Debugging Writers

There is something very rewarding in putting together someone else’s book, or in helping someone else to debug their writing. It is often a great way to handle any bugs you may be experiencing yourself – find someone with an issue, and help them work out how to get around it and then you may just see how to kung fu your own problem.

Helping myself has often proved harder for me than helping someone else, because I don’t have the distance from the issue and can’t gain enough perspective. I often am helping someone else and fix myself as a by-product. Being aware of how you worked through something and how you might use it again is a very useful learning experience.

I don’t like those books that posit things as a one fix for everything approach, because if you are writing and it is really coming from you, then the problems that present themselves are as unique as the great things about the writing, and you have to understand how to read the unique fingerprints that adorn something. How best to do it? To sit down and talk to the writer having a problem. The way someone talks about that problem often contains the solution, or not, but listening to the writer provides the clues on how to help them, and I love doing it.

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