I know how you feel.

At least most of you. I’m sure there are writers who don’t find writing to be a bone-crushing, nausea-inducing festival of self-loathing. I just don’t happen to be one of them. Faced with a blank screen, I am invariably seized with the overwhelming desire to clean out my garage. Give myself a root canal. Do anything other than write.

The problem seems to be standards. I have some. And I’m terrified I can’t live up to them. Does that sound familiar? I’ve found that to avoid paralysis, I have to begin by actually trying to write something bad. Don’t even write, I tell myself, just type.

Because once the story is out there, even in a horrifyingly inept and inarticulate form, the real work can begin. Now I can see where the words are working, and where they’re not. I begin to grasp the possibilities and see the deficiencies. The ideas that should be in the piece, but aren’t, speak loudly with their silence. The holes flash like neon signs. The awkward phrases swell up and stink. The good ones hum.

This is the fun part, especially when someone else has done the miserably hard work of writing the first draft. It’s why I’m a good editor, and why I love editing.

And that’s why I can help you, as I’ve helped innumerable writers over four decades as editor of The Washington Post Magazine, Tropic magazine of the Miami Herald and dozens of successful books. Among those I’ve worked with are multiple Pulitzer winners and some of the biggest names in fiction. But I’ve also worked with hundreds of regular folks who had never published a word, but had a compelling story to tell. In the end, the most powerful thing I’ve learned about working with writers is this: it is always about the story.

Your story.

My availability is limited these days, but if you’d like to discuss the possibility of having me help with a manuscript, or just want to reach me, click the CONTACT  button above.