Editor seeking relationship with writer

 
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Writing is a solitary task.

This is perhaps the main reason why so many writing projects are abandoned before they are finished. For many of us, hours of solitude can be hard to find. For others, the solitude is too much to bear; other, more social tasks, are given priority. Writing is also a private task. Which is why so many of those manuscripts that are finished sit silently on the hard drive, gathering digital dust, waiting and hoping for their chance in the spotlight. Waiting and hoping that their author will overcome their anxiety about sharing their words with someone else.

In these circumstances it can be tempting, once a writer realises that they need some advice, to turn to the anonymity of the internet. There are plenty of options. There are plenty of manuscript appraisal and online coaching services that allow you to send off your words without having to actually speak to anyone. Complete a simple submission form, pay the fee, attach your file, and then wait.

This sort of advice comes with an added bonus. Because you haven't really 'met' your advisor – they are just a name on an email – it's easy to ignore their suggestions. No one can say you didn't seek independent counsel, can they? It's just that you didn't agree with most of it. The money was well spent, if only because it proved you right.

But is that what you really want?

To really get the best out of your writing you will need someone to look at it with a dispassionate eye. You need to come out of your cave and share your work with someone you can trust. You need to be open to having your opinions challenged, and to perhaps seeing your work from a different perspective.

We've always believed that this can only really happen effectively when there is a real connection between the writer and their coach or appraiser. If someone is going to provide you with a useful second opinion, they need to get to know you, at least a little. They need to understand the hopes you have for your project, what you aim to achieve with it. Only then will they be able to give you fully rounded feedback and ideas.

These things can only happen when the time is taken to make a personal connection. Ideally that will mean some face-to-face time. If that's impractical, there is always Skype, WhatsApp, email or even the old-fashioned telephone. Whatever it takes.

When a writer gets serious about their work, they know they need to break out of their solitude and open themselves up to feedback. To do this is to take a big step forward. Make sure you do it with someone who's going to work alongside you as a guide – not just provide remote, anonymous advice.

May your words pour onto the page,