To celebrate Kill Your Darlings’ new website, we’ve asked some of our favourite contributors from past years to reflect on their early writing experiences and share their advice for emerging writers.
Today, we hear from Estelle Tang. Estelle is the former Online Editor for Kill Your Darlings. Her writing can be found in KYD #14 (‘You Know Who You Look Like?: Being a Perpetual Face Twin‘) and KYD #19 (‘Things They Never Tell You about New York: A Year in the Big City‘).
Earlier today I sent off a piece of writing to two trusted friends. I begged and cajoled them (drink bribes may have been offered) to please look upon my words, foisting their eyes upon them like piercing lasers of editorial justice. Having spent about a week with the writing, I could no longer see it as anything but pixels and flashing lights (that’s normal, right?).
A moment after I’d sent it off, I noted how differently I was treating someone else seeing my work to how I used to view it in the past. Past me would have cowered under a table or, better yet, a chair or rubbish bin before letting someone review my writing, let alone asking them to do it.
But it’s thanks to editors’ skill and honesty that I’ve been able to progress from a book blogger to a published, albeit annoying, friend who wants you to ‘just take a quick look, please, now would be great’. I used to think I had to be superhuman to be a writer – perfect in every way, shape and punctuation mark. Thanks to the many editors I’ve collaborated with, I know it’s enough to just be a human – curious, engaged and creative despite the occasional weariness, accidental carelessness or personal blinkers that entails.