Monday, March 14, 2016

The Value of Decorators and Editors

Today's special guest is author Lynn Blackburn.

By Lynn Blackburn

People tend to assume if you’ve written a book that you are super creative in many other areas. The reality is while you may be creative with words, that doesn’t mean you have one ounce of skill with fabric, color, or that you have a clue how to pick out a lamp.

I am one of those people.

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to develop a friendship with a wonderful designer. Her name is Lisa. I was terrified the first time Lisa came to my house. Embarrassed, even. What if she felt like my house was beyond help? Thankfully, she likes a challenge. She gets me. She shops at TJ Maxx and Marshalls and is even more careful about my budget than I am.

She’s particularly talented at taking what I already have and re-arranging it in a way that makes so much more sense than the way I had it. She then brings in a few additional pieces and asks if I like them. I can keep them or suggest we try something a little different.
Between the two of us, we wind up with a room that is still 100% mine, but it’s so much better than anything I could have come up with on my own. It’s my stuff, with a few new things I would have picked out if I’d had the sense to know how awesome they were, all pulled together into a cohesive whole.

About a week after my final edits had been approved for my first book, Covert Justice, I called Lisa for an emergency intervention. I had tried to go it alone. I had an idea, I went shopping, I started decorating. When I was done, my downstairs looked like the epicenter of a Hobby Lobby explosion. Lisa fixed it in two hours.

As she left, and I relaxed in a room that actually looked like the vision I’d had in my head, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities to the editorial process.

I was so afraid to send my manuscript to my editor. TERRIFIED. Embarrassed that she would read my words and deem them hopeless. As it turned out, my editor, Elizabeth, likes a challenge and she gets me. When I read through my edits, rather than crying or gasping in pain, I found myself laughing and chuckling at the remarks she made in the sidebar.

She made suggestions for re-arranging things, slowing down the romance, and adding in more conflict. When it was all said and done, the book we wound up with is still 100% mine, but it is so much better than anything I could have come up with on my own.

No matter how many books I write, I will always need an editor. Someone to take a look with fresh eyes, make suggestions, and help me turn my vision into reality.

So let’s talk about this. Are you afraid of editors? Want to brag on yours? We would love to hear from you?

(Photos courtesy of Miles/Ambro/tungphoto.)


Lynn Huggins Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in South Carolina with her true love, Brian, and their three children. Her first book, Covert Justice, released June 2015. You can follow her real life happily ever after on FacebookTwitterPinterest, Instagram, and


  1. Denise Loock was my editor on my first book, The Perils of a Pastor's Wife. I love that woman!! This was my first experience, so I had no idea what I was doing. But Denise loved me through it, never making me feel less than because I had so many questions. Her expertise made my words shine and her insight was wonderful. Just ask her about the word "precious" and you'll see what I mean. **wink**

    1. Denise is awesome, Nan. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    2. She "never made me feel less than because I had so many questions" - I love this! Thank you for sharing!!

  2. I love decorating. I love designing. And I love my editors. I can't send a post or article without letting my trusted editors look at them. My mom, who also writes for Lighthouse Bible Studies, is my best editor. And she rearranges or adds insight like you said. I have learned not to wear my heart on my sleeve in this process. Of course, she's nice. But my writing is always evolving. It turns from Hobby Lobby explosion to ooooh, nice living room! (I hope.) So I appreciate those who are willing to help me, and I hope to be that kind of person for someone else. Thanks for your post!

    1. Katy, I love that you said your writing is always evolving. That's true with all of us. We all need someone to help us produce our best work. Thanks for sharing.

    2. "I appreciate those who are willing to help me, and I hope to be that kind of person for someone else" - what a fantastic perspective! It's so important to accept the help we are offered and to extend help to others! Great insight! Thank you!

  3. I have not written a book as of yet. Still honing my skills with devotions and articles. When the article/devotion is published, I look to see what changes were made by the editor. I take note of the way words were rearranged, corrected, and what was deleted so that I can learn from them. The article/devotion still resonates what I wanted to say, but reads more smoothly. I appreciate those who can make my words and thoughts shine.

    1. Sheryl, I love your open and teachable spirit. Editors enjoy working with people who are eager to make their "words and thoughts shine." Blessings to you.


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