no book is without its merits and no writing is without its flaws

Today, I want to talk to that little voice inside you. It is small and hopeful. It says things to you like this: “When the editor gets this book, they are going to realize that the choirs of angels bent towards the earth and deposited this manuscript into their hands.” It is the voice that tells you to hope that the editor doesn’t change anything because everything is perfect exactly as it is. It is the small niggle that wants you to hope that your book, your work, your writing is transcendent and spectacular and divine.

And the thing is, your work is those things.

You are absolutely right to think that your story is magnificent. If you didn’t believe this, deep down, you wouldn’t be writing. Not one author who has shared their work with me has said, “You know, I really think this is utter crap, but I’ve got nothing better to do than beat my head against the wall, so do you think you can take a look for me?” They might be nervous, and they may be worried that their book isn’t very good, but deep inside, there is still that voice that says maybe this is actually the best book in the entire world, hm?

I get that. But it’s time that I had a little talk with that voice.

The thing is, there has been no professional editor in the history of forever that has handed back a book without comments or changes or suggestions. No one’s work is so untouchable that an editor isn’t going to have anything to say about it. Whether you’re writing your first book or your four hundredth, an editor isn’t doing their job if they’re not challenging your narrative decisions, your character development, and your choice of language.

I know that it’s nice to get gold stars. I love it when people tell me that I am awesome, too. But it is my job to help you make your book better. I will be nice about it. I will not tell you that you should never write again. I will give you suggestions, and I will hopefully not make you cry. You are not alone on this mission to share your story with the world.

But if all you really want is for someone to read your book and tell you it’s perfect, ask your mom. That’s her job–and she’s probably way better at it than I am.


  1. Sarah Peduzzi says:

    Hi Brenda! I finally made my way over to your blog (which is lovely by the way). So cool that you blog about editing and writing. I majored in English Writing (Creative Fiction track) and loved everything I learned…even all the nitty gritty things that a pro like you can probably recite in her sleep. So glad to meet and connect!

    • Sarah, thanks for stopping by! I love being able to read and write and talk about reading and writing all day. It is pretty much a dream come true. So cool that you have a degree in creative writing–do you still write creatively? Or? And I would be willing to bet that there are nitty gritty details that we could still share with each other–the writing world is vast, as you know, and there is always more to learn. :)

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