Guest blogger, Candace Walsh, Editor of Dear John, I Love Jane

As an editor and writer, I can’t think of anything more fun than editing an anthology about a subject I’m passionate about. Why? In the passion exists curiosity, and that curiosity is fed every time I read a submission. I also choose anthology topics based on what I want to learn more about—so reading submissions extends the breadth of my knowledge. Putting together Dear John, I Love Jane and Ask Me About My Divorce have allowed me to sink very deeply into the topics of women’s sexual fluidity and divorce as a portal to a better life. And editing anthologies have been very handy for another reason: I get to say “I have a book coming out,” without having to write the whole damn thing. Right now, I’m writing a food memoir, and I don’t get to enjoy the benefits of being on a team. It’s a one-woman show, and that’s intimidating.

I hope I always get to edit anthologies. They aren’t huge moneymakers, but they’re so much fun. I love connecting with the writers. It makes sense—I like their sensibilities as writers, so 9 times out of 10, we click as friends. I don’t have a strong sense of closeness with my extended biological family, but I have come to appreciate the bonds forged by being in an anthology with other talented writers. They’re my kin.

My fiancée, Laura André, and I decided to co-edit the book. She’s a master organizer, I’m a big picture person, and together, we made the book so much better than it would have been if one of us did it on its own. Lots of couples have a hard time working together, but not us. It made me feel even more secure in my relationship when we pulled off the book without a single shrew-y, grand-standing, or power-trippy moment to show for it. I’ve been in more combative and mercurial relationships (both romantic and professional) and so this was a lovely contrast. It also gave validated my sense that it was clearly just that other person, being difficult, and not me! Just kidding (sort of). Laura and I have great chemistry, in good times and bad, and it feels good to own that on one more level.

If you’re a writer who is thinking about submitting to anthologies, or an editor who is passionate about a potential anthology topic, explore it! I am so happy that I decided to dive into this world. It’s made me a better writer, editor, and person.

Read more about Candace, Laura and Dear John, I Love Jane:

Mediabistro Anthology Tutorial (This is cool: a video)

Candace and Laura’s Excellent Adventure: Editing Dear John, I Love Jane

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