The editing experience is always challenging. But it’s perhaps most difficult when you are telling your own story.
That is the focus of what I discussed with memoirist and journalist Lori Tharps, who is most recently a collaborator on Proud, the autobiography of Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first woman in hijab to compete for the United States in the Olympics. Tharps, herself, has written memoir in several forms, including her 2008 book Kinky Gazpacho.
Among other topics in our half-hour discussion, we hit these concepts:
- Writing a memoir piece in your voice is different than when writing for a publication with an established voice.
- The writing process is distinct from the editing process, and you must treat them as separate. Don’t edit yourself while writing, lest you beat yourself up too much.
- Listen most closely when an editor gives feedback about the reader experience (clarity, structure). Be most likely to push back on an editor when it’s about the story (what happens, when, etc.)