, Karen. It’s so easy to want to just accept everything given to you (or get mad at the person giving it) in a critique, but you’ll make your story better if you use a discerning eye about accepting the suggestions. I’ve experienced so many times that I move one thing on one person’s advice, and then the next person suggests I move “it” back to the place I’d just moved it from! It can make a person crazy.

  3. Thank you for the “great advice” comment, Lara. I appreciate that. I think about all the suggestions Shawn gives me in her edits of my poetry and short stories. She’s done a few blogs for me, too. Though she is A.W.E.some, I sometimes simply say (to self) “That’s not what I want to do there,” or “That’s not what I want to suggest.” Shawn might suggest a new direction or word or phrase or idea I hadn’t thought of. It’s like a light going on in my head! Plus, Shawn and I have developed a friendship and a working relationship, we’re not just editor/writer. And even though I’m an editor, I never rely on my own skills.

  4. I love this 🙂 Follow your gut, is what you are saying, think for yourself, trust your instincts. And that, my friend, is advice I will most definitely take 🙂

  5. This comes with self confidence and also an editor who lets their client know it’s a give and take process. That’s one reason I love working with you as my editor, Karen. You give me things to think about, but you know that occasionally (not very often) there is a reason I should override your advice.

    More often than not, though, your comment gives me a chance to recognize that what I’ve written may not be clear so I can make it better!

  6. Thank you for the vote of confidence, Elizabeth. Yes, it is a give and take, and that goes both ways, writer to editor or editor to writer.

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