“Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.”

Dear writer,

I love the above quote from President Teddy Roosevelt because it’s good advice for all writers. I’ve worked with many writers who have wavered between losing their footing and losing their dreams. The kicker is, to stay on the writer’s path, we need both stars and steady feet. For a lot of writers (aspiring and published), that takes a village. I am just one of your villagers.

I’m Val M. Mathews, an editor and a coach for writers who need



and a kick in the pants.


I work as an acquisition editor for The Wild Rose Press and as a freelance developmental editor at The Exit 271 Studio. I am fiercely committed to guiding writers to conquer the boring in their stories and get published.

Why do I do it?

Well, for me, it’s because I love solving puzzles. A draft of a story, poem, or novel is just like a puzzle. And frankly, so are people, especially writers! I have a knack for seeing the big picture and figuring out the steps the writer needs to take even when the first draft looks impossible to navigate. Furthermore, I can see the fine details that a writer may have missed. As author Brenda Sutton Rose explains, “With an expert’s eye for detail, Val caught redundancies and irrelevancies, mistakes that muddled the clarity and disrupted the rhythm of the story.”

My not-so-linear credentials:

In the past, I flew airplanes for a living, and once I ate an entire bag of Fig Newtons on a spontaneous road trip from New Orleans to Philadelphia to see the Live Aid concert. (I puked.) No more fig bars for me! Since my flying days, I founded The Exit 271 Studio, an editorial coaching service for aspiring and published writers. I work as an acquisition editor for The Wild Rose Press, a traditional, royalty-paying publisher in New York. I earned a Master of Arts in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia. When in graduate school, I taught English Composition to first-year students, tutored students in the university’s writing center, worked as an editor for the English department’s newsletter, and helped start the digital literary magazine for the Georgia Writers Association. Over the years, I have volunteered as an editor for several digital literary magazines, including the Red Clay Review and the Georgia Writers Association. I love editing because it’s always like a road trip (but without the figs and puke.)

Love to chat about your story’s road trip. Shoot me an email (val @ exit271.com) and follow me on Twitter: @Exit271Studio. In the meantime, keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.

P.S. Here’s a little writer inspiration (and editor humor)

Over and over I feel as if my characters know who they are, and what happens to them, and where they have been and where they will go, and what they are capable of doing, but they need me to write it down for them because their handwriting is so bad. ― Anne Lamott

Val M. Mathews

Developmental & Acquisition Editor

I'd love to hear about your story!

Let's get this conversation started.

Who Knew Editing Could Be So Much Fun!

Let's get this conversation started.
Share This