Work With Betsy


Over the past five decades, I have been working with writers in the beginning stages of  developing their craft and writing subject — to writers wrestling with an early draft of their first manuscript — to authors needing more insight into a manuscript they are working on. I am also contracted by publishers to address their larger editing concerns.



How we work together varies and it depends on the scope of what you are seeking. With some writers it is a short consult that focuses on a few pages and requires 2-3 hours while with full manuscripts it will require 20+ hours. The writer and I customize whether we meet in person or in various online formats. Together, we also determine the goals, a reliable approximate cost of the consult, timeline and form (hardcopy via post or digital).



Identifying problems in terms of what’s missing, what does not belong in a piece or manuscript, where summarizing needs to be fleshed out, and what the appropriate form and structure is (from micro to macro).



Next to the act of writing, working with writers is the most fascinating and illuminating thing I do. I’m always learning, always inspired, by the mystery of every narrative and what it teaches me.



I enjoy doing a variety of these online and in person. Just like the act of writing, I design anew the approach and content for each one. A few examples of organizations I’ve worked with are SFU (courses and The Writer’s Studio), UBC Booming Ground, Sage Hill Writers Retreat (Saskatchewan), Rural Writers Retreat (Northern B.C.), Hollyhock Retreat Centre (B.C.), and the Federation of B.C. Writers.

Lawrence Feuchtwanger

I’ve worked intensively one-on-one with Betsy Warland as editor on two projects—my published poetry collection, Refugee Song, and a novel manuscript, Skin. In both instances, Betsy’s extensive experience as an editor, her accomplished writer’s eye and ear, her deep insight and knowledge as a teacher, and her generosity as a mentor, helped me immeasurably to make these works publication-ready.

Lawrence Feuchtwanger, author of Refugee Song

Darrel J. McLeod

Betsy gently guided and nurtured the writer within me until I found my own voice and style. As I continued along the path to becoming an award-winning author, Betsy continued to be a caring, astute and visionary mentor. Betsy knows the craft of writing as only the best authors do.

Darrel J. McLeod, author of Mamaskatch A Cree Coming of Age

Onjana Yawnghwe

Not only was Betsy helpful in helping me feel out the general shape of the book, but she provided expert and pointed suggestions about lines, breaks, and the very small details which can make or break a poem.

Onjana Yawnghwe, author of The Small Way

Jan Redford

I never doubted Betsy’s own tireless commitment to me and my book. Her curiosity, uncanny intuition, and high expectations gave me the belief in myself I needed to produce a book I’m proud of.

Jan Redford, author of End of the Rope: Mountains, Marriage, and Motherhood

Becky Livingstone

My experience of working with Betsy was life-changing. She’s an extraordinary mentor and editor who with gentle yet clear direction helped me identify the real story hidden inside my early drafts, and to ‘trust the narrative’.

Becky Livingstone, the author of The Suitcase and the Jar: A Mother’s Journey

Adrienne Drobnies

The best things about working with Betsy were her understanding of how to structure the manuscript and her detailed attention to every word in it. Her way of grounding the writing practice in the body is so useful; her sensitivity to the writer and to the work are unsurpassed.

Adrienne Drobnies, author of Salt and Ashes

Ethel Whitty

Betsy is an insightful listener, offering analysis that opened space to go forward when I felt completely stuck. She put the responsibility for my work squarely in my hands while at the same time expressing boundless belief in my ability to reach the finish line.

Ethel Whitty, author of The Light a Body Radiates

Linda Vogt Turner

Going home on the Sky Train, I thought about Ms. Warland’s question, “Why do you write?” I realized I had been writing to ask the most important question of all. The one Robert Fulghum had asked in It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It: What is the meaning of life? So I sat down the next day on my sofa with Robert Fulghum’s book, and The Ecumenical Affair began to take shape.

Linda Vogt Turner, author of The Ecumenical Affair