Tag: poetry

Client Published! “I’ll Think About It!” by Oliver Munro

Client Published! “I’ll Think About It!” by Oliver Munro

Early last fall, I had the privilege of editing a collection of Poetry by Oliver Munro. Working with Poets on their manuscripts is one of my very favorite types of jobs. I enjoy the pure partnership necessary when editing poetry because it is an entirely different way of looking at Editing. While you need to have an excellent solid structured editing foundation, you also need to have honed the unique ability (for an editor) to let go of the rules when needed. Poetry has its own rules, chief among them being that sometimes, you throw out the rules for the sake of the poem and Poet.

Editing Oliver’s “I’ll Think About It!” was pure joy for me due to the variety of styles he used. The subjects of his poems were thoughtful and provoking. He tackles his poems with finesse and whimsy, a dry sense of humor, and addresses several essential issues while delivering them with biting wit and a dose of self-deprecation. But don’t let his thoughts on his book, as he turns his humor inward, take it as a challenge and read it! It’s a beautiful blend of thoughtful discovery, lessons learned, and his current conclusions about life, as he knows it.

I’m excited to see that he has published his book on “I’ll Think About It” Amazon.com and encourage you to head on over and order yourself a copy!


Client’s feedback on Upwork.

Rating is 5 out of 5. 5.00

“New car, caviar, 4-star day dream? Think I’ll buy me a football team.”

Poetry as an Editing Niche

Poetry as an Editing Niche

A few months ago, I talked about exploring and Finding your Niche in the editing world. One of those very niches that I stumbled into was editing for Poetry.

Poetry is a unique form of writing. With that incredible depth and variety comes a world of different types of editing required to produce and publish poetry successfully. Editing poetry means that you must have such a technical understanding of language and words and how to manipulate them. You need to know when to ignore all the rules. Embrace the intent of the poem and poet.

Whereas some poems have precise rules that the poet follows, other free verse poetry can ignore the rules. Often, the poets are encouraged to step as far away from them as they can. The trick here for an editor is that you can find a blend of structured, free verse, and avant-garde poems in a single book. The question, then, is how one customizes the edit to the poetry in the book.

As a poet myself, I admit that I am one of “those poets” who bounces around between genres and styles. I don’t limit myself, and for the most part, that is a strength in my life as a poet.  As an editor of poetry and poetry books, I approach the relationship between myself, the editor, and my client, as a partnership. This editor/author partnership is even more true for editing poetry than other manuscripts.

To serve your client well as their editor, you must get to know them, learn from them what they want with the book. This understanding of continuity and message is not much different from what you need for any manuscript you are editing. With a book of poetry or even a poem, however, you need to understand the overall picture and each poem. Most poetry books contain somewhere between 25-60 poems. Often part of my job is to let my client know if things flow well, if the poems all fit together, and sometimes, even to help them figure out what a theme might be for them (depending upon the stage of the manuscript when I see it.)

You also need to take each poem and look at it critically to decide just how much of it you will hold to standard grammar rules.  Poetry can often be perfection WITHOUT punctuation or with limited punctuation.  You could easily have several poems that have no punctuation, or like E. E. Cummings, be all lowercase, and then in other poems in the same book, you’ll have poems asking to Shakespeare’s Sonnets.

When working on poetry, you must understand what the poet is trying to achieve. I find I talk more to my Poetry clients even more than I do to my Academic clients. Each experience that I have with a client is gratifying because of this.

Also, poets do prefer to have someone well versed in poetry editing their manuscripts. If you think about it, though, that’s not as strange as it seems. Academics want people to edit their work with experience in their field or with the Style Guide they use. Just so, poets need to know that the person editing their manuscripts understands the world in which they live. There is an impermanence to poetry, and that magic sometimes needs the rules to bend.

Are you a poet? Have you ever had someone edit your poetry? What are some of the things you experience?


Finding your niche as an editor

Finding your niche as an editor

Over the years, I have often been asked, “what sort of things do you edit”? When I first started, in my complete naiveté, I found this puzzling. I’m an editor; I edit everything.

Through trial and much error (we call it a learning curve), I discovered that this is the wrong answer to the question. I can edit anything you throw at me; years of experience make that relatively easy, but I have preferences and areas that I’m particularly good at editing.

You can be a natural at spotting grammar mistakes and run-on sentences. You can even have a natural talent for reading something and being able to intuit what is missing or what might tighten up a scene. However, that is your base talent; that’s what drives you and what helps you push forward, and, yes, that instinct enables you to find your niche.

