Updated: Apr 19, 2022
by L.A. Ames
Editors all have their distinct go-to books on their shelves, and this editor is no different. What is different are the reasons. As a way of getting to know your editor, a peek at their shelf is a little glimpse into a corner of their world. Welcome to mine.
What books have made the cut for the desk shelf?
Within hands reach are the editorial essentials: the Oxford Concise English Dictionary, Roget's Thesaurus, the Economist Style Guide, Bartholomew's Concise World Atlas, and a Pocket Concordance.
Do I Make Myself Clear by Harold Evans - it answers a lot of quick questions or confirms suspicions rather easily without the need for the hefty, less user-friendly Chicago Manual of Style (use the online version). The extensive experience behind the well regarded editor brings home the bare bones and acts as the stern but witty friend needed in the writing industry. Relatable.
The Art of Fact: A Historical Anthology of Literary Journalism by Kevin Kerrane & Ben Yagota - simply for the experience of good, fluid writing. Clear your head with it when focus is lost and there is a disconnect between you and the reading matter. George Orwell's report on Marrakech strikes a cord in history on how to write emotively on difficult subject matters such as human poverty.
A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman - this puts one back into the origins of creativity and into creative mode as an art and as purpose. Remembering the author is creating their own world from their sometimes chaotic environment gives an editor an insight into the raison d'être - and the reason for their book. Great encouragement. Love the profound revelations like the fourteen ways to achieve mediocre art and dealing with critics, external and internal alike.
18 Minutes by Peter Bregman - always a good book to dip into for mastering focus and distraction for both writer and editor. A business staple. It covers the ground of boundaries and priorities that sole operators often overlook and can lead to burn out. Think of it as self-care for your business acumen.
Starts With Why by Simon Sinek - remember to look for the why in everything. This helps every aspect of the project that centres on the purpose each believes in, essential for the writer-editor relationship. Although it is recommended for leaders, it translates well to entrepreneurial creatives to give their vision clarity.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield - another classic that keeps you company throughout any project. It is handy to keep nearby for the days that stump a writer or give an editor a headache.
The main themes of resistance versus professionalism are balanced at odds and leaves you to determine where you fit in. Good accountability partner.
So that begs the simple question, what's on your shelf?
… Let's start a conversation.