I've been working with Kate Atherley who is tech editing a vest I have designed that will be in the Fall issue of A Needle Pulling Thread.
It has been an amazing learning experience for me. I was very fortunate that Kate was willing to sit down with me and discuss the changes to the pattern that the magazine wanted, rather than simply taking the pattern and editing it to the magazine’s format. As a self-publisher I haven't had to match up to a different format or consider publication space in the way that one needs to for a magazine layout. My style has been conversational and chatty which is not surprising when you consider how much time I have spent teaching and helping other Knitters, both friends and customers in the yarn store where I worked. My previous editors have all done a great job as well but were editing in a different manner as we had no specific standard for comparison. I see myself as still being at the beginning of my learning curve so this feedback is very valuable to me.
Kate spent about 90 minutes with me and I have to admit I was totally overwhelmed at first. I took a lot of notes and then tackled a re-write. Once I got going it all started to fall into place. When we are completely done I will be working on a template for myself that I can use going forward to improve all of my patterns and share with my editor for consistency.
Getting truly constructive criticism is a hard thing to do. People are afraid that they will hurt your feelings and in some cases can't always articulate exactly what you need to do to improve. Last year when I spoke at the DKC I asked one of my friends to make notes if she needed to and give me specific areas that I should work on to improve my next presentation. She did and I worked on all of her suggestions. This year I was much happier with my efforts and made specific improvements that not only made the presentation better but allowed me to enjoy the event more.
It can be hard to hear criticism and I know that I am at fault sometimes for being too hard on myself. I can however say that my pursuit of a professional Knitting career is truly making me a better person, a stronger one and a happier one.