The Top 5 Things I Learned from Working with an Editor

Yes, editors do hire editors, and that includes me. I have learned a lot from working with an editor. When it comes to your own work, you are often so involved that you often need someone else to read it before you send it out to readers. That can come in many forms – it might be that you’re looking for a beta reader (someone who reads your touched up manuscript), an alpha reader (someone who reads your rough draft), or you may decide to go for an editor for a more in-depth analysis. Here are five things I learned from hiring an editor.

1) They can help you see your own work clearly. 

It isn’t easy to see your work when you’re so close to it. When I recently sent my first five chapters to an editor, I took out a prologue before I sent it. This was for a few different reasons, but I was so familiar with the world that I had created that I didn’t realise the prologue missing would cause many issues. Ummm…I was wrong! Some important world-building was in that prologue, and so by removing it before sending, I made my editor say…’Where is this exactly?’ An interesting lesson! The world-building throughout the rest of my novel is tight, so I’m not worried about this. Now I know that the first few chapters require more world-building and detail if I want to remove that prologue.

2) Peer review is valuable. 

It can be scary to send your work to other people, but peer review always makes it stronger. Hearing what other people think, what they expected, and how they feel about your story will allow you to make it so much better.

3) They save you time. 

Yes, although it can feel like you’ve been given more work when an editor comes back to you with a report, they are actually saving you a lot of time. They are ploughing through the manuscript for you, marking up those bits that need changing, and providing you with information that it would have taken hours to find yourself.

4) They give you ideas you may have never considered. 

We all need a fresh pair of eyes sometimes, and an editor can help you see a new direction for your work, a character, or a scene. Sometimes, it’s even something that you may have never considered before.

5) They can spot inconsistencies you cannot. 

As we are so close to our stories, we can miss inconsistencies or repeated details. After all, we know the world so well, so when this isn’t communicated to the reader well enough, it won’t always be easy to spot. An editor can help you see those issues, including other common occurrences such as repetitive words and phrases.

What have you learned from hiring editors? Share with me because I would love to know! 

If you are looking for an editor, get in touch today. I would love to help you polish up your work and make it shine, and I am currently booking from Spring 2022.

If you are looking for a similar read, check out the following:

4 Ways to Edit Your Own Writing
Online Writing Tools That Can Help You Write Your Novel


The Top 5 Things I Learned from Working with a Coach

Yes, I am a writing coach, so of course, I could tell you what you could gain from working with me…but I’ve already done that! (See the following blog posts – What Is A Writing Coach & Writing Coach vs Editor: What’s the Difference?)

So, today I thought I would tell you what I’ve learned from working with a coach myself.

I’ve repeatedly said that coaches should be coached, and there is a reason for this. To help others, you should be actively helping yourself. This means that you work on your mindset, are consistently learning about your practice, and putting yourself in the shoes of a client.

I am part of a beautiful coaching community for small business owners and have a personal coach. I have also recently hired a coach to help me with marketing specifically. There are so many coaches that specialise in specific niches now, just like my niche of writing, and it is wonderful to be able to work with experts.

So, here’s what I have learned through being coached.

1) Having space held for you can change everything. 

It’s not every day that you can expect someone to give you their full attention, and that’s fair enough. But, when they do, amazing things can happen. Coaching is a wonderful experience, and it’s partly because of this. Having someone hold that space for you, listen to what you are saying without interruption, and ask you the right questions can help you reveal solutions that you didn’t even realise existed. A coach listens to what you are saying without judgement, in a safe space. This alone has helped me become a better, happier, and more fulfilled person.

2) Coaching can build on success, not just solve problems. 

Did you know that coaching isn’t just for specific problems? Nope, coaching is also to build on success. For example, you don’t have to be struggling with a writing routine or draft to hire a writing coach; you can also be having the most prolific writing period of your life and want it to continue. You could be finding yourself motivated every day to create and want to investigate the set of circumstances that led you there so that you can keep being your best self.

