Written by Katherine Hutchinson Hayes 

Writers are often thought to be the most influential people in the world. Editors play a crucial role in assisting them and are keystones to promoting an inclusive, unified environment in publication. Therefore, shaping how audiences think and what they say has never been more critical as we face some of the most polarizing times in our nation and around the globe.

The world needs unity, inclusion, and morality in various writing to remind us of what we have in common, steering us to uphold good or suffer the consequences. As Christian editors, now is the perfect time to honor, encourage, and inject unity into the projects we nurture. When confronted with constant division, many authors and editors ask, “What can I do for my children, friends, church, and community to promote unity? And what can I do for those inside and outside my race (or political party, denomination, gender, ethnicity, and class) to ‘see’ others who’re different?”  As editors, we significantly influence people through the power of shaping words. We can do a few things right now to promote the unity we desperately need in our society and publications.

In my Editing to Unify workshop at PENCON 2023, we’ll discuss how morality is best conveyed and why we must challenge writers to be a unifying force “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14 NIV). We’ll review actionable steps for using editing to encourage unity. By recognizing that editors are vital to improving equity and inclusivity, the workshop provides resources and information to help us all be better editors. We’ll also review steps to developing more robust relationships with literary communities of color that serve publishers’ social and economic imperatives.

Katherine Hutchinson-Hayes, EdD, is a writer/content editor. She works for Iron Stream Media as a book coach/editor. She’s a sensitivity reader for Sensitivity Between the Lines and an editor/contributor for Inkspirations. She is the board’s vice chair for the 540 Writers community. Her writing has been published in Guideposts.