What A Great Idea!

Posted on June 5, 2024

In all my editing experiences, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some exceptionally gifted writers and authors. Witnessing their excitement as they finish a book and eagerly plan for the next fills the air with contagious energy.

So picture this: I wake up at 2 a.m. with an awesome idea in my head. 

  1. I live on a farm with a menagerie of animals with charming and sometimes comical personalities. 

  2. My two children and their friends are usually stirring up something silly around here.

  3. Our goose has become best friends with my daughter’s horse.

This could be the beginnings of a children’s book! 

As an editor, I love words: grammar, spelling, punctuation, editing and proofreading, but I never thought I would write a book. And the first draft landed easily on the pages.

But wait… then my inner editor started asking lots of questions. What is this book about? What do I want to say? Isn’t it just a matter of writing a funny story? That editor brain of mine was sucking the fun out of it. Follow your own advice, girl, and research before diving into something you’ve never done before.

Right… What was I thinking? Research is my thing. “Find out what you need to know before you can know what you need to know.” I’m not positive where I’ve heard this, but I love it. 

I started by searching for how to write a book and checked out Reedsy’s Outline a Book Worksheet for guidance. Then I needed to think more about why I wanted to write.

Much more confident about where I was going with my story—or so I thought—I prepared to write my rough draft again. Inspiration returned as I sat at my desk, ready to write a fun children’s book about farm and family. The only problem was now I couldn’t get it to follow the outline I had spent weeks on, tirelessly mapping out the story’s path and purpose. What the heck?

With each word I typed, the story unraveled, shifted, and also filled my head with unexpected emotions. Follow the outline! Nope. The brain was having no part of it, and in a matter of days, a new rough draft stared back at me from my screen, outshining the first attempt. But I didn’t just stop at one story. Memories of my childhood on my grandparents’ farm rushed back, filling my mind with vivid images of raising puppies and kittens, chasing butterflies, and the smell of fresh hay. Soon, these memories morphed into a much clearer reason for why I was writing. My writing is fostering my creativity, as well as enabling me to work through some family-related emotions through these stories for young readers. 

I fit writing around my editing and proofreading work schedule, but I’ll keep adding and revising the stories; maybe they will become a series—who knows. My first story is in the illustration stage, and I’ll be a published author, Summer 2024! My next step will be research on how to publish and market a book. Oh, goody. But first… what makes a good editor? And… how do you find one?

See you in a couple weeks!



Susan’s editing career didn’t begin until she hit her 50s, but she didn’t hesitate to pursue her love for language. Her goal was to motivate writers to share their stories with the world. Ironically, it was in the world of words where her creative spirit truly blossomed. Drawing from memories of the barn she grew up in, she began writing stories for young readers that beautifully capture the essence of farm life and family values, along with kindness, caring, friendship, and acceptance.

She and her hubby live on a small farm in Princeton, Illinois. After her two children grew up and left home, she became caretaker to a flock of escape-artist chickens, her daughter’s lovely Saddlebred horse, and a cantankerous goose who became a beloved character in her children’s stories.

If you enjoy Susan’s blog, please share with anyone you think would enjoy it, too, as it helps her business grow. She also has a newsletter, full of great tips and helpful how-tos for writers AND editors. Sign up on her website at www.finelineproofs.com