An Editor’s Skill Set, Part III: Feedback

editor feedback

Anyone who writes knows how much work it is—in fact, the better the writing, the more likely that writer has spent many hundreds—even thousands—of hours working to hone his or her skills. Yet, no matter how experienced the writer, one skill in particular that must be honed (but is often undervalued) is the ability to learn from constructive criticism. Unless your writing is hidden away under lock and key, you need a thick skin: as a writer, you need to learn how to deal with feedback.

In this final part of a three-part series on an editor’s skill set (If you missed them, here are Part I: Research, Observation, and Brevity and Part II: Accuracy and Honesty), I’ll share my thoughts about how your resilience as a writer relates to the editing work I do.

Continue reading “An Editor’s Skill Set, Part III: Feedback”

Writers: You Never Know How Strong You Are Until Being Strong Is the Only Choice You Have

how strong you areLife is full of challenges. Sometimes they are minor, like trying to explain to your children (for the thirteenth time) why they can’t have a puppy because you don’t want the responsibility (“But Mom, we promise we’ll walk it and feed it and play with it—you won’t have to do a thing!”).

Sometimes the challenges are much more, well, challenging.

Like mourning the passing of a loved one, or receiving another rejection letter for the piece you poured your heart and soul into, or suffering a stroke at age 12. Those are the types of challenges that can send us over the edge if we don’t know how to consciously access our resilience.

If we access our personal power, we can overcome just about anything. #adversity #challenge #writers Click To Tweet

Maybe it has something to do with the alignment of the moon and the stars—who really knows?—but I feel like the past week has been a particularly challenging one for many of the bloggers I follow. Phillip McCollum wrote about a writer’s paralysis in “I’m Not Good Enough” (includes a great Ira Glass quotation, too); Hermania Chow discussed self-esteem in “5 More Things Writers Need to Stop Doing”; J. Keller Ford shared her perplexing relationship with her adult daughter in “A Demon of the Past Is Destroying the Present and I’m the Scapegoat . . . Again.”

We often beat ourselves up over what we didn’t do, what we “should” have done instead. I’m always reminded of my late mother when I hear the word “should.” She would remind me that, in her opinion, it is one of the most useless and debilitating words in the English language. Think about that for a moment, and ask yourself if the “shoulds” in your life are keeping you from being your best self.

“I should let the kids have that puppy.”

“I should be writing.”

“I should be able to get through the day without being sad about Dad’s passing—it’s been a year, after all.”

“I should have finished by now . . . should be more established as a freelance writer . . . should be able to write a blog post every day . . .” Yes, we can “should” ourselves into feeling like failures, but by consciously accessing our resilience, we can stop listening to those negative voices and turn our challenges into character-building markers.

I was prompted to write this post when I received an email yesterday from Patricia O’Gorman, the author of The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power. After her own especially challenging week, Dr. O’Gorman was more than thrilled to receive a great review for her book, which reminded her that no matter what happens to us, if we access our personal power, we can overcome just about anything. There is something in this book for every man, woman, and child who ever suffered from self-doubt.

The book’s reviewer (from wrote:

There is a test to see where you fall on the resilience scale. Take it, it really is informative. O’Gorman’s words are empowering.

You will really get a lot out of this book and want to pass it on. But be sure to put your name in it, because you will definitely want it back to refer to later when you start thinking your ‘girly thoughts’!”

I hope you’ll take my mom’s advice and lose the “shoulds” in your life. You are strong and resilient, and even when you’re having a bad day (or two or three), remember: you are stronger than you think you are.

Yes, you are.

Now go out there and have an amazing week!

Happy Writing,


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Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help, and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be.

How to Be Resilient

How to Be ResilientAuthor Raeleen D’Agostino Mautner (Living La Dolce Vita: Bring the Passion, Laughter and Serenity of Italy into Your Daily Life) asked me to interview her for her radio show, The Art of Living Well, tomorrow morning. Tune in for the live stream interview and learn all about her newest book, Lemons into Limoncello: From Loss to Personal Renaissance with the Zest of Italy, available on May 7, 2013. I’m excited and honored that Raeleen asked me to talk about her book so all of you can learn how fabulous it is. It should be a fun and informative hour.
You can listen to a live stream of our conversation from anywhere in the world. If you’re in Australia, I’ll help you go to sleep, since that will be 11pm your time. In the UK? Join me on your noon lunch hour. And if you’re anywhere else in the world, here’s a link to a time conversion site:

I hope you’ll join Raeleen and me for what promises to be an entertaining and enlightening hour. See you there!


Available Today: The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power

The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power by Dr. Patricia O’Gorman, PhD, which I was privileged to edit, is available today in

Resilient Woman

print and e-book formats. It offers both a mirror and a roadmap to guide women to new understandings about individual thoughts, actions, and strengths.

You can hear the author speak about resilience today, Tuesday, March 5, on A Moment of Change  with Sherry Gaba and Cathleen O’Connor on CBS Skye Radio. And be sure to  check out Dr. O’Gorman’s blog at for more on this subject.

