Friday Speak Out!: Noah, Best Dressed Editor in Town

Friday, June 02, 2017
by Laura Yeager

Noah, my ex-boyfriend, reads everything I write before I send it out. He’s my editor. He too is a writer and in days gone by used to be a ghostwriter for a celebrity columnist. Noah got his degree in English from Oberlin College, so he’s got the guns to take a first draft and help me “mold” it into the finished product. Essentially, he can assist me at any stage of the writing process.

One day, I told him I wanted to pay him for his editing services, but he said he wouldn’t take my money. I’m an avid bargain shopper, so I decided to “pay” him in clothes. I send him large boxes about once a month of beautiful duds. He appreciates these because he lives in New York City, where clothing is pricey. It’s a win-win situation. He gets beautiful apparel, and I get my work perfected.

I’m a lucky gal.

So what does Noah actually do to assist me in making my writing better? He performs (with great brilliance) editing duties such as these:

Before I write

Noah helps me come up with ideas. Since I talk to him every day by phone, he knows what’s happening in my life and is aware of what material would or wouldn’t make a good story. So he suggests essay ideas to me.

He also helps me come up with angles for pieces.

Finally, he aids me in imagining where the proposed piece might be placed.

While I write

Noah coaches me and asks me how the writing is coming. Sometimes, he listens to what I’ve got written and tells me if I’m “on the right track.”

He pushes me to finish pieces when I’m “low energy.”

After I write

Noah helps me see when I’m being vague and I need more information or an example or two.

He helps me with word choice Sometimes, we haggle over a word for days.

Noah spots typos

He tells me when something doesn’t follow.

He helps me see when an essay seems finished.

Noah will often assist me in picking a title for a piece.

He praises me. This is the most useful thing he does. Praise keeps me going.

As shown above, Noah is extremely helpful to me in my writing career. I'm so glad he'll accept the "currency" of clothing because it is important to me to pay him back for all he does for me.

So having an editor is obviously important. What better editor than an ex with whom you are still amiable?

You already know each other well. There is no second guessing each other.

You trust the person.

And you feed off of each other intellectually.

In conclusion, Noah and I weren’t meant to be married, but we were meant for a significant, life-long relationship. We’re best friends with different kinds of benefits.

I love working with Noah. I have to say that he has never steered me in the wrong direction. I almost always agree with his edits, and when I feel he’s “off-base,” I simply use my writer’s authority and override him. He doesn’t get mad when I do this. He respects my ultimate control over my own work.

And I have to say that sending him clothes through the US mail gives me a rush. Again, it’s my way of returning his fantastic favor of helping me be the best writer I can be.

Noah and I weren’t meant to be lovers, but we were meant to be friends and artistic partners.

Thank you, Noah.

And by the way, you look marvelous.

* * *
Laura Yeager has been writing for over 35 years. Her fiction has appeared in journals such as The Paris Review, The Missouri Review and The North American Review. Currently, she is a mental health writer at Psych Central. She also writes religious essays for venues such as Aleteia USA and Busted Halo. A graduate of The Writers' Workshop at The University of Iowa, Laura teaches writing at Kent State University and online Creative Writing at Gotham Writers' Workshop in New York. Laura Yeager is looking for an agent for her novel MILLENNIUM RAILROAD.
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Angela Mackintosh said...

Laura, it's wonderful you're so close with your ex and he's an editor! Great post, and love your last line. It sounds like the perfect relationship. :) Thanks for sharing, and good luck in your agent search. I like the title of your novel.

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