I have a friend named Dargan. She is a freelance editor/writer, and the best I have worked with. I haven’t known her very long, but I would love to share the story of how we crossed paths…
When I turned 17, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I took a creative writing class in high school and it was the first class I sat in where I felt free. There were no rules, no red marks for bad grammar, and no boundaries. I had the same teacher the year before and she had been pretty critical of my writing skills. I did not learn any of the writing basics in school,I’m not sure how I missed them, but I did. But, in this class, with no rules, she let me write without any red. I exploded with words. It was beautiful.
In college, I had some nice comments on papers I wrote, but the fear of the red held me back. I spent 20 years with only a few small attempts at writing. I was held in bondage from the one thing I wanted to do. The fear of failure, the fear of being unable to follow the rules, and the fear of the criticism held me in my own oppression.
Eventually, I met with some writers and surrounded myself with people who would encourage me and help me shut down the voices that questioned my worth. I got into the Redbud Writers Guild and connected even more with writers whose purpose was similar to mine. This community was a game changer for me.
Through this community I took a class, Writing with Grace, taught by Ann Swindell. I reached out to Ann and asked her to recommend an editor for me, as my fear of the red was not quite gone. She sent me to someone who sent me to Dargan.
I’m writing a fiction fantasy novel, and just hearing the name Dargan got me excited. I talked with Dargan about my book and warned her of my inadequacies in writing, but my desire to learn and grow. She got excited too…
I sent her my first draft of my first chapter, and it was really bad. She was able to see through the bad to a story aching to get out. She sent back her edits and comments and I was able to rewrite the whole first chapter with the real story that had been stuck in my head.
Dargan is a straight shooter. If it’s good she will tell you, and if it’s not she will help you to get there.
Even now, when I send her a first draft, I still get nervous. I start hearing that fear voice and almost convince myself to give up writing all together. Then I get the draft back, and it’s really red, but it encourages me. I get to dig in and learn what I was unable to understand all those years ago. I get to grow with my characters.
The first time I met Dargan in person, I was inspired by her passion to edit. I myself have no passion to edit—nevermind that I can’t edit because I don’t play by the rules. She loves words and putting them together. It excites her to put missing commas in and take out words that have no reason being there.
Dargan doesn’t care that I don’t know the rules. She loves that I’m a rule breaker. She loves the ideas she’s able to draw out of me. Her number one goal is to help a writer find her voice. And I can successfully say she has pulled my voice out of the muck. Dargan has a gift. It’s no coincidence I found her on this writing journey.