I’ve been a Sensitivity Reader and Diversity Editor for my full career as a writer. I’ve been diligent in my creation of characters and story and have constantly checked my own biases. Being Mixed Blood, Indigenous and Black, I write from my worldview but even then, for the sake of the story, I check myself. And have others check me. Sometimes it’s taken other people to see what I can’t.
I was often asked by other writers to do the same for their projects, so making this service a job made sense. Makes sense. I have to admit, I began thinking there would be element of teaching in this job and I wondered how I would do that in a manner that was understanding to the struggle writers face if their goal was authenticity. What I didn’t expect to happen was that I would learn so much about my clients and therefore I would get to celebrate the growth of a stronger writers’ community.
This is just a short list of what I’ve learned about my clients, these writers:
- Writers are trying. They want to be respectful and they’re aware of the possibility they won’t be because they just don’t know some things.
- Writers believe in inclusivity, even when they don’t know for sure if what they’re doing is enough. Or correct. They believe in it even if the definition of what’s correct shifts on them over time.
- Writers have the courage to ask for help. And they strive to understand.
- Writers may hesitate to develop the character or describe them or give them full dialogue, but it’s from a fear of insulting them.
- Writers appreciate the assistance.
They want their words and stories to be seen, read, heard and felt. If whatever the project is gets shut down before it lives its full possible life, then doesn’t that work against the reason to write it in the first place?
I’ve had the joy of working for individuals and publishing firms on beautiful children’s books, YA novels, literary novels, memoirs, nonfiction books, textbooks, website content, inclusivity statements, columns, plays, essays, screenplays and TV shows. I’ve been asked to read specifically for one character, while other times the request is for the full world. There are some incredibly talented writers out there that I can’t wait for everyone to know.
I love this job. I love being of service in this company of writers. And I love all that I’m learning in a time of much needed stories and art.
So if you’re in need of a Sensitivity/Authenticity Reader or Diversity Editor, or a Story Consultant, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.