#GirlsRock: An interview with editor, coach, and women’s advocate Beth Crosby ☕


It’s cool when someone’s triumph over a formidable foe – or two – gets, to an extent, overshadowed by what they accomplished after that win.

That’s exactly where you’ll find today’s #GirlsRock guest: Beth Crosby. I’ve known Beth for years. She’s invited me to her writing group for ages, and me, in my laziness, just recently found my way there. Finally.

Writing, as I remember, helped Beth power through some of the biggest challenges a person can face.

I’m proud to share her story. Please give Beth a warm CD welcome, and be sure to check out her links and resources. Don’t wait so long as I did. For writers, advocates, or simply people who want to put their passion to work for themselves – today’s post is for you.

Eli: When you were little, what did you think you’d grow up to be?

Beth: I got a National Geographic World magazine. Both color and black and white pictures accompanied articles about King Tut and excavations all over the world. During the same period, National Geographic released a cover with King Tut’s golden mask in all its resplendent glory. I can still see the March 1977 cover as if I held it in my hands today. The roles of archaeologists and researchers of antiquities fascinated me.

During that time, my grandfather introduced me to digging in the corner of his yard for special rocks. We found shiny ore stones and colorful rocks. Others featured veins of color. Digging revealed dirt and roots, but sometimes we found treasure.

For years, I knew I wanted to be an archaeologist. I’m not sure why I lost interest in archaeology, but I remember later considering research and development.

Eli: How much of that inner archeologist remains with you today?

Beth: That’s a great question, Eli. I hadn’t considered what remains of the budding archaeologist because I thought I had just moved on.

I still like to dig up information because I’m curious. I fall into rabbit holes well, too. Everything is an opportunity to learn, and I wish I had time to learn more!

One reason I enjoy freelance editing and working with women to help them write about their experiences and expertise is that I learn about individuals, careers, places, facts, and fields of interest. Those interactions provide the opportunity to expand my perspective.

Considering a person’s or group’s past, coupled with some applied psychology, gives me empathy and helps me understand why people act the way they do. Thankfully, I’ve begun to act differently since I began an introspective assessment of why I am who I am and how I can release myself from who I’ve always been. Unlike in history, I can change.

As an archaeologist would, I can reveal the beauty hidden within after some excavation.

Eli: Tell me about the introspective work you’ve done.

Beth: Because I was an only child with time to myself, I think I’ve always been introspective. My paternal grandmother was a college graduate and a voracious reader. She modeled knowledge and curiosity, coupled with grace and kindness. She was my standard when determining how a lady should behave.

My introspection began early when I knew I wasn’t like other kids and didn’t think like them. I preferred reading and playing on the monkey bars to participating in team sports. Because I read before I attended kindergarten, I consumed everything I read. Every word carried importance. I slipped into the stories and empathized with the characters. I asked myself how I was like them.

Throughout my adult life, I’ve read books and articles to determine why I was unsatisfied with my job, relationships, and within myself. I felt lonely, depressed, taken advantage of, stupid, and hopeless for weeks at a time. Antidepressants help, but they can’t help us become more satisfied internally. Drugs only numb emotions. Writing my thoughts helped me sort out how I felt. I reread past writings to evaluate how I felt and to see if I feel the same. Thankfully, I see changes in how I would respond and celebrate my growth.

My talents are strongest in writing and editing. I’ve taken more tests than I can count that affirm this. Yet I struggled with how to edit without seeming harsh. People expect editors to be hunched over ogres who delight in saturating papers with red pen remarks. But that’s never been true for me. In the past few years, I’ve learned to celebrate the writers’ strengths and offer recommendations for improvement as gently as I can. My goal is to support, not to belittle.

Introspection has taught me that I am not here to fulfill my own misguided goals. I am designed to share God’s love in the way I treat others. My gifts are for the purpose of edifying Him and empowering writers through my talents.

Introspection has taught me that I am not here to fulfill my own misguided goals. I am designed to share God’s love in the way I treat others. My gifts are for the purpose of edifying Him and empowering writers through my talents.

I am a different person than I was a few years ago. Looking into my journals and heart and considering the cause of my anger and bitterness have allowed me to release things that made me so disagreeable. I continue to ask God for clarity about who I am and how I can become the woman I was created to be. Then I express gratitude for my personal and spiritual growth.

I like who I have become and am grateful to support women in their businesses.

Eli: It’s a journey. How do you transfer that growth into the help you give other women?

Beth: Because I’ve been working on myself for so many years and still do, I’m attentive to women who shrink from their abilities or don’t see their value.

In the past 5 years, I’ve had women point out my best, give me ideas for improvement and growth, and continue to support and challenge me. Without concern from and relationships with those ladies, I would not be the person I am today. My goal is to support and empower women to accept their talents and build their ideal clientele.

