Last summer Adam and I were obsessed with this show called Shaq Vs. In it, basketball superstar Shaquille O'Neill, challenged top athletes at modified versions of their games. So, he was quarterback against Ben Rothlisberger. He played sand volley ball against Misty May Traynor and Kerri Walsh. He hit homeruns against Albert Pujols. And the big finale was he raced Micheal Phelps. Yep, that Micheal Phelps - the one that swims and wins lots of gold medals. Anyway - Shaq did some specific training for each event with a serious coach - including Phelp's own life long swimming coach. And the coach said about Shaq - "he's totally coachable. If I'd gotten Shaquille at the same age I got Micheal, there's no telling how good he'd be." The modified race between Phelps and Shaq was a close one and it was fun - and it made me think that sure, being a freakishly strong and tall and graceful human is great, but being open to learning and WANTING to learn - is even better.
And because everything makes me think of writing - this made me think of writing. I think of my editor as a coach.
You've got to think that getting an editor job at a major publishing house is more competitive than actually getting published. So, these editors have to be very very good. And on top of that, they're overworked and underpaid, so they have to love their jobs. And because they want to keep these jobs, they have to be successful - they want to find and edit blockbusters just as much as we want to write them. Which, isn't to say there aren't mistakes - editors are fallible. But, for us, the writers, they are the authority - on the industry, to some extent the craft and to an even stranger extent the book I'm writing. That's a hard one to get my head around - it's my book after all. But the truth is my perspective is all off - I've written it, rewritten it, built it, torn it apart, re built it. I've hated it, loved it, wanted to vomit all over it. I can't tell if it's genius or garbage.
But my editor's perspective is crystal clear. And she coaches me towards a common vision, or a better vision than the one I handed in. I like that. I didn't always feel that way, and as I settle into this career I realize I like this new attitude.
What about you? Do you like to be coached? Or do you think this whole theory of mine is crap - which it could be.