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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fickle editorial love?

I love writing and I love my editors. Well, on most days. Sometimes, I guess, I feel a little fickle and want to reconsider the high school job counseling which said I should become a funeral director or a beekeeper. Now, I have nothing but respect for funeral directors or beekeepers, but chose not to follow those particular areas of work. (Although I often wonder…what is it about both of those that would have suited me?)

It’s not often that my thoughts turn to those careers, until I’ve had a particularly bad day with an editor. I’ve had two recent events—interspersed with an awesome experience. Nonetheless, the bad experiences gave me pause.

One editor requested such a serious re-write that I verged on crying out “But this reeks of being a new assignment!” While I swallowed my pride, re-wrote the piece and thought of career changes, I slowly came to realize that the editor had forced me to improve the piece. Just as a teacher wants you to reach into your skill set, this editor was challenging me to better my game. Begrudgingly, I appreciated the editor’s request and will probably cherish the clip for that experience.

I have a couple clips like that. Sometimes, for me, it is hard to discern if the published piece is very good or if I pull it out as one of my clips for sentimental reasons.

In the second instance, an editor alerted me to a published article similar to a piece I had turned in days before this other story appeared. In the e-mail, I was asked if I wanted to massage my piece, based on what the other writer had written. The published piece was a different take on the same thing. While I respect the direction the other writer took, it was not the way I interpreted my assignment. I responded to the editor that I trusted the editorial direction given and would make any changes upon request.

So, while I wait for this editor’s response, why do I feel the urge to search the classifieds for jobs in the funeral industry?

Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer and a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach. She writes about motherhood at Coastal Carolina Moms and creativity at TheWriteElizabeth. Find her on Twitter @Eliz_Humphrey to follow the saga: will she start applying for funeral jobs? Will she dive into beekeeping? Or will her editor *pay* for a massage instead of asking her to massage the article?

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