Coaching to build on success is a great way to invest in yourself. It’s saying, ‘Hey, things are going great, and long may they continue. In fact, I’ll make sure they do.’

This is the reason I continue to invest in a coaching programme; because I want to continue building on the success that I have found with them.

3) Having someone rooting for you can hold you accountable. 

It’s not the deadlines given by a coach that hold me accountable; it’s the fact that they are rooting for me personally. Coaching is a professional relationship with a difference – you have someone on your team, and they believe in you and your progress. The thought of sharing my achieved tasks with my coach makes me happy because I’m excited to move forward with them in our next session, not because I’m afraid of missing a deadline.

4) Positive change starts with you.

You only have a coach for an hour or so a week or even a month, depending on what you opt for. Outside of this time, it’s down to the client to make what has been discussed work for them. I spend a good few hours a week working on my actions points and planning for my coaching sessions. I like to mix it up, too, like climbing a hill on the treadmill while catching up on a pre-recorded Zoom meeting. Whatever it is, I make sure that I take responsibility for that positive change in my life outside of my coaching sessions.  Coaching gives me the action points to work from, but the action comes from me.

5) Investing in yourself is about much more than money. 

When you give yourself the opportunity of time, education, and accountability, investing in yourself becomes about more than money. It becomes about believing in yourself and setting you up for success. I made a private video at the start of this year, at the suggestion of my coach. It was just me, talking about where I currently was in my business, life, and expectations. Well, the other day, I finally looked back on it ten months later. It was amazing to see the growth of those months. I know that coaching helped me get there, and I am so grateful for that reminder of how far I have come.

So, have you ever been coached, and if so, what did you learn? I would love to know, so share it with me today


How to Create Tension in Your Writing

There is nothing better than reading a book that you just can’t put down. The pages are filled with intrigue, tension, and you absolutely have to find out what happens next. Creating tension in your writing is important because you want your reader to be engaged, involved, and excited to keep turning those pages.

So, how can we create tension in writing? Let’s dig in.


This is the act of creating a problem for your characters. It can be broken down into two categories:

Internal conflict

Your character shouldn’t be given what they want just because they demand it. Internal conflict looks like a character battling with their thought process, desires, or a fundamental part of who they are. It might be that they are haunted by a memory and cannot move past it. The internal conflict might drive your character forward on their journey or try and hinder their progress. However it is formed, internal conflict can change our actions, the way we look at a situation, and can create a tension that leaps from the page.

External conflict 

Your poor character, not only do they have all these internal battles, but now they have an external one too! External conflict is exactly that, something that the character needs to overcome in the real world. Perhaps they are being hunted down by the local werewolf, for example, and every day it gets a bit closer…


Often offered at the end of a chapter, cliffhangers are a great way to build tension on the page. It could be that you surprise the reader with a piece of information they didn’t know, reveal something shocking, or even stop the action halfway through so that the reader has to read on to get the goods!

Turn the tension dial up and down

If your novel is pure tension through and through, it can be a stressful read, and not in a good way. In some cases, it can desensitise your reader to the tension, meaning they are no longer on the edge of their seats. Instead, turn it up and down as though on a dial. The calmer moments will provide a type of respite for your reader and give those times of tension a bit of extra pizzaz!


A time limit is an extremely useful tool as a writer. It doesn’t have to be a literal clock ticking either, but a deadline on the horizon can really give your reader a taste of that tension your characters are experiencing.

What are your tips for creating tension in your writing? Please share them with me today! 

Want a hand with building tension? Get in touch. 

If you found this useful and want to read something similar, check out the following craft blog posts:

5 Things to Avoid When Writing Dialogue 
Which Story Outline Method is Best For You?
5 Books on Writing That Will Improve Your Craft


When Should You Put a Work in Progress Aside for a New Idea?