Learn more about this fantastic “must-read” tool for personal growth here, and buy or download the book at, Barnes and, or at your favorite bookseller today!

Happy Reading, and please let me know what you think of The Resilient Woman!


Update 4/1/13: Publisher’s Weekly review of The Resilient Woman here.

The Resilient Woman: A “Must-Read” Tool for Personal Growth

Dr. Patricia O’Gorman, PhD

I am excited to announce the publication on Tuesday, March 5 of an important new book I was privileged to edit: The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power by Dr. Patricia O’Gorman, PhD offers both a mirror and a roadmap to guide women to new understandings about individual thoughts, actions, and strengths.

Societal messages that tell women they aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, good enough—self-sabotaging girly thoughts that tell them who they are and how they should act—compete with the voice of women’s inner strength, a strength that helps them forge their own best solutions for their best courses of action.

In The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power, Dr. O’Gorman offers a thoughtful analysis of the causes of girly thoughts as well as in-depth self-evaluation assessments any woman can use to identify her personal strengths, weaknesses, and resilience style, plus seven daily steps that offer concrete strategies for women to create and strengthen their own resilience. In The Resilient Woman, readers discover:

  • resilience patterns established in childhood
  • how girly thoughts become so powerful and how to neutralize them
  • relationship issues that are specific to women
  • how to overcome physical/ psychological/emotional trauma
  • how to self-motivate by losing the victim mentality
  • methods for tuning in to the inner self and consciously align with personal strengths to expand their personal power
  • what resiliency is and is not, and how to achieve it
  • personal resilience patterns

Author Patricia O’Gorman, PhD, is an internationally recognized psychologist, coach, and public speaker known for her work on women, trauma, and substance abuse. She is a cofounder of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics and has held positions ranging from clinical director of a child welfare agency and interim director of a crime victims organization to Director of Prevention for NIAAA and founding director of the Department of Prevention and Education for NCADD. Dr. O’Gorman maintains private practice offices in Saranac Lake and Albany, New York. For information, please visit:

Read what others have said about this important book:

The Resilient Woman explores why and how we revert to our girlhoods for so many of our emotional responses, how to analyze and overcome the results of those responses, and how to make decisions based on our adult selves.” —Elaine Wilson, Esq., past president of the Foothill (East San Diego County) Bar Association

The Resilient Woman offers the tools we need to make change in our lives plus the actionable steps to help us live from our base of personal power. It’s a masterpiece!” Teena Cahill, PsyD, humorist, TV and radio show host, director of Wisdom and Beyond, and author of The Cahill Factor: Turning Adversity into Advantage

“The resilience journal Dr. O’Gorman guides readers to create is an excellent exercise for every woman to use to begin the process of developing a resilient life. This is a book I recommend not just for woman; men will benefit from this information, too.”

Erin Merryn, Glamour’s Woman of the Year 2012, political activist, and author of Stolen Innocence and Living for Today

“(This) practical and warmly written book invites readers to recognize and boost their resilience as they take the journey to transform and give higher meaning to their lives. By the end of The Resilient Woman I was saying, ‘Yes, I am!’ and ‘Yes, I can!’”

Kathryn Brohl, LMFT, author of Social Service Workplace Bullying; A Betrayal of Good Intentions

The Resilient Woman reflects (Dr. O’Gorman’s) latest thinking on an issue that debilitates tens of thousands of women—a way of thinking and behaving that can literally be fatal—and shows the way to a new path of personal power.

Julie D. Bowden, MS, marriage, family, and child therapist and coauthor of Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics.

I encourage women (and the men who love them) to read this essential book, and then feel free to share your opinion on your favorite online book site. You can purchase the book or download it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever books are sold.

Happy Reading, and please let me know what you think of The Resilient Woman!


Update April 15, 2013: Watch Dr O’Gorman discussing her book on 

Resilience, Part One

 A resilient life
Image courtesy of

 “A resilient life is generated not from the things that happened to you, but from your reactions to them.” —Patricia O’Gorman, PhD, The Resilient Woman

My father turned 86 this week; our homes are a day’s travel apart—two airplane flights and an hour-long drive at both ends. My father is in poor health, and each time I visit I wonder if this will be the last time I will see him.

If nothing else, my father is resilient. He’s been hospitalized with pneumonia several times in the past six months; his lifestyle has changed from autonomy to dependence on others for many things, yet he refuses to give up anything he doesn’t have to give up. He still shops and runs errands, even though he has to depend on others for transportation; he insists on cooking for himself and even makes a full dinner for a neighbor once a week; he still believes he will be back to driving himself around town one day soon (not a hope I share, by the way); and although he grumbles about all the medications he’s on for his heart, lung, and circulation issues, he is as compliant about following his doctor’s orders as an 86-year-old man can be. My dad probably wouldn’t describe the way he deals with these challenges as resiliency, but I would. defines resilience as “An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” I’ve learned that I’m resilient, too; in the past year, I: Continue reading “Resilience, Part One”