By: Marilyn L. Davis
“When you study great teachers… you will learn much more from their caring and hard work than from their style.”―
My Introduction to Dr. Sterne
In 2017, Scott Biddulph was the Editor-in-Chief at Two Drops of Ink and a student. I was writing, doing some edits, and finding images. We’d discuss submissions, and when he mentioned Dr. Sterne’s, I remember how excited he was, telling me about her professional and academic accomplishments.
I told him that I was apprehensive about editing someone whose weekly writing output was probably more than my entire online portfolio. He laughed at me and said, “You’re never going to feel comfortable editing if you don’t tackle the works of an excellent writer.”
Dr. Sterne’s first post was published on April 13, 2017: Do You Want to Prevent Predictable Plots? In this, she introduced me to the concept of the Exacting Internal Editor, who she says, “Always catches one characteristic of so many shows—the predictability of the plot.” She further explains that the EIE is just as helpful for not getting complacent in our posts and books.
SHE has an Inner Critic?
I was somewhat shocked at her third post; BAD WRITING? FIX IT!
Describing her inner critic yelling at her, “THAT’S THE WORST, MOST HORRIBLE, STUPID PHRASE SINCE . . .” helped me understand that she had insecurities and doubts as a writer, too. I think at that moment, I saw her as a teacher I could learn from because she could still have moments of doubt and find ways to work through them.
Mentoring, whether directly as she does with doctoral candidates or vicariously with readers of Two Drops of Ink and me, Dr. Sterne is willing to write vulnerably. When a mentor does this, it allows us to write badly with comma splices, run-on sentences, left turns at Albuquerque, and dangling participles. Why? Because we know through her guidance that we will learn how to fix bad writing.
Lessons for Any Editor
Not only did she continue sending excellent posts, but they helped me feel more comfortable editing for my other blog, From Addict 2 Advocate. There it was, just me, no Scott to edit, and sometimes, I couldn’t find a valid syntax/grammar/writing rule, but a passage was just wrong.
Reading Cut With Courage, Dr. Sterne explains that there is a body-mind-emotion message with editing. “As you listen to your body-mind-emotion messages, you’ll demonstrate tough love toward those too-favorite passages. You’ll resist the mighty urge to defend, rationalize, alibi, or hang on. Like a great parent, you’ll be proud of your well-worded work, and your acceptance will increase.”
Learning this meant that I could unpack a guest post better. With body-mind-emotion edits and cuts, the writer and reader were pleased with the end piece.
BE AN ALPHA WRITER: COMMAND YOUR PET WORDS is another example of Dr. Sterne’s humility and ability to use her writing errors as a way to teach. Underlying her writing are spiritually-based, inspirational methods, many outlined in her book, Trust Your Life.
While she is an excellent teacher and doesn’t mind showing us where she has not written the best she could do, she is also not one to mince words, either. She’s straightforward.
This review of Trust Your Life, from Steve Marshall Cohen, exemplifies what you’ll get in working with and learning from Dr. Sterne. “If you want platitudes, go elsewhere; coddling, skip it; airy-fairy, not here. If you want practical, specific, and challenging guidance and exercises to help you achieve what you want to achieve, step right this way. Noelle Sterne uses concrete, practical, pragmatic exercises and powerful turn-by-turn directions —lovingly and gently—to help you navigate around self-created roadblocks that are obstructing the road to your desired destination.”
Words of Wisdom in Random Musings
I have always appreciated Dr. Sterne’s problem-solving posts for writers. I don’t think there’s a topic she hasn’t explored. Plus, she has managed to interject humor in many of them, whether self-deprecating, hyperbole, incongruity and surprise, irony, or situational humor. Writing humor takes skill and understanding of when to add it to a post and is not something every writer does well – Dr. Sterne does. In the following posts, Dr. Sterne demonstrates that skill:
But Seriously, Folks
More than anything, Dr. Sterne has added to the wealth of information for writers on Two Drops of Ink. Here is a link to all of her posts. I’d encourage you to read them, learn from them, and find inspiration from her posts as I have.
Bio: Dr. Noelle Sterne
Dr. Noelle Sterne is an author, editor, writing coach, writing and meditation workshop leader, spiritual counselor, and gentle nag; Noelle has published over 700 writing craft articles, spiritual pieces, essays, short stories, and occasional poems.
Author Magazine: https://www.authormagazine.org/search?q=noelle
Challenges in Writing Your Dissertation, A PowerPoint Teaser: http://trustyourlifenow.com/more-for-dissertation-writers/challenges-in-writing-your-dissertation-a-little-teaser/
Journal of Expressive Writing: https://www.journalofexpressivewriting.com/post/i-don-t-have-to-be-amanda-gorman
Life and Everything After: https://lifeandeverythingafter.com/angel-in-the-mall/
Women on Writing: https://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/55-How2-MatchQuerytoManuscript.html
Publications include: Chicken Soup for the Soul (sixth story forthcoming November 2021) Mused, Romance Writers Report, Ruminate, Sasee, Textbook and Academic Authors Association blog (monthly), Thesis Whisperer, Transformation Coaching (bimonthly), Two Drops of Ink blog, Unity Daily Word, Unity Magazine, WE Magazine for Women, Women in Higher Education, Writing and Wellness, and The Writer.
In July and August 2018, she was one of six webinar presenters for TAA’s “Writing Gym.” Her topic: “Get Started, Continue Your Draft, and Finish,” which continues to be offered. Dr. Sterne is also one of several coaches in TAA’s free one-hour academic coaching program to members.
She also contributes pieces to other national and international publications on dissertation issues and writing. In July and August 2018, she was one of six webinar presenters for its “Writing Gym.” Her topic: “Get Started, Continue Your Draft, and Finish,” continues to be offered.
Taking her own advice (hard as it may be), she is completing her third novel.
Dr. Sterne’s Books
Columnist: Textbook and Academic Authors Association
Columnist: Two Drops of Ink
Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing
All writers at Two Drops of Ink are eligible for a Sunday Spotlight, so consider a guest post today – poetry, prose, and problem-solving for the writer and blogger are accepted.
What benefits will you get for a guest post?
Here are a few of the benefits that you’ll get as a guest writer:
- Your poetry, prose, or problem-solving guest post gains you a new audience
- Another published post to share with potential clients if you’re a freelance writer
- Shows your expertise in a writing topic
- Builds relationships with other writing site’s editors
- Links provide opportunities for additional traffic to your books, blogs, and other writing