In working with women to connect with their target clients through storytelling, I use my interviewing skills and curiosity to learn what makes them unique and special. We discuss their experiences and how their lives prepared them for the job they are in now. After I brainstorm with my client, we define articles for blogs and profiles so their ideal clients can relate to and resonate with them. 

The more challenges a person has endured, the more creative and flexible they can be in resolving the unique problems of others.

My goal is always to show my clients their talents and help them to appreciate the value they bring. Had I not overcome my own challenges, I would not have the perspective to empower others. Giving ladies life-changing aha! moments about themselves gives me pure joy!

Eli: You’ve had some life-changing moments yourself. Can you tell us about them?

Beth: I’ve never focused on life-changing moments because everyone has their own battles. I created a shortlist of the biggest changes. This is what I came up with in chronological order.

My parents’ divorce when I was 3-4. From that, I developed abandonment issues and deep-seated feelings of diminished self-worth.

Moving from near Charleston to a 3-acre property near my grandparents in a rural area two hours away when I was 11. I felt shocked at how little was available in that small-town. Separation of economic classes and cliques was more pronounced than I had noticed in Charleston. Every bit of my life changed, including no longer living across the street from my grandmother to whom I was closest. I was proud of being from the city and ashamed to live in the sticks.

Going to college and making my own decisions. That was a good way to break from the clutches of my family, but I went home every other weekend to wash clothes. Being an only child has long-term implications: I don’t like sharing other people’s things.

After finishing college,  I took the only job offered–at a small-town newspaper that locals called The (City) Morning Misprint. Shame was building within me because I was supposed to be smart. Instead, I had achieved nothing I expected of myself.

My mother shared that my much older fiancee was having an affair when I was 23. He was – and had been – with several women during the years we dated. My first husband also cheated. What was wrong with me? I chose men who needed attention, I was not confident in myself, and I was too preoccupied with preserving myself to meet the needs of anyone else. 

During that first marriage, I sensed that God was my only hope and attended church regularly. 

I’ve twice had kidney failure and transplants as an adult. Those were terribly depressing times, and I grew nearer to God through both of those experiences. Thankfully, four years into my second transplant, I am well. 

My second husband went to Afghanistan and was injured three months after my transplant. We never had a strong marriage with open communication, and living at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for 10 months in a 400-square-foot room did not help. Six years later, I left my husband. I was back to square one, starting over again.

From that second failed marriage, my initial takeaway was that I can’t trust anyone to love me. She was always there. Years later, I’m learning how to have healthy, nonjudgmental relationships accepting the person for who s/he is and not forcing my way.  We were all uniquely created to live the lives set out for us if we choose to find the path. Sometimes we make the right choices. Sometimes we don’t. Perfection isn’t always necessary, and sometimes, the disagreement isn’t worth mentioning. Just wipe up the mess and go on. 

If we all live more as Jesus did, we’ll see changes in ourselves and others. I’m far from where I should be, but I do know that without His strength, I’d be the same angry, defeated, bitter woman I was for too many years. I am redeemed, and I have no reason to be ashamed. Shame comes from comparison, and comparing myself to other people seldom ends well.

Those are the highlights of my life-changing events. I’ve learned that I don’t always know best, that only God loves me enough to do what’s best for me, and He will. Just as with all relationships, I have to listen to Him stay on track.

Eli: I love that perspective, Beth. What advice would you give a woman facing challenges that might feel insurmountable? 

Beth: Sometimes we have to hit the bottom to look up. When I’m at my hopeless loneliness and despair, I look to God for direction. Thankfully, I’m learning to trust Him for guidance instead of trying to wrestle for control, so I don’t fall as far any more.

A woman facing insurmountable challenges has several opportunities to begin her ascent.

First, look for the lesson. Ask yourself why this is happening or why it’s happening again. Take time to calmly assess what is familiar about this situation and what led up to this challenge. What can change now, so you don’t find yourself in this place again? I find journaling and using plus-and-minus columns helpful.

Find a wise friend you can trust. If you don’t have friends who inspire you or provide sound advice, find someone online to follow. I like Chrystal Evans Hurst and Patricia Shirer. You can also see their videos on YouTube.

Be open to enjoying friends. Conversations don’t cost anything unless your focus on negative thoughts and circumstances. Send notes to people you haven’t seen in a while to let them know you are thinking of them.

If professional help is available, seek out a counselor or psychologist. I’ve seen a few, and each offered a different perspective. I’m fortunate to have friends whose professions are in counseling and social work. I also have two Christian business coaches who urge me to use the gifts God gave me. When I’m in His will, He always provides, even if it’s in the 11th hour. That’s not to say I don’t pay a penalty for being slack on my end. He provides, but I have to accept. Sometimes that takes action and good decisions.