Your work in progress is waiting for completion, but you want to move on. When should you give in to this feeling? Oh, it’s a difficult question. Many writers, myself included, have a long list of great novel ideas that have come to us throughout the years, and sometimes that list is more than attractive. But how do we know if it’s time to put one project aside for another, or we are just experiencing ‘The Dip’?

As an aside, ‘The Dip’ is that murky middle ground. Writing a novel is not easy, and it can get challenging when you reach the middle section. This is after the initial excitement about the work and before the sight of the ending, and it is a place where many writers struggle.

The Dip makes a writer want to throw in the towel and move on to a new, more exciting project. But, if that feeling is given in to each time we experience it, we would all end up with a pile of half-written novels.

So when do you know it’s time to move on and put your work in progress aside? 

I recently had experience with this. Last year I was 20,000 words into a novel that had taken months of research to plot, and I decided to put it aside to work on something else. The new story flew out of me, and before I knew it, I was typing ‘The End’ on The Birth of Ida. Now I am 40,000 words into the companion novel The Dedworth Shame. Here’s what I considered before moving on, and what I would recommend you consider too if you’re feeling unsure about your current project!

Am I enjoying writing this? 

We’ve all heard that saying, ‘No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.’ (Robert Frost). Well, the fact is that I was just not enjoying writing my novel. It wasn’t that I was in The Dip, because I didn’t have that gut feeling that what I was writing would be worth it in the end. And, if I wasn’t enjoying writing the work, I was pretty sure that a reader probably wouldn’t enjoy reading it. If you’re slogging away, every paragraph is an uphill battle, and you’re not enjoying writing, ask yourself why this is.

  • Is it the story you are telling?
  • Are you passionate about it?
  • Is it something that you would pick up and read yourself?

The Birth of Ida was such a pleasure to write, and that was a huge lightbulb moment for me. I was driven to finish the novel because it was a story I knew I wanted to tell. There’s a difference between pushing your way through a novel that isn’t working for you and finding a story that flows out of you and working through the tricky bits.

Why do I want to move on? 

This is a fundamental question. Here are a few potential answers:

If you want to move on because you are finding a current chapter challenging to write, it’s best to seek help. It might be that your current skill level doesn’t quite meet the concept that you have thought of. That’s okay – it just tells you that it’s time to jump into some craft education before you continue. It’s a great thing when our work helps us grow as writers.

If you’re not sure what you need more craft education in, it’s time to download The Time to Write workbook. Within that workbook, you will find a page and task dedicated to exactly that!

If you want to move on because the scale of your vision is simply too big, that’s something that can be fixed in a re-write. It might be time to take a step back, look at the plot, and simplify your story to one that you feel you can tell at the moment.

You can’t find the time to finish your work. Well, this is a tricky one. If you aren’t prioritising your work in progress but feel that you would a new project, that says a lot for the enjoyment you are getting out of it. I would recommend that you take some time to journal on these feelings and investigate what’s stopping you. This dilemma is perfect for 1:1 coaching, and together, we could work out the next best step for you.

Length of effort:
You’ve been writing the same novel for a very, very long time, and it’s still not getting anywhere. If this is the case, then yes, you have my permission to put it to one side and try to write something fresh and new. They say that a change is as good as a break – and I think that’s true. It’s not to say that you will never pick up your WIP again, just that you need to fall in love with writing again. That’s okay. It’s all a process.


Overall, my advice for this tricky area is to trust your gut instinct. You know better than I what stage you are in with your current work in progress. Be wary of Shiny New Idea syndrome – we all reach a stage in our current novel where a new idea seems like it would be ‘the one’. Instead, spend some time investigating your feelings and working out why you would like to move on. Be patient and honest with yourself.

You’ve got this writer. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Want to read something similar? Check these out!

Reasons Not To Write Every Day
5 Tips to Help You Finish Writing Your Novel
7 Ways to Get Rid of Writer’s Block