Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Kim Goldberg's "The Sacred Cow of Editing."

British Columbia author Kim Goldberg has written a must-read article in the Winter 2014 issue of Write, the publication of The Writers' Union of Canada.  To be honest, I had not heard of Kim Goldberg until I read this article, and as soon as I did, I used a search engine to find her contact information and wrote to her to congratulate her.

"The Sacred Cow of Editing" is the title of her article. Goldberg points out that, out of all the creative arts, only in the literary arts are creators made to feel that they need a second opinion (that of an editor) before going public with their creation.  She writes, "I would far rather look back on and live with my own weaknesses in my work than with someone else's poor choices that I allowed to be imposed..."

Goldberg believes  writers should do whatever they feels comfortable doing to achieve and realize their vision. In some cases, that may mean hiring a proofreader. In other instances, it may mean going for a walk and musing about what one wants to achieve.

Goldberg concludes with some thoughts about becoming philosophically at ease with one's work, and having a sense of wholeness or completeness within oneself without needing to seek the opinion of others as to whether one's work is good.  She expresses it better than I have and I urge you to read her article.

I have thirty-five years of experience in getting published and being paid for my writing. Recently I offered to do some book reviewing free of charge in order to publicize my latest novel, The Songcatcher and Me, in the byline. I had a book review column for Forever Young Ottawa for fifteen years (before it folded) and now have reviews published frequently in Compulsive Reader, Canadian Materials, and the CCPA Monitor - evidence that I am not ignorant of the art of reviewing.  I found that the editors of the two new publications who had "accepted" me as a reviewer were fond of futzing around with writers' work for no good reason.  Consequently, I qui, and at present am reviewing for the three publications mentioned above.

I receive the newsletter of a writers' organization (not TWUC) which is offering a course on editing. For $75, aspiring authors are invited to a workshop in which, according to the leader, "we are going to hack each other's work apart."

Buyer, beware!

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