The 411 on “The Path of Least Revision”
Meet Amanda Shofner
My name's Amanda. You might know me as the content curator for Published Magazine, but I have other facets, too. (Shocking!) While introductions and bios are the bane of practically everyone everywhere, I shall carry on and endeavor to break down who I am into bite-sized, easily digestible parts.
Just don't actually eat me.
Editor + Writing Coach
I started my foray into the book publishing world with editing. While it's no longer something I do full-time, editing shows up in all parts of my professional life. (My personal life is largely free of editing. Mostly because no one pays me.)
I honed my editing chops by teaching grammar to English-as-a-second-language students entering university-level courses, and by taking advanced English syntax in grad school, which is about as fun as you'd imagine. We diagrammed sentences and argued over parts of speech.
But it's never been enough for me to edit—I have to explain the changes I've made. Probably the teacher in me. But this makes it easier for the author to decide whether accepting the change benefits the story, and (more importantly), it informs the author how to improve his or her writing in the future.
It's no surprise, really, that my editing style led me to become a writing coach for self-published authors. Everyone struggles with some aspect of writing and editing, and I've found that most people just need a push in the "write" direction—someone to call them on their bullshit and excuses.
Consider me a cheerleader who's more likely to kick your ass instead of waving my pom-poms. In all fairness, I'll probably be chanting "You can do it!" throughout the process.
The more involved in the self-publishing world I got, the more I wanted to dig into my dream of writing. So I did. I started with an urban fantasy series and am now working on a romantic suspense series set in Minneapolis, where I'm based. Because Minneapolis is awesome.
Despite what others may have thought, I actually am human, not an overachieving productivity machine. I like to keep busy is all. If I'm not working, editing, coaching, or authoring, you can usually find me reading, adventuring on the Twin Cities light rail, hanging with my dog (okay, and my boyfriend), and rewatching Futurama for the umpteenth time.
There's a Futurama episode for just about everything in life, in case you didn't already know.
What "The Path of Least Revision" Is All About
"The Path of Least Revision" isn't about editing or revising less—it's about writing smarter and setting yourself up for success. If you feel more inspired to throw your work-in-progress into your closet than to sit down to write, this column's for you.
You shouldn't have to feel like you want to give up writing.
Listen, you know that to be a writer, you have to write. But no matter how much you know this and want it, writing can be hard.
This column will be about applying practical solutions to common problems, like managing writing distractions. It'll also consist of calling you out on the excuses you hide behind, because you are hiding, and I'm pretty good at seeking.
Writing is a solitary activity, and it can be easy to think you're alone in your struggles. That you're the only one who's experiencing a problem. You're not. You're almost never alone in the writing world, especially if you reach out to the writing and book community. I'm all about stripping away the veil on my own process (and what I know about others' processes) so we can have a real discussion about what's holding you back (even if it's you) and how to keep you moving forward.
Amanda Shofner satisfies her desire for adventure with the written word and helps others do the same. Currently writing romantic suspense.