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

This entry was posted in guest bloggers, Memoirists, More Stuff for Writers. Bookmark the permalink.

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

  1. Theo Nestor says:

    Thanks, Candace! This makes me want to create an anthology of my own. I loved what you said about following your curiosity to find the topics for the anthologies. I think asking ourselves what we’d like to know more about is one of the ways to find our topics as writers.

    Readers: I’ve read both ASK and JANE (In fact, my essay, “My Arizona,” is in Ask Me About My Divorce), and they’re both great reads.

  2. Wow, Candace. You have an amazing job! I will definitely check out these anthologies and other books published by your press.

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