From Behind the Pages to In Front of a Crowd

By Leanne Sype


As an editor, I spend the majority of my time buried in the pages of unpublished books, blogs, and other beautifully blunder-filled prose.  I am energized by what I do, and I enjoy (prefer) being behind the scenes helping my writers polish their message so it shines for the world. I take what I do very seriously because writing is hard… and for most authors, editing is excruciating.  I respect that.  I honor it.  Hey, I’m a writer too, so I get it!

I love editing, though.  It’s my favorite part of the entire writing process because it is where the smoke clears and the destination you were trying to reach comes into view.  But more than editing, I love cultivating relationships with other writers.  I am inspired, intrigued and taught by my community of fellow writers, readers, and life-livers.  I find great joy in learning from others and engaging in discussions of or relating to reading and writing and life–life is what gives us the material about which we write.

So imagine my delight when I was asked to speak at this year’s Faith and Culture Writer’s Conference!

*hand to mouth gasp*

Oh yes!  I’m coming out from behind the pages and getting in front of a crowd.  EEP!  I’m stoked!

Why?  Several reasons but here are the main two:

1) Community!  Writing is a solitary (and sometimes dark) endeavor that requires community engagement.  Our craft, as writers, messes with the psyche, causing both doubt and euphoria regarding our skills in a matter of seconds.  A writer’s conference brings us together with others who understand the celebrations and commiserations associated with the writing process.

Writers are also a community of creators who share a common DNA for an art we simply must share with others, yet each individual is as unique as the stories he/she creates.  We come together at an event like this and gather knowledge, perspective, and inspiration that help us keep creating and sharing with the world– better than we did before.

2) Learning.  I hope to forever be a scholar of the writing craft–always learning how I can be better.  Though I am excited about the opportunity to speak, I’m looking forward to being part of this event at a student.  Reading through the session-topic schedule is analogous to walking through a See’s Candy shop… everything looks so good I just don’t know which ones to pick!

The bottom line is this: when it comes to writing, the rules are changing, the publishing arena is changing, and what readers want from content and its authors is changing.  I want (need) to know how to better connect with my readers.  I need to know how to better help my clients so they can reach their publishing dreams.  And everyone who’s speaking at this conference will offer perspective on how to be better.

Plus, the two keynote speakers are Ken Wytsma (founder of The Justice Conference) and William P. Young (author of The Shack), both of whom I respect and believe will offer outstanding insight/testimony!  To be honest, I am a bit geeked-out about hearing them live.

So what will I speak about?

My session is called “Beyond the Mechanics: Editing for Audience Connection versus Proofreading for Mistakes.”  I will illustrate the differences between editing and proofing, how to craft your message so it connects with your reader.  A reader does not connect with pretty words and perfect punctuation; however, good word choice and clean grammar are necessary for a reader to understand your message and take it to heart.  That is to say both editing and proofreading are crucial to your writing process…and completely different from one another.

I’ll be unpacking what all this means and how to approach this phase.

Enough about me! If you’d like to come to the conference, you should definitely come because you are invited!

You can also hop on over to the Faith & Culture Writers Connection Facebook page for updates and announcements.

Thanks for reading through this awfully long post, my friends. It truly is a always a wonderful opportunity for all who come, so I wanted to be thorough about why this is so from my perspective.  I hope to see you there… would love to meet you!



  1. Ashley Larkin says:

    Leanne, I’m thrilled you will be a part of the conference. Thank you for coming out from behind the pages to share your gift with us. 🙂 Community and learning — what tremendous take-aways for our participants. We are thrilled you will be a part of helping create that for them. Look forward to meeting you in a few short weeks!

  2. Cornelia Becker Seigneur says:

    Leanne – I am so glad you are sharing your gift with us – editing is such an important part of the writing process and I know your breakout session will illuminate that process for writers. See you soon! Cornelia