Val M. Mathews

The Exit 271 Studio

Twitter: @Exit271Studio LinkedIn: EditorValMathews

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

I love this 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.

Dear writer,

I’m an editor and writing coach for writers who need love, support, and a kick in the pants. 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 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.)


“I found my dream editor! Val’s sensitivity to my manuscript made it a pleasure to work with her. She knew exactly what had to be cut and what was needed to make my manuscript soar. Val is easy to talk to, and her quick turnaround time is a huge plus. I can honestly say, after working with Val, I have become a better writer and a client for life.” ~ Stephanie Baldie, Redemption

“A notable writing and editorial coach, Val possesses a brilliant approach to the smooth exchange of ideas with clients … Most noteworthy, she made it easy to release my innermost thoughts, emotions, and creative ideas for her critique. Highly respected and valued, Valerie delivers splendid results.” ~ Major John D. Falcon (Ret.) The Freedom Shield

“Val dove into my work, showing me what worked and what didn’t … she offered ideas and clarity my story was lacking. It was hard work, but my novel came together. Val’s direction was a critical part of my writing process. No one can ask for a better writing and editorial coach than Val Mathews. I would not consider another writing endeavor without her. ~ Gary McConville, A Stiff Wind Blows

Let’s chat! Shoot me an email. For writer inspiration and craft talk, 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

Athens, GA

Cell phone: 770-597-6017


Years in the field: 10
Years freelancing: 5


Val Mathews