Because editing is a honed skill, there are usually genres at which you are particularly adept. I, for example, am very skilled at editing academics papers because of my academic background and familiarity with a wide range of style guides and disciplines. I am adept and skilled at doing Developmental Edits of Fiction.

A better answer to the question of “what do you edit” can in part be found in restating the question. “What do you prefer to edit” or “what is your area of expertise in editing” are the more informative questions to ask. And if talking editor to editor, “what is your niche?” and how do you find it?

In an earlier post, The Beginning of the Blog, I briefly talked about how I grew up in the Academic world. If a particular discipline surrounds you, that does tend to steer you in a specific direction. What you learn along the way is that it is crucial to dabble in other areas, maybe areas that you are not as comfortable with or haven’t experienced. Or, if, like me, you are a writer, you will find that you can become proficient in the areas you write. That said, some people cannot edit their genre, so if that’s you, you’re neither alone nor a rarity.

What we, as editors, must do as we explore our chosen career and try to decide what our specialty or niche is, is accept that we cannot be the best at everything and understand that having a niche can be a great benefit. Knowing what you are most passionate about and your area of expertise can open up doors for your business as a freelancer. It also can help you hone your skills in ways you never imagined.

My personal example is that while I specialize in academic editing and fiction (specifically Romantic Suspense), and you could easily call either of those my niche market, an area that I’m focused on is Poetry.

Poetry? That’s a niche, a specialized skill?

Why, yes, it is, and a surprise to me, too. (That journey will be another blog post, I am sure.)

So, for me, I actively seek out poetry manuscripts to edit. As a poet myself, I know that there is a particular skill to be able to edit poetry and RESISTING over editing it. The Poet’s voice can be more important than whether or not you used proper punctuation. My favorite example of why editing can be a very different experience when editing a poet is to suggest you read a few of his poems (https://hellopoetry.com/e-e-cummings/). Yes, there is structure; yes, he does stick to most grammar rules, but not always.

Sometimes, with poetry, the rhythm is more important than whether or not you use a period at the end of the sentence.

I have a fellow editor friend who specialized in children’s books for kids between 5 and 7. She enjoys working in a narrow field and loves what she does. She finds working on this limited genre best serves the publishing community. Other editors specialize in Technical Editing/Writing. 

In our way, each of us picked Freelance Editing as a career and had something we preferred to edit, just as authors have a genre preference. Yes, you will find that you will edit outside this desired niche or your specialty. For the most part, once you are truly up and running, you can fuel your job as a Freelance Editor with your chosen niche and enjoy the process with all the passion you have for that area of expertise.

And that’s enough on that subject. Have a fantastic day!


An Editor’s Journey

An Editor’s Journey… the beginning… of the blog, at least.

An Editor’s Journey… the beginning… of the blog, at least.

“Welcome to my world!” is the first line to the first poem in my upcoming poetry book, and as I was pondering what to write for the “first blog post” here at An Editor’s Journey, it just seemed to fit.

I’m so very excited about starting this new adventure. I have been editing for over two and a half decades, and during that time, I have so often found myself looking for the thoughts of other editors. What sort of things do they do to make editing easier? What are the tips and tricks of the trade? It was challenging to find some of those answers over the years. Still, with the advent of social media and the massive explosion on the internet, it has finally become easier to find some of these answers.

And yet, so many of the articles and blogs I have read over the years are clinical and distant. What I wanted was to get to the meat of the thing. What were other editors out there were doing? How were they succeeding as freelancers in such a competitive field, and how did they juggle their freelance career and everything else. And with that sudden awareness, as I began philosophizing upon the thoughts of others, I realized I should do this as well. I should put my thoughts into a blog so that other people can learn from my experiences. You, my friends, can laugh along with me at my stories and encounters and revel in the beautiful and fulfilling experience of connecting with others and talking about my passion.

This blog isn’t just about editing or writing. It is a glimpse into my life as an editor, as a mom, wife, friend, academic researcher, and most importantly, as a teacher. I spend so much of my freelance editing career guiding others in their writing. It just seemed an excellent choice to share these thoughts and ideas and tips and tricks that I have learned with the vast world via a blog.

What types of specific topics can you expect?
What is the editing process?
Experience vs. Education
Discipline for the Work-at-Home Freelance Editor
Balancing being an Editor and a Mom
Finding your Niche
Editing for the Poet
And dozens more…

I hope you will enjoy traveling on this Journey with me and I look forward to sharing my world with you and learning from yours!

-Galen S. Scott