Teachers come in a lot of different forms. Sometimes they are traditional, classroom educators, certainly, but more often than not, our greatest teachers are not technically designated as such. We can learn from situations, from trauma, and from the individuals that wander in and out of our acquaintance.
Or we can ignore the lessons and fail to recognize the opportunity to learn.
I keep an eye out for teachers because I personally believe that we're here to learn as much as we can. When it comes to the craft of writing, I'm certain of it. The learning never stops. The author is never, ever, too good to learn something new and improved.
I've had the great pleasure of working with some amazing editors over the course of my publication. I consider each one a teacher. The process of editing a manuscript as a team (and it is a team effort) is both eye-opening and incredibly instructive. I don't think you can do it without learning something about craft, about your own habits, faults, strong points, and about the things you can do to make your prose stronger.
Sadly, this year I've lost a few good editors. For different reasons, my regular editor is no longer my editor, twice. Each time I've adjusted to a new editor, I've also had to adjust to new ways of working, but the flip side is, I've learned a whole new set of lessons with each change. As hard as it is to be forced from your comfort zone, this is exactly where you learn new things. And so, more teachers, new teachers and new skill sets pass through our experience.
We get to seize that opportunity...or fight it. But if we truly want to be the best writer we can, then hard or not (and we do like our safe little trenches) we can open up to the next experience and see what new information we can harvest from it.
In the same way our readers can teach us, our reviews and our beta readers and our fans and our peers. If we're open to feedback, and if we are looking for the lesson, we'll find it's all around us.