Write a testimonial about yourself. Practice an exercise Rachael Spiewak encouraged her followers to try. Write your ideal testimonial. What did you offer the person, and what benefit did s/he gain? What made the client appreciate your work, and why are they grateful? Why would they recommend you? After that, I suggest you post the testimonial where you can see it daily or several times a day. Speak it out loud when you see it like you believe it. Force positive energy or a smile when speaking about your positive future. 

Watch Amy Cuddy’s TED talk for help here.

Keep working to be productive.

  • Create daily whether you want to or not. Write or draw. Practice being creative in ways you haven’t. Do you cook? Organize? Put together puzzles? Try coloring. I like using crayons instead of adult coloring books and pencils. Use your creative abilities.
  • Exercise daily, even if you only walk around the block.
  • Create and maintain a schedule. Get up at a certain time and set yourself a schedule. In the summer, exercise might be your first accomplishment. Outside activity helps me appreciate the birds, animals, and trees. I also get creative ideas when I walk. Carry your phone to make notes, but focus on enjoying nature and exercising.
  • Maintain a gratitude journal. Write the obviously good things, as well as things like, “I’m thankful I don’t have COVID-19.” Try to list 3 new reasons you’re grateful at the close of each day. Sometimes I’m grateful not to be caught in a rainstorm. Or if I nearly fall and don’t, I’m grateful I was not hurt.
  • Create a list of things you want and need to do. That way you have a way to stay busy and productive so your mind is off of your seemingly insurmountable challenge.
  • Create a bucket list with pictures and words from magazines. This vision board will help you begin to focus on what you want. My coach recognized that I had covered up the books on my vision board. That’s when she helped me to realize I wanted to empower women to write their stories to find their ideal clients more than I wanted to edit lengthy books.
  • Read devotions. The free YouBible app offers the scriptures to read, devotions to follow, and a way to keep your prayers in one place. If you can get someone to read with you, you’ll feel more accountable.
  • Listen to happy music when you feel blue. Sad music makes you feel debilitated.

Ask for help. If a friend asked you for help, wouldn’t you assist if you could? Good friends will spend time with you, bring you a gallon of milk, or go for a walk with you. Sometimes help starts in the smallest ways, but you have to be humble enough to ask and willing to accept help.

Finally, focus on the good. “Finally, brothers [and sisters], whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8.

These steps have pulled me from the depths of considering suicide, and prayer is the most powerful help I know because it knocks on Jesus’s door. I thank Him for coming to earth and dying for me so I can live a life of peace and joy many don’t understand. I asked Him to forgive me of my sins, and daily He draws me closer to Him to strengthen me through my prayers and reading His Word. What more do I want when I’m desperate than the love of God who created me as a unique person to accomplish what He set me on the earth to do?

I can’t imagine anyone loving me more than my mother did, yet He does!

I’m also grateful to you, Eli, for causing me to put these words, feelings, and takeaways on virtual paper!

Connect with Beth:

LinkedIn

www.EditorBeth.com

The Writer’s Circle Group on Facebook

19 thoughts on “#GirlsRock: An interview with editor, coach, and women’s advocate Beth Crosby ☕

  1. Wow, Beth! Your old journalism teacher is so proud of you! I knew you were the best copy editor the old Palmetto Leaf ever had, and it was wonderful to read this and see how you have changed adversities in your life into victories. The valleys in our lives help us reach and appreciate the mountain tops. You look terrific, have a wonderful deep faith, and have found a terrific way to use your talents to help others. I did not get my Christmas cards out this year, but so appreciated yours. I would love to do that lunch you mentioned the next time you may be in Camden. So proud of you, Beth, and your words will inspire many I am sure!

  2. I’m late to the party, Eli, but better late than never:). My fave quote: “I still like to dig up information because I’m curious. I fall into rabbit holes well, too. Everything is an opportunity to learn, and I wish I had time to learn more!” I think this sentiment is shared by so many writers. It’s our curiosity that motivates us. It’s why we write even when not paid to write. And I LOVE Beth’s pillow. We should all have one!

    1. I’m glad you’re here, Kay! I did love that quote too … and I often wonder what my life would have been like had I adhered to Beth’s words earlier in life. But I can’t spend too much time on that … there’s too much to see and learn now, right?

      I do agree it’s a common thread between we writers. If we lose our curiosity, we lose our writing mojo. I will write for fun after a day of writing for pay and I know you feel the same way (so does Beth!)

      So great to see you here as always. Motivates me to get more of these incredible interviews I’ve finished posted to share with everyone.

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