This month, I interviewed Blake Atwood about his new podcast All Apprentices: Quick Editing Tips, a podcast that focuses on self-editing tips for authors. Blake is a full-time editor, author, and ghostwriter and the founder of BA Writing Solutions LLC. He runs AllApprentices.com, a resource website for writers that seeks to encourage and enlighten through a weekly email newsletter and podcast. I was a guest on the podcast earlier this month, to talk about the differences between developmental and copy editing.
He wrote Don’t Fear the Reaper: Why Every Author Needs an Editor and The Gospel According to Breaking Bad, and he co-wrote The Father Effect: Hope and Healing from a Dad’s Absence, released in October of 2017 through FaithWords, a Hachette imprint.
He’s ghostwritten five books (but can’t tell you anything about them) and has edited dozens more.
All Apprentices: Quick Editing Tips
What is your website AllApprentices.com about?
The podcast offers one self-editing tip every week. Time permitting, I’ll produce another, longer podcast featuring interviews with writers I know in the future, but for now the self-editing tips will have to do.
Sounds great! I’m a huge fan of podcasts providing self-editing tips. How about the newsletter?
The newsletter provides encouragement and enlightenment for writers. While my first issues have tackled why we write and what ought to be our singular goal as writers, I will be offering practical advice in the coming issues. More in line with what I tend to write about as a monthly columnist for The Write Life website.
How is your new podcast different from everything else out there? What does it add?
I listen to a good number of writing-related podcasts: The Story Grid, The Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast, 10 Minute Writer’s Workshop, Ampersand, and Helping Writers Become Authors, to name just a few. They’re all excellent in my book, and I hope that my podcast on editing tips combines the best aspects of these podcasts by being short, practical, and encouraging. Next to that, few podcasts (that I know of) expressly discuss editing—aside from The Story Grid, but they talk developmental editing whereas I stick mostly to copyediting.
Is that why you launched the All Apprentices: Quick Editing Tips podcast?
I launched the podcast and relaunched my email newsletter for no one else but myself. That may sound selfish, but it’s not. Obviously, I want to help other writers. I work as a freelance editor, author, and ghostwriter, so I’m always helping at least a few writers. But, as I began teaching a few seminars over the last year and began feeling confident about the knowledge I’ve attained while freelancing, I realised I could help more people through the written and spoken word.
What finally tipped the scales was working on a client’s book. Prior to writing his book, he’d set a goal to publish an article twice a week regardless of its length or quality. He wanted to become a better writer and increase his platform, and the only way to do so was through getting into the habit of writing. His words made me realise that I missed the allure of creating content for myself on a weekly basis. I needed to re-discipline myself to the craft that I’m so often advocating for my clients.
In other words, if a writer writes, I should be writing.
Who will benefit from the All Apprentices: Quick Editing Tips podcast and signing up to your newsletter?
I’d like to think that writers of all experience levels will benefit. However, newer writers may benefit the most. What I relate essentially distils years of reading craft books, taking courses, and working in the trenches with authors of all kinds.
Some of the editing tips in my podcast may seem basic and even self-apparent. But as an avid listener of writing podcasts, I can’t tell you how many times some ‘basic’ idea heard at just the right moment has reminded me or encouraged me about something intrinsic and important to what I’m working on right then. That’s why I think that what I create has use even if you’re an experienced writer.
I so relate to that, it happens to me all the time. And then I want to kick myself in the head for not remembering something so obvious. I’m glad I’m not alone in that. You’ve also written a book on why every author needs an editor, with the most brilliant title. Could you tell us a little more about that?
I’m also the author of Don’t Fear the Reaper: Why Every Author Needs an Editor, a short, inspiring, and helpful book about editing that book editor Mick Silva called ‘clearly superior advice for the aspiring writer’.
I wrote it during my second year of freelancing as an editor to essentially offer it as my business card, i.e. a way of proving that I know a thing or two about editing. The book answers many of the basic questions I often received during my first year of freelancing: Why do I need an editor? What are the types of editing? How much will it cost? How long will it take? What can I do to make my manuscript the best before I send it to you? The book is a primer on working with a freelance editor, but it also contains a lot of practical advice on becoming a better writer and self-editor.
Chapter 6, ‘Unveiling Validation’s Hiding Place’, is my favourite. If you’re ever down on yourself as a writer, I recommend reading it, not because I wrote it, but because it contains quote after quote from famous writers about overcoming the hurdles we often face as writers.
What is the best writing advice you were ever given?
I’ll have to go with the namesake quote for my writing resource website. Hemingway said: ‘We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master’. This reminds me that I should always be learning, that we can all teach each other something, and that I can be kind to myself as a writer.
Writing isn’t a short-term game; it’s a lifelong pursuit.
I believe that’s partially why it is so important to be kind to yourself as a writer. If you’re always talking negatively to yourself about your writing, or you can’t make eye contact with another person when you tell them you’re working on a book, you’re not going to want to exist in that space for very long. You’ll want to finish your book—maybe—and then never write another one. But, if you can learn to enjoy being a writer (even when a bad review gets posted), you’ll want to keep being a writer. That’s the pursuit.
Do you want to be interviewed next?
(The Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you buy through these links.)